Social media policy

For many people, social media have become a part of public life. To the extent they are, it is only sensible to accept and accommodate that. "Public" life needs emphasising, as data on social media lead their own life, and whatever settings you use, you are hardly ever sure who will see them. As such they are inherently completely unsuitable for any personal communications with a professional psychotherapeutic dimension.

Not for communication

We agree that neither of us will use social media (or messaging derivatives of it like Facebook Messenger) to communicate.

Linking, friending, following

Being linked ("friended", "connected", "following", etc.) through social media can have two side-effects: it may make people draw conclusions about whether we are working together (which I have a duty to keep confidential); and it may mean that we find out information about each other.

I do not encourage friending / linking / connecting with clients on social media. And, sometimes a link already exists. Given my fairly wide use of social media and existence of sometimes small communities, there are situations when being linked would lead to fewer questions than not being linked. So I will mostly not be linked with clients, but it will not be an absolute rule - precisely so that no clear conclusions can be drawn.

Finding personal information on the Internet

Similarly, it is possible, whether friended or not, that on social media, or on the Internet in general, you find out things about me, or I about you, outside the context and framework of our therapy room or therapy video-conference. As opposed to a sometimes expressed opinion that none of such "leaks" should happen, I consider that such events are part of real life. As I also think that therapy should be relevant to and deal with as much of real life as possible, I believe there is nothing wrong about this happening - as long as the underlying process does not have an obsessive, stalking, hacking or otherwise excessive or exploitative character. Information posted on the Internet or social media, if it is directly available, is in the public domain, and is like information about academic honours or divorces being public, and sometimes in the newspapers. It is likely to be picked up. And if meaningful, better be discussed than not.

There is of course my website and some other profiles I have on the Web as psychotherapist. The same principles apply. I neither encourage nor discourage you to view (parts of) these. If you do, and are struck by certain items or issues, I strongly suggest that you raise them in therapy with me. Similarly, if you have your own website, or post other general information items about yourself publicly, I might at times take an interest, and, if you would consent to it, may suggest talking about aspects of that information.

Other than that, if information about therapist or client becomes available from the Internet, and is picked up as part of someone's usual behaviour and practices on the Internet, I urge you, and will undertake myself, to raise it in therapy if at all emotionally or psychologically meaningful. That is all that is required - further aspects will be handled normally, according to general therapy practices.