The purpose of this document is to attempt to address the complex world of digital media and the impact that this can have on the therapeutic relationship.
As a general rule, counsellors will maintain a strict boundary and keep their personal lives outside of the counselling sessions. It is important that clients read this digital policy to ensure that any blurring of this boundary is avoided.
As much as possible, I like to keep therapeutic work within the ‘online counselling room’ however, these boundaries can be stretched in todays digital world. I attempt to offer clarity below. I am happy to answer any questions that you, as a client, may have.
A part of my working life outside of my counselling practice involves blogging, training, public speaking as well as various media roles. As a part of this work, I maintain an active online presence using resources such as my website, facebook, podcasting, youtube and instagram in order for me to reach a larger audience. My main goals of this social media presence is to promote MK Counselling Services as well as share information, quotes and theories relating to psychotherapy and mental health with the aim of supporting those who choose to engage with this media.
Whilst I consider my social media presence an important aspect of my work, I hold my commitment to put my clients first and do no harm through my practice as my highest priority.
I am not currently using an email encryption programme, so any emails we send to each other may be vulnerable to viruses or human error. For this reason, it is best to be thoughtful about what you include in emails to me, and which email address you choose to use with me. Often, it is best to rely on email for non-confidential communications like setting up appointment times and things like that. In an effort to keep confidential and psychological material “in the room” it is best avoided in emails unless we discuss it beforehand. I will always request your preferred email address from our first session.
If you choose to communicate with me by email, be aware that all emails are retained in the logs of Internet Service Providers. Furthermore, they can be vulnerable to viruses and unintended forwarding or replication. If you are concerned about the confidentiality of your emails, you may wish to contact me by telephone instead.
You may feel free to contact me by text message to alert me if you are running late for a session or for similar reasons. However, because of the lack of context of text messages, it is generally not the best method for communicating with me about more important matters, so please do call me and leave a message. As a private practitioner I am unable to offer an emergency service, even by phone.
Should you experience an emergency please contact either the emergency services or if you are feeling suicidal please go to A & E and/or call The Samaritans on 116 123. If you feel this might be an issue please discuss it with me.
Telephone & Video Calling:
I make every effort to choose video conferencing software that is recognised to be adequately encrypted – so this may involve you downloading certain software or logging into a web-based application. When engaging via video conferencing, we both agree not to use any recording devices for remote sessions. It is also crucial that you’re sure your environment from which you are conferencing with me is safe and secure.
Sessions should be treated by the client in the same way as a session in a counsellor’s office would be. You must make efforts to prevent distractions and unless you are using your phone as the platform for speaking to your counsellor, it should be placed on silent/do not disturb and kept out of sight for the duration of your session.
If you are unable to log into a video session, please ring or text your counsellor to let them know and they can advise on how to proceed. If either party experiences technical difficulties during a video/online session, I will ring your phone and talk you through trying to re-establish connection. If re-connection is not possible in a timely manner, the rest of the session will switch to the agreed alternative platform (for example telephone). Please ensure your device has enough battery charge to last for the whole session.
Facebook & Instagram
I, like many others, maintain a private Facebook account for personal reasons. I aim to keep my Facebook as private as possible and it would not be appropriate to be Facebook “friends” with former or current clients. 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 an active Instagram account and like many other instagram users will follow and interact with other user’s accounts. I will not at any time use instagram to seek or gain information on current or previous clients. The @MKCounsellingServices instagram account is used for the purpose of promoting MK Counselling Services and its services as well as promoting mental health awareness in general. Following a therapist on Instagram should not be considered a substitute for therapy. I will not enter into therapeutic discussions or counselling via social media messaging.
It is likely that you will have Googled me before you contacted me. Whilst I acknowledge that Googling others is now a generally accepted aspect of daily life, I wish to avoid encountering information about my clients that does not come directly from them. In general practice I do not Google my clients before I meet them.
Last Updated May 2022