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Social Media Policy

 

INTRODUCTION:

 

This document 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.

 

FRIENDING:

 

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”.

 

FANNING:

 

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.

 

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FOLLOWING:

 

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.

 

NICA’s primary 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 working relationship.

 

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.

 

INTERACTING:

 

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 admin@nicapc.com  is the second best method for, administrative issues such as changing appointment times.

 

See the email section below for more information regarding email interactions.

 

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USE OF SEARCH ENGINES:

 

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.

 

GOOGLE READER:

 

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.

 

BUSINESS REVIEW SITES:

 

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 and

automatically add listings regardless of whether the business has added itself to the site.  

 

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.

 

The American 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.

 

Confidentiality 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.

 

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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. 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.

 

EMAIL:

 

NICA clinical 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.

 

CONCLUSION:

 

Thank you 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: admin@nicapc.com.

 

ACKNOWLEDGEMENT:

 

The 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: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0/us/ or send a letter to Creative Commons, 171 Second Street, Suite 300, San Francisco, California, 94105, USA.  http://www.drkkolmes.com

 

Click Social Media Policy for a .pdf version of this document.

 

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The material presented within this website is informational only and is not intended as a substitute for professional services and assistance. We have endeavored to present accurate information, but cannot guarantee that the information on these web pages is always current or correct. We do not assume responsibility for any consequences that may result from using this web page or any sites. We do not necessarily endorse or support the contents, claims, or representations of the websites we provide links to, in whole or in part. While we try to respond to inquiries, we are unable to offer professional advice via email. If you require urgent care, contact Northern Illinois Counseling Associates, P.C. (NICA) at 815-455-6736 or email us at info@nicapc.com to schedule an appointment. If you require emergency care, contact 911 or go the emergency center of your local hospital.

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