This document outlines Oak & Associates, LLC policies related to use of Social Media. Please read it to understand how OABHCLLC and its contractors, staff, and employees conduct themselves on the Internet as a mental health professionals and how you can expect responses to various interactions that may occur between us on the Internet.
As new technology develops and the Internet changes, there may be times when our company needs to update this policy. When such updates occur, OABHCLLC will notify you in writing of any policy changes and make sure you have a copy of the updated policy. Friending—contractors, clinicians, and employees do not accept friend or contact requests from current or former clients on any personal social networking site (Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Snap Chat, etc.). It is our belief and policy that adding clients as friends or contacts on these sites can compromise your confidentiality and our respective privacy. It may also blur the boundaries of the therapeutic relationship. If you have questions about this, please bring them up when you meet your therapist for further discussion.
OABHCLLC believes having clients as Facebook Fans creates a greater likelihood of compromised client confidentiality and believes it is best to be explicit to all who may view our list of Fans to know that they it may include client names on that list who have made that choice after acknowledging full disclosure of the potential confidentiality risks associated with the choice to Fan the company’s page. Note that you should be able to subscribe to the page via RSS without becoming a Fan and without creating a visible, public link to my Page. You are more than welcome to do this.
OABHCLLC publishes a blog or blogs on its website and mental health and relationship news on Twitter. OABHCLLC has no expectation that you as a client will want to follow our blog or Twitter stream. However, if you use an easily recognizable name on Twitter and we happen to notice that you have followed me there, we may briefly discuss it and its potential impact on our working relationship.
Our primary concern is your privacy. If you share this concern, there are more private ways to follow us on Twitter (such as using an RSS feed or a locked Twitter list), which would eliminate your having a public link to my content. You are welcome to use your own discretion in choosing whether to follow our feed. Note that OABHCLLC will not follow you back. We only follow other health professionals on Twitter and OABHCLLC and staff does not follow current or former clients on blogs or Twitter. Our reasoning is that we believe casual viewing of clients’ online content outside of the therapy hour can create confusion about whether it is being done as a part of your treatment or to satisfy personal curiosity. In addition, viewing your online activities without your consent and without our explicit arrangement towards a specific purpose could potentially have a negative influence on our working relationship. If there are things from your online life that you wish to share with OABHCLLC or your therapist, please bring them into your sessions where you and your therapist can view and explore them together, during the therapy hour.
Please do not use SMS (mobile phone text messaging) or messaging on Social Networking sites such as Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn to OABHCLLC staff or therapists. These sites are not secure and these messages may not be read in a timely fashion. Do not use Wall postings, @replies, or other means of engaging with OABHCLLC staff and therapists in public online if we have an already established client/therapist relationship. Engaging this way could compromise your confidentiality. It may also create the possibility that these exchanges become a part of your legal medical record and will need to be documented and archived in your chart. If you need to contact OABHCLLC or your therapist between sessions, the best way to do so is by phone. Direct email at csoak (at) oabhc (dot) com is second best for quick, administrative issues such as changing appointment times. See the email section below for more information regarding email interactions. Use of Search Engines It is NOT a regular part of OABHCLLC’s practice to search for clients on Google or Facebook or other search engines. Extremely rare exceptions may be made during times of crisis. If there is reason to suspect that you are in danger and you have not been in touch with your therapist via usual means (coming to appointments, phone, or email) there might be an instance in which using a search engine (to find you, find someone close to you, or to check on your recent status updates) becomes necessary as part of ensuring your welfare. These are unusual situations and if such action is necessary, it will be fully documented and discussed with you at your next appointment.
OABHCLLC or its staff do not follow current or former clients on Google Reader and do not use Google Reader to share articles. If there are things you want to share with your therapist that you feel are relevant to your treatment whether they are news items or things you have created, we encourage you to bring these items of interest into your sessions.
Business Review Sites
You may find OABHCLLC on sites such as Yelp, Healthgrades, Yahoo Local, Bing, or other places, which list businesses. Some of these sites include forums in which users rate their providers and add reviews. Many of these sites comb search engines for business listings and automatically add listings regardless of whether the business has added itself to the site. If you should find our listing on any of these sites, please know that our listing is NOT a request for a testimonial, rating, or endorsement from you as our client. Of course, you have a right to express yourself on any site you wish. However, due to confidentiality, I cannot respond to any review on any of these sites whether it is positive or negative. We urge you to take your own privacy as seriously as OABHCLLC takes our commitment of confidentiality to you. You should also be aware that if you are using these sites to communicate indirectly with OABHCLLC staff about your feelings about our work, there is a good possibility that it may never be seen. When working together with your therapist, we hope that you will bring your feelings and reactions to your work directly into the therapy process. This can be an important part of therapy, even if you decide we are not a good fit. None of this is meant to keep you from sharing that you are in therapy with OABHCLLC or staff wherever and with whomever you like. Confidentiality means that OABHCLLC and staff cannot tell people that you are our client and our Ethics Code prohibits us from requesting testimonials. However, you are more than welcome to tell anyone you wish that OABHCLLC or our clinician were your therapist or how you feel about the treatment provided to you, in any forum of your choosing. If you do choose to write something on a business review site, we hope you will keep in mind that you may be sharing personally revealing information in a public forum. We urge you to create a pseudonym that is not linked to your regular email address or friend networks for your own privacy and protection. If you feel, we have done something harmful or unethical and you do not feel comfortable discussing it with us, you can always contact the Board, which oversees licensing of the therapist whom you see, and they will review the services that have been provided.
Location Based Services
If you used location-based services on your mobile phone, you may wish to be aware of the privacy issues related to using these services. We do not place OABHCLLC as a check-in location on various sites such as Foursquare, Gowalla, Loopt, etc. However, if you have GPS tracking enabled on your device, it is possible that others will surmise that you are a therapy client due to regular check-ins at our office on a weekly/biweekly basis. Please be aware of this risk if you are intentionally “checking in”, from our office or if you have a passive LBS app enabled on your phone. Email– We prefer using email only to arrange or modify appointments. Please do not email content related to your therapy sessions, as email is not completely secure or confidential. If you choose to communicate with OABHCLLC or your clinician be aware that all emails are retained in the logs of your and my Internet service providers. While it is unlikely that someone will be looking at these logs, they are, in theory, available to be read by the system administrator(s) of the Internet service provider. You should also know that any emails receive from you and any responses that are sent to you become a part of your legal record.
Thank you for taking the time to review OABHCLLC’s Social Media Policy. If you have questions or concerns about any of these policies and procedures or regarding our potential interactions on the Internet with social networking, do bring them to our attention so that we can discuss them.