outlines our policy related to use of Social Media. Please read it
carefully to learn how Northern Illinois Counseling Associates, P.C.
(NICA) shall conduct ourselves on the Internet and how you can expect
NICA to respond to various interactions that may or might occur between
us on the Internet.
NICA does not
accept “friend” or “contact” requests from current or former clients on
any social networking site (Facebook, LinkedIn, etc.). Adding clients
as “friends” or “contacts” on these sites could potentially compromise
your confidentiality, as well as, our respective privacy. Additionally,
It could potentially blur the boundaries of our therapeutic relationship
and create a “dual relationship”.
NICA may, in
its sole discretion, maintain a Facebook Page for professional practice
purposes and allow interested people to share its blog posts and
practice updates with other Facebook users. Any and/or all of the
information shared on the Facebook page is available, in whole or in
part, on NICA’s websites.
You are welcome
to view NICA’s Facebook Page and read articles posted there, but, again,
we cannot accept clients as Fans of this Page because having clients as
Facebook Fans creates a greater likelihood of compromised client
confidentiality and it is best to be explicit to all who may view NICA’s
list of Fans to know that they will not find client names on that list.
Note that you
should be able to subscribe to the Facebook page via RSS without
becoming a Fan and without creating a visible, public link to NICA’s
Facebook Page. You are more than welcome to do this.
Back to Top
NICA may, in
its sole discretion, publish a blog on our website and may post
psychology news either on Facebook and/or other social media outlets.
NICA has no expectation that you will necessarily want to follow our
blog, etc., however, if you do and you use an easily recognizable name
and we happen to notice that you’ve followed us there, we may discuss it
and its potential impact on our relationship.
concern is your privacy. If you share this concern, there are more
private ways to follow us (e.g., on Twitter, such as using an RSS feed
or a locked Twitter list), which would eliminate your having a public
link to NICA’s content.
While you are
welcome to use your own discretion in choosing whether to follow NICA,
we cannot follow you back because even a seemingly innocent and casual
viewing of a client’s online content outside of the consultation context
can create confusion in regard to whether it is being done as a part of
your legitimate treatment or to satisfy the “follower’s” personal
curiosity. In addition, viewing your online activities without your
informed consent and without our explicit arrangement towards a specific
purpose could potentially have a negative influence on the clinical
If there are
any issues and concerns from your online life that you wish to share
with NICA staff, please bring them to the consultation session where
they can be addressed openly with your knowledge and consent.
Please do not
use SMS (mobile phone text messaging) or messaging on Social Networking
sites such as Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn to contact NICA personnel.
These sites are not secure. Also, there is no guarantee that NICA’s
staff will read these messages in a timely fashion, if at all.
Please do not
use Wall postings, @replies, or other means of engaging with any NICA
personnel in public online if a previous or current established
client/therapist relationship. Engaging with NICA in this way could
compromise your confidentiality. It may also create the possibility
that these exchanges become a part of your legal medical record and will
need to be documented and archived in your chart.
If you need to
contact NICA staff between sessions, the best way to do so is by phone.
Direct email at
is the second best method for, administrative issues such as changing
See the email
section below for more information regarding email interactions.
Back to Top
It is not a
regular part of NICA’s internet practice to search for any clients on
Google, Facebook or other search engines. Extremely rare exceptions may
or may not be made during times of crisis, in NICA’s sole
discretion. If NICA has a reason to suspect that you are in imminent
danger of harm to yourself and/or to others and you have not been in
touch, or reachable via our usual and customary means (coming to
regularly scheduled appointments, phone, or perhaps even email) there
might be an instance in which using a search engine (to find you,
find someone close to you, or to check on your recent status updates)
becomes necessary as part of considering your welfare. However, these
are extremely rare and unusual situations and if NICA should ever resort
to such means, such action will be documented and discussed with you
when you are next seen or at the next appropriate opportunity.
NICA cannot and
does not follow current or former clients on Google Reader and does not
use Google Reader to share articles. If there are things you want to
share with NICA staff that you think are relevant to your treatment,
simply bring these items of interest into your face-to-face sessions.
You may find
NICA’s psychology practice on sites such as Yelp, Healthgrades, Yahoo
Local, Bing, or other places which list businesses. Some of these sites
include forums in which users rate their mental health providers and add
reviews. Many of these sites comb search engines for business listings
add listings regardless of whether the business has added itself to the
If you should
find or discover any listing of and/or by NICA, and/or any of its staff,
on any of these sites, please know that such listing is not a request
for a testimonial, rating, or endorsement from you as a client and/or
user of NICA-rendered professional services.
Psychological Association’s Ethics Code states under Principle 5.05 that
it is unethical for psychologists to solicit testimonials:
“Psychologists do not solicit testimonials from current therapy
clients/patients or other persons who because of their particular
circumstances are vulnerable to undue influence.”
Of course, you
have a right to express yourself on any site you wish. But due to
confidentiality, NICA cannot and will not respond to any review on any
of these sites whether it is positive or negative. NICA urges you
to take your own privacy as seriously as NICA takes its commitment of
confidentiality to you.
You should also
be aware that if you are using these sites to communicate indirectly
with NICA staff about your feelings about any previous and/or current
work, there is a good possibility that our staff may never see it. Of
course, none of this is meant to keep you from sharing that you are in
therapy with NICA staff wherever and with whomever you like.
means that NICA cannot tell people that you are its client and our
Ethics Code prohibits NICA from requesting testimonials, but you are
more than welcome to tell anyone you wish that you are receiving
psychological services at NICA or that a particular staff member is your
treating clinician or even how you may feel about the quality of your
treatment provided to you, in any forum of your choice
If you do
choose to write something on a business review site, NICA encourages you
to keep in mind that you may be sharing personally revealing information
in a public forum to an unknown audience. If you proceed, consider
using an unidentifiable pseudonym that is not linked to your regular
email address or friend networks for your own privacy and protection.
Back to Top
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. NICA does not
place its 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 recipient of NICA’s psychological services due to regular
check-ins at NICA’s office on a weekly basis. Please note this risk if
you are intentionally “checking in,” from NICA’s office or if you have a
passive LBS app enabled on your phone.
staff cannot and will not use email for clinical matters inclusive of
appointment scheduling. Please do not email any personal content
related to your consultation sessions, as email is not completely secure
or confidential. If you choose to communicate with NICA administrative
staff by email, be aware that all emails are retained in the logs of our
respective 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. You
should also know that any emails NICA may receive from you and any
responses that it sends to you may become a part of your legal record.
for taking the time to review the Social Media Policy of Northern
Illinois Counseling Associates, P.C. (NICA). If you have questions or
concerns about any of these policies and procedures or regarding our
potential interactions on the Internet, please do bring them to the
attention of NICA clinical and/or administrative personnel at your
earliest opportunity by contacting us at:
Social Media Policy of Northern Illinois Counseling Associates, P.C.
(NICA) has been adapted from the Social Media Policy of Keely Kolmes,
Psy.D. – Social Media Policy© – 4/26/10. Her original work is
licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share
Alike 3.0 United States License.
To view a copy of this license, visit:
or send a letter
to Creative Commons, 171 Second Street, Suite 300, San Francisco,
California, 94105, USA.
Social Media Policy
for a .pdf version of this document.
Back to Top