Social Media Policy
HEIDI F. YODER, MFC 47168
Psychotherapy & Life Skills
5655 College Ave.
Oakland, CA 94618
This document outlines my office policies related to use of Social Media. Please read it to understand how I conduct myself on the Internet as a mental health professional and how you can expect me to respond to various interactions that may occur between us on the Internet. If you have any questions about anything within this document, I encourage you to bring them up when we meet. As technology develops and the Internet changes, there may be times when I need to update this policy. If I do so, I will notify you in writing of any policy changes and make sure you have a copy of the updated policy.
I do not accept friend or contact requests from current or former Clients on any social networking site (TikTok, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc). In fact I have removed myself almost entirely from these sites. I believe 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 our Therapeutic Relationship. If you have questions about this, please bring them up when we meet and we can talk more about it.
I may occasionally publish a blog on my website and in the future I may post psychology news on Twitter. I have no expectation that you, as a Client will want to follow my blog. I happen to notice that you’ve followed me there; we may briefly discuss it and its potential impact on our working relationship. My primary concern is your privacy. If you share this concern, there are more private ways to follow me on Twitter. You are welcome to use your own discretion in choosing whether to follow me.
Note that I will not follow you back. I do not follow current or former Clients on Twitter. My reasoning is that I believe casual viewing of Clients’ online content outside of the Therapy hour can create confusion in regard to whether it’s being done as a part of your treatment or to satisfy my 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 me, please bring them into our sessions where we can view and explore them together, during the Therapy hour. There are occasions where there is content online that is relevant to our work together that we may choose to share by text, for instance. This material is strictly Therapeutic and the sharing of it is: 1) documented by me in your file, 2) in service of your Therapeutic goals the same way a podcast, book, or Ted Talk might be, and 3) shared between us by “private” message and not on the platform.
Even though it is difficult to reach me by phone, it is the best way to do so. You may also send a brief email. If you choose to do this, please keep in mind that though I use several methods to keep the confidentiality of my online communications, there is no full proof way of making sure that this happens. I understand that there are sometimes situations in which sending a text (SMS) message is the only way to contact me. Please be advised that these messages are in no way confidential and are also not guaranteed in any way to reach me. Please do not use DMs on Social Networking sites such as Twitter, Instagram, or LinkedIn or the message portion of payment platforms to contact me or send me information. These sites are not secure and I will not read these messages. Do not use Wall postings, @replies, or other means of engaging with me in public online if we have an already established Client/Therapist relationship. Engaging with me this way could compromise your confidentiality. It also necessitates 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 me between sessions, the best way to do so is by phone.
USE OF SEARCH ENGINES
It is NO part of my practice to search for Clients on Google or other search engines and I would hope the same courtesy would be extended to me. Extremely rare exceptions may be made during times of extreme crisis. If I have a reason to suspect that you are in extreme danger and you have not been in touch with me via our 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 incredibly unusual situations and if I ever resort to such means, I will fully document it and discuss it with you when we next meet.
If you feel I have done something harmful or unethical and you do not feel comfortable discussing it with me, you can always contact the Board of Psychology, which oversees licensing, and they will review the services I have provided.
Board of Psychology 1422 Howe Avenue, Suite 22 Sacramento, CA 95825.
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. I do not place my practice as a check-in location on any site. However, if you have GPS tracking enabled on your device, it is possible that others may surmise that you are a Therapy Client due to your location while at my office.
Thank you for taking the time to review my Social Media Policy. If you have questions or concerns about any of these policies and procedures or regarding our potential interactions on the Internet, do bring them to my attention so that we can discuss them.