Tiana Leeds, LMFT, offers counseling in downtown Santa Barbara for individuals, couples, and families. While she focuses primarily on working with young women and highly sensitive people, she welcomes clients of all ages, genders, and backgrounds.
Social Media is a fantastic tool to help people get informed and engaged. I use social media, such as a facebook business page, for my practice and in an effort to be completely transparent with you, I have created a social media policy so you understand how I use social media in my practice and how it could impact you and our relationship if you are a client. If you have any questions about my policy, I encourage you to bring them up with me. Social media is also constantly changing and there may be times when I need to update this policy. If I do so, I will post the updated policy online.
The basis for this policy is to truly protect my relationship with my clients and their confidentiality in session. Let’s talk about confidentiality for a moment. The client is the one that can decide what they want to keep confidential. I must keep my relationship with my clients completely confidential except in cases of abuse or where they might harm themselves or others (I have a detailed informed consent form that clients sign before beginning sessions with me). Thus, if you post on my facebook business page or on another social media site of mine, you are opening up the possibility of people inferring about our relationship or asking you about your connection to me. You get to decide what you tell people. You have a choice as to what you reveal about yourself online, however I will not reveal my connection to you. This is how I handle different social media options:
To respect your privacy and confidentiality, I do not accept friend requests on my personal facebook page from current or former clients on any social networking site.
You may “like” my facebook business page (Tiana Leeds, LMFT). However, the information on my facebook page is often on my website as well. If you “like” my page, you are choosing to reveal that you are connected to me in some way. My business page exists to be a forum of information and inspiration. I will not engage in conversations with clients on that page. However, if you find it helpful then that is great!
I sometimes publish a blog on my website and may begin posting psychology news on Twitter or Instagram. I have no expectation that clients will want to follow my blog or Twitter stream. You are welcome to use your own discretion in choosing whether to follow me. Note that I will not follow my clients back. I mainly follow other health professionals on Twitter and I do not follow current or former clients on blogs or Twitter. If you are a client and 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.
Please do not use messaging on Social Networking sites such as Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn to contact me. Also, if there were an emergency, I would not be able to respond timely as I do not check these accounts regularly. The best way for current, past, and potential future clients to interact with me is by email or phone. If you post on my wall it may also create the possibility that these exchanges becoming a part of your legal medical record and will need to be documented and archived in your chart.
USE OF SEARCH ENGINES
You may have a facebook page, instagram account or twitter accounts. I do not “google” my clients or look up information on them for any reason. I think it is important that I know my clients as they are in my office. If I do come across your information online, I will move on and avoid reading content.
BUSINESS REVIEW SITES
I do have a Google business page and other directory pages. Some of these sites, including facebook, include forums in which users rate their providers and add reviews. Many of these sites comb search engines for business listings and automatically add listings regardless of whether the business has added itself to the site. If you should find my listing on any of these sites, please know that my listing is NOT a request for a testimonial, rating, or endorsement from my clients. The California Association of Marriage and Family Therapist's Ethics Code states that it is unethical for MFTs to solicit testimonials.
Of course, you have a right to express yourself on any site you wish. If you do post a review, I cannot respond on any of these sites whether it is positive or negative. I urge you to take your own privacy as seriously as I take my commitment of confidentiality to you. If we are working together, I hope that you will bring your feelings and reactions to our work directly into the therapy process. This can be an important part of therapy, even if you decide we are not a good fit. 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 and my Ethics Code prohibits me from requesting testimonials. 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, in any forum of your choosing.
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.
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 Behavioral Science Examiners, which oversees licensing, and they will review the services I have provided. Board of Behavioral Sciences at 1625 North Market Blvd., 2nd Floor, Suite S-200, Sacramento, CA 95834, (916) 574-7830 or email BBSWebmaster@dca.ca.gov or file a complaint at https://app.dca.ca.gov/bbs/complaint_ssl.asp
I prefer using email only to arrange or modify appointments with my clients. If you are a client, please do not email me content related to your therapy sessions, as email is not completely secure or confidential. If you choose to communicate with me by email, be aware 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.
LOCATION BASED SERVICES
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 as a client. I do not place my practice as a check-in location on various sites such as Foursquare, Gowalla, Loopt, etc. 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 regular check-ins at my office on a weekly basis. Please be aware of this risk if you are intentionally “checking in,” from my office or if you have a passive LBS app enabled on your phone.
Sometimes clients text me to request an appointment time or to let me know if they are running late to an appointment. Just know, text isn’t always secure. I am fine with brief texts related to your appointment only.
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.