Digital Policy

This Digital Policy is made for the benefit of my psychotherapy clients and supervises and aims to address and contain the most likely eventualities that may arise by way of digital exposure, while also referring to maintaining privacy and data protection. It acknowledges the complex world of digital media and tries its best to address issues that may impact on the therapeutic and supervisory relationships This policy explains my professional responsibility regarding your privacy and data storage and my stance on my engagement in cyberspace via various social media platforms

Keeping Boundaries:

The nature of an online presence can blur interpersonal boundaries, so it is important to be as clear as possible about how boundaries may be compromised. As a general rule, I like to keep clinical work in the consultation room. However, the nature of the digital world can sometimes stretch these boundaries, so I offer the best clarity I can below.

Social Media:

I engage in social media and I imagine many of my clients and supervises do too, so the possibility of our digital lives overlapping outside of the consulting room increases. I hold my duty of care and confidentiality to my clients and supervisees as sacrosanct and consider my engagement in social media to be related to, but completely separate from my clinical work I acknowledge that there can be some overlap across social networks, and that this sometimes comes to light on Facebook. If this were the case, it would be something we would need to discuss in session.

I maintain a public Facebook page, twitter profile and LinkedIn page for professional purposes You are welcome to look at these and make comments and whether you follow me or not is of course to your discretion. I will not reply to comments, make or accept “friends”or “connector” requests from current or former clients or supervisees’ or knowingly engage with clients and supervisees over social media for two reasons.

Firstly this may compromise your privacy. Secondly, as your therapist or supervisor, my relationship with you is professional and to engage with you in cyberspace would be entering into a Dual Relationship, which can have the detrimental effect of blurring the boundaries of the therapeutic or supervisory relationships. I will also not “follow” you as I believe to do so will allow me to have access to parts of your life that you may not want to share with me just yet.

Google:

I have found it is best to avoid encountering information about you that does not come directly from you, so in general practice I do not Google my clients. I am aware, however, that clients will often Google prospective therapists as part of their process in choosing one. If you did so with me, and this produced any questions, I would be happy to address them with you. Going forward, I have found it is best to find out from each other what we need to know face-to-face.

Data Protection:

In May 2018, new EU regulations came into effect pertaining to data collection.  Essentially, GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) protects users from unauthorised data collection by requiring explicit consent.  This means that you have to give explicit consent for me to collect your data and I am required to inform you of how I store your data, why and for how long.

“Your data” is primarily name, address, email address and mobile phone number.  I collect this data as it allows me to contact you to arrange, change or cancel appointments. Data is stored in both paper and digital formats.  Paper data is stored in a locked cabinet and digital data is stored on either/or my laptop or my business specific mobile phone.  Both these devices are password protected and security updated regularly. My business specific email address (@protonmail.com) is also password protected. Data is stored for 6 years then shredded.

I will ask you to sign a specific GDPR compliant data protection form when we start our work together

Business Review Sites:

You may find my practice listed.  Some sites include forums in which you can rate the provider and add reviews. If you should find my practice on any site, please know that this is NOT a request by me for you to review, endorse or rate my service.  You are of course free to write a review, but please note that I may not ever see the review, however, if I do I will not be able to reply for reasons of confidentiality.  If you do write a review, then please be aware that you will be sharing personal information on a public site so you may want to create a pseudonym that will protect you from being identified.

If you would like to discuss this policy, please let me know.

(Copyright) Sally Evans