I hold my ethical and professional responsibilities very tightly, and am committed to keeping to the rules of confidentiality. If we work together I provide a contract where this is clearly stated and I will never refer to clinical material in any media activities I might be involved in.
I offer clarity below on different aspects of any digital activities or presence I might have. I will endeavour to keep this up to date.
I occasionally use an online software program to process and send invoices to your chosen email address. I may also send invoices I have created myself this way. If you would rather not receive E-invoices I am happy to print and send by post, or deliver them to you at a session.
Email use for general enquiries
My works email address and communication via the contact form on my website do not provide encryption, and may be vulnerable to viruses or human error. For this reason it is advisable to be thoughtful about what you might include in an email to me and perhaps use it for non-confidential communications such as setting up appointments. I advise it is safer to keep confidential information in the consulting room. I aim to get back to you as soon as possible within working hours.
Email use for pre-arranged online therapy
After initial contact (as above) I advocate keeping confidential information safe by use of password-protected documents (password sent separately via another means), and/ or an encrypted email provider. I have access to an encrypted email provider called Hushmail and there are other methods available to communicate safely online I can discuss with you.
I fully appreciate it might feel a bit daunting to contemplate some of these messages and suggest talking the different methods through with me to see what you might be most comfortable with.
I use a business mobile phone and am happy for you to contact me by text in the first instance or to let me know at short notice that you are running late/cancelling a session etc. However the lack of content in a text can sometimes make it a bit prone to miscommunication and if you have something important to let me know please feel free to telephone. I am often not immediately available to respond but will do this at the earliest opportunity, within working hours.
Use of Webcam for therapy and training
I use a variety of encrypted online platforms to conduct therapy via webcam safely and this may involve you downloading a small program or clicking on a link in an email. We will have discussed this beforehand and have made sure you are happy with any arrangements.
I sometimes conduct business meetings and trainings via online platforms such as Skype where there are opportunities to send messages. I generally do not interact with messages via these sites for reasons of security and encourage you to contact me via my business contacts.
I use several social media sites personally and professionally and despite my online presence would prefer our relationship remain as much as possible in the consulting room (f2f and online). The Internet can feel very unboundaried and human beings can sometimes be drawn into revealing things in unsafe places that can make them feel vulnerable. I do not consider it would be appropriate to respond to social media friendship requests for the aforementioned reasons.
You may see me advertising and marketing trainings/ campaigns but be assured I maintain very tight confidentiality boundaries regarding my client work.
Google (and other search engines)
I make a point of not making a Google search of my clients before meeting them, and do not use the Internet to elicit information unless it is with the express permission of a client.
I appreciate as a client you may well Google the internet to find a therapist and will readily find information about me online, and via my website. However if any questions are raised for you in doing this please bring them to me at the first opportunity where we can discuss them.
Developed from a generously shared idea by Aaron Balick