Vanessa Lemminger, M.A., Marriage and Family Therapist, MFC 53937
SOCIAL MEDIA AND E-MAIL POLICY – 2012
I do not accept friend requests from current or recent former clients due to confidentiality and privacy reasons. I also do not accept fanning or liking from former or current clients as it can also compromise client confidentiality, as well as violate professional ethics codes that prohibit any solicitation of testimonials from clients.
I keep a Facebook Page and blog for my professional work, to allow people to check out posts, upcoming events and topics of concern regarding my work. I do not accept clients as Fans of a Facebook page. I believe having clients as Facebook Fans creates a greater likelihood of compromised client confidentiality and I feel it is best to be explicit to all who may view my list of Fans/Likes to know that they will not find client names on that list. In addition, my professional ethics code prohibits my soliciting testimonials from clients. The term “Fan/Like” comes too close to an implied request for a public endorsement. Note: Current or recent former clients should be able to subscribe to the page via RSS without becoming a Fan which creates a visible, public link to my Facebook Page or blog. Subscribers to my blog are not visible to the public. However, any posts/comments made on the blog will jeopardize confidentiality, and is not recommended to any future/current/former clients.
Clients are not to use messaging on Social Networking sites such as Facebook, or LinkedIn to contact me. These sites are not secure and I may not read these messages in a timely fashion. 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 confidentiality. It may also create the possibility that these exchanges become a part of my client’s legal medical record and will need to be documented and archived in their chart.
E-mail is not completely secure or confidential. Please note 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. E-mails I receive from clients and former clients along with any responses that are related to treatment and diagnosis may be printed out kept in respective treatment records. Although e-mail may be used for initial communication, any following interaction is preferred to be communicated via telephone during regular business hours.
Thank you for taking the time to review my Social Media Policy. This policy will be updated as changes in technology and the Internet arise. If you have questions or concerns about any of these policies and procedures, please contact me for further discussion.