Social Media for Therapists: Should You Do It?
By: Linda Chapman
The web world is abuzz with social media marketing opportunities. But…
- Is it ethical and appropriate for therapist and psychologist websites?
- Can social marketing on your site actually hurt you in the eyes of you current and potential clients?
- Will social media icons communicate accessibility — or cheesiness?
If these are some of your concerns I think they are well-founded on all counts. It comes down to your own personal comfort level and your own assessment of ethical boundaries (as well as that of your professional association/licensing body).
It is somewhat frustrating that the nature of our work (and justifiable confidentiality concerns) prevent us from fully embracing social media — because it is very powerful — but I, for one, am not comfortable having therapy clients “friend” or “follow” me. Other therapists seem to have no concern about that.
As for looking cheap or cheesy, I don’t think most people would think so provided it’s done tastefully simply because of the proliferation of social media, but I think all clients would appreciate the thoughtfulness of having and posting a social media policy (see Kolmes, below).
I wonder if, when clicked, therapist social media icons should ideally take clients to an interstitial page with a disclaimer and social media policy, then link to the actual social media accounts if used.
Here’s a good article on the subject:
Also, clinician Keely Kolmes is an excellent resource:
Her model social media policy:
She has a great-looking ethics course on the subject:
If you currently have social media icons on your therapy site and you’re ambivalent about them then I would remove them until you have an approach you feel comfortable with. I’d be happy to consult with you about using social media on your site as a part of a free initial web development phone consult. Contact me through the website or give me a call at 1-888-612-1326.