Please read this information to learn about our policy regarding our contact with clients in relation to the use of social media, email and mobile phones. This will help you to understand how we conduct ourselves regarding interactions that might occur between our clinicians and clients when using these forms of communication. If you have any questions regarding how this policy might impact upon you, please feel free to discuss the issue with your psychologist when you meet.
Facebook and friending:
You may find that our clinicians have personal facebook accounts. Please understand that we DO NOT accept friend or contact requests from any past or present clients on any social networking site. We believe that doing so has the potential to compromise your confidentiality, as well as our respective privacy. It may also blur the boundaries of your therapeutic relationship. We are happy to discuss this further with you during your sessions, so please bring any questions or concerns with you when you meet with your psychologist. It is not our intention to offend you, but please be prepared for these requests to be declined.
Communication outside of appointments – Mobile phones
Using your phone’s SMS system is a great way of keeping in touch about appointments and minor therapy issues (such as travel dates or exam results). That said, please do not use SMS via the web, or messaging on social networking sites (such as facebook or twitter). These sites are not secure, and may not be accessed by clinicians on a regular basis. Contact via these methods may also compromise your confidentiality.
If you need to contact your psychologist between sessions, please do so via phone message. Wherever possible, this should take place via reception, where a message can be left on any given business day, and passed on appropriately. However, should you need to contact your psychologist after-hours (in the instance of running late for an after-hours appointment, or needing to cancel an after-hours appointment), the best method would be to contact directly via their mobile phone (if this has been provided), or to leave a message on the office number.
Communication outside of appointments – Email
The use of email is preferred for quick administrative issues only, such as needing to re-schedule or modify an upcoming appointment time, or to pass on general information (such as useful articles or chapters to read). Please DO NOT email content related to your therapy sessions, as email is not completely secure or confidential. If you choose to communicate in this way, be aware that all emails are retained in the logs of your and our internet service providers, and whilst it is unlikely that someone will be looking at these, they are in theory available to be read by the system administrators of the Internet Service Provider. You should also know that any email received, as well as any responses that are sent, become part of your legal record.
If you do send an email regarding therapy content, our clinicians will likely not respond therapeutically, but encourage you to bring this issue to your next appointment so it can be further explored and discussed in an appropriate manner and in a confidential setting.
Occasionally, you may receive an email that is time stamped outside of normal working hours. There is no urgency to reply to this, it may have simply been a convenient time for one of our clinicians to catch up on correspondence. Please be aware that if you do send an email to one of our psychologists, this does not oblige them to respond immediately. Urgent communication should be handled by telephone, directed to the office number or the relevant mobile (if provided), which will be responded to as soon as possible. It is also important that all clients are aware that we are not a crisis service, and do not proclaim to be available to clients at any time. As such, messages may not be heard until business hours. If you feel that you might need more support than this allows, please discuss this with your psychologist, as other support services may be of additional use and benefit to you whilst you undertake therapy. All our clinicians are happy to ensure that you have a list of additional resources to utilise in these circumstances.
Business review sites
It may be the case that you find our practice listed on sites such as Yahoo local, Bing, and Yelp. Some of these sites include the opportunity for you to provide feedback via a review on their forums. If you should find this to be the case for Diamond Valley Clinical Psychology, please know that our listing is NOT a request for a testimonial, rating or endorsement from you as a patient.
If you choose to, you absolutely have the right to express yourself on any site you wish, but due to confidentiality, we cannot respond to any review on any of these sites, irrespective of whether it is positive or negative. Of course we would encourage you to bring any of your feelings regarding your experience of therapy to your sessions. None of this is intended to keep you from sharing that you are in therapy, or your experience of therapy, with whomever you would like. However, we emphasise that confidentiality means that we cannot identify you as a client, and that our Code of Ethics prohibits us from requesting testimonials. You are more than welcome to tell anyone you wish about your therapy journey. We encourage you to consider the implications of this however with regards to your own privacy.
Location-based services (LBS)
If you use location-based services on your mobile phone, you may not be aware of the potential implications of this. Be aware that if you have GPS tracking enabled on your device, it is possible that others may surmise that you are a therapy patient due to regular check-ins at our address. As such, you may wish to disable this service.
Thank you for taking the time to review this policy. If you have questions or concerns about any of the information contained above, please do bring them up during your sessions so that any issues or concerns can be resolved.
Dr Lisa Forrester
Clinical & Forensic Psychologist, Clinical Director
Diamond Valley Clinical Psychology