Data Protection (GDPR) and Confidentiality
Most businesses encourage their clients and customers to connect with them and to discuss their products on social media and other web-based discussion forums. It's a bit different for therapists because we have rules about confidentiality which prevent us from discussing your personal issues in public.
I have accounts with social media sites such as Facebook, LinkedIn and Google+, which are used for business purposes. I am happy to connect at any level with other therapists and those with a general interest in hypnotherapy or hypnotherapy training.
I do not accept friend requests from current or former therapy clients on any social networking sites. My reason for this is that I believe that adding clients as friends can compromise your confidentiality, and blur the boundaries of our therapeutic relationship. If you have questions about this, please feel free to bring it up in-session; I'm happy to talk more about it.
You are welcome to like my Facebook business page, to follow any of my other social media business pages, and to read and share the articles and comments there. You may leave general comments and questions but remember that anything you post is visible to everyone who visits the page. If you want to ask anything specific to you please email* or phone me. If I feel any posts you have made blur the line of our professional relationship or identify you as a client, I will delete them.
It is not a regular part of my practice to search for clients online, via search engines or social media. The exception to this would be if one of the Duty of Care provisions (above) applied.
*Please note that email is not completely secure or confidential. Records of any emails you send me are automatically kept in the logs of your own computer and mine. Although in practice it seems unlikely, in theory, they could be read by the system administrator. With this in mind, it's best not to use email to send any information that should be kept private. Any emails you send me that refer to your therapy will be printed and kept in your confidential records.
I use testimonials for my training, these are published on my training website and the way I use them is discussed on that site. I do not use testimonials for my therapy work since I believe that they are not a reliable guideline for clients who may be considering using my services. This is why.
- Without specific identification (i.e., if they appear as 'Ms A of B says...') they are pointless and could have been written by anyone. With identification (i.e. if they include a name and address) they breach a client's confidentiality.
- Therapists see a lot of clients and are unlikely to publish negative feedback. There is nothing to say that what is published is representative of their results.
- Every person is different and so is every course of therapy; another person's experience may not be the same as yours.
There may be links to my websites on other sites or directories which ask you to rate my services. My presence on these sites is not a request for testimonials, and some sites may have added me to their database without my knowledge.
Please treat your own right to privacy and confidentiality with the same respect I do, and also bear in mind that I may not be aware of any posts you make on these sites. If we are working together, I hope that you will bring your feelings and reactions to our work directly into the therapy room. This can be an important part of therapy, even if we decide we are not a good fit.
If you do choose to write something on a business review site, I hope you will keep in mind that you may be sharing personally revealing information in a public forum. I urge you to create a pseudonym that is not linked to your regular email address or friend networks for your own privacy and protection.
None of this is meant to keep you from sharing that you are in therapy with me wherever and with whomever you like. Confidentiality means that I cannot tell people that you are my client, but you are more than welcome to tell anyone you wish that I'm your therapist, or how you feel about the treatment I provided to you. I welcome recommendations ('word of mouth' referrals) if you think I can help someone you know.
If you feel I have done something harmful or unethical, I ask that in the first place you contact me about your concerns. If you are not comfortable discussing it with me, you can always contact my professional body, the General Hypnotherapy Register, which oversees the way I work.
Social media policy adapted from a template provided by Dr Keeley Kolmes.
If you are a therapist who would like to use this as your own social media policy you are welcome to do so on condition that you include the following statement 'Social media policy by http://www.debbiewaller.com adapted from an original by http://www.drkkolmes.com'.