Social media and communication technology have made communication faster and easier than ever before. At the same time, they have brought new challenges around confidentiality, privacy and personal disclosure. Here we seek to layout Counselling Matters policy regarding communication and the use of social media.
We will not look you up on Google or other internet search engines. Similarly, we ask you to respect our privacy and refrain from looking us up, too. If you do look us up, please bear in mind that not all of the information on the internet is true or accurate, and we have no control over it. Rating and review sites may contain information that is biased or questionable. Please talk with your counsellor/supervisor if you have any concerns.
Many of our clients (and indeed our staff) will be on social media and might share personal information there. As counsellors, we believe it is essential that you are aware of and can control what information we know about you, our clients. Therefore, we will not actively look you up on Facebook, Google or other sites.
Sometimes we might come across your social profile by accident. For example, as a friend suggestion, profile match or even random selection. If this happens, we will not explore the profile once we become aware of the connection. We would ask that you respect our privacy in similar ways.
Occasionally clients ask us to look at something they have posted online. While we would prefer such material was printed and brought to the session, that is not always practical. Where clients do ask us to look at something, we would only look at the specific item requested and not further explore their content.
We operate a business Facebook page (CounsellingMattersOnline), Twitter account (uk_counselling) and maintain various business listings. In the future, we might open professional accounts on other social media, too. We use these social media accounts to post blogs and articles of interest with a mental health theme.
You are welcome to ‘like’ or ‘follow’ any of our professional accounts, but we will not knowingly follow you back. Be aware that, if you do like our follow our accounts or pages, you might be creating a link between us which other people could see and follow.
Similarly, you are welcome to comment on our pages or respond to our posts. Remember, though, that what you say could compromise your confidentiality. It might also have an impact on our therapeutic relationship. In such an instance, you are solely responsible for the consequence of your actions. We will not engage in discussion or offer therapeutic advice through social media.
Website and blog
Our business website includes a blog in which we write about mental health issues and current affairs, sometimes giving useful self-help tips. We do not expect that you will follow our blog or comment on any of our posts. However, if you choose to do so, we suggest you use a pseudonym to protect your privacy. If you make a comment and later change your mind, just let us know, and we will delete it without question.
We may offer ‘free’ items on our website which you can get by subscribing to a mailing list. When you subscribe, we record your name and email address together with your IP address so we can send the mailings you requested. You can unsubscribe at any time.
All the communication between yourself and website encrypted for your protection. If you complete a form on our site, we send the details you entered to us by email. These connections are also encrypted.
You are welcome to contact us by email (or via the contact us form on the website). However, we have little control over how email is delivered. We always use secure connections to our email servers and never read confidential emails in situations where someone else could see them. However, we do not recommend sending sensitive information by email.
Telephone and video calls
Please make sure that no one can overhear you before giving personal or confidential information over the phone or online communication. While some platforms (e.g. FaceTime or Zoom) claim to offer end-to-end encryption of calls, we have not tested so cannot guarantee their claims.
If we are unavailable, please leave a voicemail. We will respond as soon as we can.
We have listings on Google Business Pages and other directories. Some of these sites allow users to add a review. We do not expect or require you to post a review of our service. However, you may do so if you wish. Remember these sites are public forums. Any information you share could reveal your identity and other personal information. If you leave a review on one of these sites and later change your mind, we cannot remove it as we have no control over the external website.
We do not ask clients to write testimonials or other reviews of our services. From time to time, some clients spontaneously offer testimonials regarding the work we have done together. If you wish to leave a testimonial, we would ask you to sign a consent to publish and select a pseudonym. You can rescind your permission at any time, and we will withdraw your testimonial as soon as possible.
While we have tried to make this document clear and concise, there will be things we have missed, and you have a question we have not answered. If you have questions at all, please phone us on 0151 329 3637 or email email@example.com. You could also complete the contact form. We look forward to hearing from you.