It is my policy to fully disclose information with my clients before any action is taken, unless there is a strong reason not to do so. All information disclosed within sessions, and the written records pertaining to those sessions, are confidential and may not be revealed to anyone without your written permission, except when I have knowledge of, or reasonable suspicion of the following:
(1) CHILD ABUSE: physical injury, sexual assault and exploitation, lewd and lascivious behavior, willful cruelty or unjustifiable punishment, corporal punishment resulting in injury, neglect, emotional abuse. In some instances I may be mandated to report child abuse in connection with domestic violence, and emotional abuse.
(2) ELDER (65 years of age or older) and/or DEPENDENT ADULT ABUSE: consisting of physical abuse, isolation, financial abuse, abandonment, neglect/ self-neglect, or abduction.
(3) DANGER TO SELF OR OTHER: If you appear to be a danger to self, others, the property of another, or if you become gravely disabled (where your life or health is in danger), I have the right, to disclose information (‘right to warn’) to prevent the danger. If you threaten to harm yourself, some of the reasonable protective measures may include contacting family or close friends, voluntary/ involuntary hospitalization, increasing the frequency of sessions, and/or a “no suicide” contract. If you make a serious threat of imminent harm to a reasonably identifiable victim, I have a legal duty to warn that person, notify the police, and take other reasonable protective measures.
Confidentiality may also be waived for some of the following reasons: If you make your mental or emotional state an issue in a legal proceeding, Workers Compensation cases, fitness for duty, mandated job performance treatment, In child custody or adoption proceedings, where your fitness as a parent is questioned or in doubt, or if I have been ordered by the Court to divulge information.
If you are seeing me for relationship coaching, you must agree at the start of treatment that if you eventually decide to divorce, you will not request my testimony or therapy notes for either side. The court, however, may order me to testify.
If you’re in couples coaching and you want to have the records of this coaching sent to anyone, all of the adults present will have to sign a release.
My Private Practice Social Media Policy
At this time, I am choosing not to participate in social networks.
If you have any questions about anything within this document, I encourage you to bring them up when we meet. As new technology develops and the Internet changes, there may be times when I need to update this policy. If I do so, I will notify you in writing of any policy changes and make sure you have a copy of the updated policy.
Please do not use SMS (mobile phone text messaging) or messaging on Social Networking sites such as Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn to contact me. These sites are not secure and I may not read these messages in a timely fashion. Do not use Wall postings, @replies, or other means of engaging with me in public online if we have an already established client/coach relationship. Engaging with me this way could compromise your confidentiality. If you need to contact me between sessions, the best way to do so is by phone. Email is second best for quick, administrative issues such as changing appointment times. See the email section below for more information regarding email interactions.
Use of Search Engines
It is NOT a regular part of my practice to search for clients on Google or Facebook or other search engines. Extremely rare exceptions may be made during an emergency. If I have a reason to suspect that you are in danger and you have not been in touch with me via our usual means (coming to appointments, phone, or 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 ensuring your welfare. These are unusual situations and if I ever resort to such means, I will fully document it and discuss it with you when we next meet.
I do not follow current or former clients on Google Reader and I do not use Google Reader to share articles. If there are things you want to share with me that you feel are relevant to your situation, or items or things you have created, I encourage you to bring these items of interest into our sessions.
Business Review Sites
You may find my private 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 providers and add reviews. Many of these sites comb search engines for business listings and automatically add listings regardless of Social Media Policy 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 you as my client.
Of course, you have a right to express yourself on any site you wish. I urge you to take your own privacy as seriously as I take my commitment of confidentiality to you. You should also be aware that if you are using these sites to communicate indirectly with me about your feelings about our work, there is a good possibility that I may never see it.
If we are working together, I hope that you will bring your feelings and reactions to our work directly into the coaching process. This can be an important part of the coaching process, even if you decide we are not a good fit. None of this is meant to keep you from sharing that you are in coaching with me wherever and with whomever you like.
Confidentiality means that I cannot tell people that you are my client. You are more than welcome to tell anyone you wish that I’m your coach or how you feel about the advice that I provide 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 use location-based services on your mobile phone, you may wish to be aware of the privacy issues related to using these services. 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 coaching 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.
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.
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I hope to hear from you soon!
(Original document created by K. Holmes)