DIYPCS: Social Media Policy

The use of social media and electronic communication is a convenient and often a preferred way of communicating. However, privacy and confidentiality are not guaranteed in these forms of communication. Counsellors from Denbighshire Independent Young Persons’ Counselling Service (DIYPCS) will not communicate with, or contact clients through social media or networking platforms such as;

  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Google
  • Instagram
  • Pinterest

Additionally, if a Counsellor discovers that they have accidentally established an online relationship with a client, they will cancel that relationship. This is due to the significant security risk these types of casual social contacts can create for clients.

Our counsellors may participate on various social networks for personal purposes, but not in their professional capacity as a Counsellor or therapist. If a client has an online presence, there is a possibility that a client may encounter a counsellor by accident. If that occurs, we ask that clients please discuss this with your counsellor during their next session. We have researched this issue and concluded that social media communications with clients have a high potential to compromise the professional relationship. We ask clients to not attempt to contact counsellors in this way.

If a client has any questions about anything in this policy, please bring them up with your counsellor. As new technology develops and the internet changes, there may be times when DIYPCS may need to update this policy. Clients will be notified in writing of any policy changes. The webpage will also be updated to reflect any changes.

Friending

DIYPCS counsellors do not accept invitations from current or former clients to participate in their online social networks, nor do they invite clients to participate in their own personal online social networks (e.g., Facebook, Twitter etc.).

The practice of adding clients as friends or contacts on these sites can compromise client confidentiality and DIYPCS respective privacy. It may also blur the boundaries of the therapeutic relationship. If a client needs to contact their counsellor between sessions, we would ask them to please email, phone or text (depending on the preference of client and counsellor).

If a client has questions about this, we would ask them to bring them up with their counsellor in their next session.

Following

DIYPCS counsellors do not follow current or former clients on blogs or Twitter. If there are things from your online life that you wish to share with your counsellor, please bring them into your session where we can view and explore them together, during the therapy hour.

Interacting

Please do not use messaging on social media or networking sites to contact a counsellor. These sites are not secure, and the messages may not be read in a timely fashion. Do not use Wall postings, @replies, or other means of engaging with a counsellor in public online if a therapeutic relationship has been established. Engaging with a counsellor in these ways can compromise privacy, and may also create the possibility that the exchanges will need to be documented and archived in client records.

DIYPCS counsellors recognise that viewing clients’ online activities without their consent, and without explicit arrangement towards a specific purpose, could potentially have a negative influence on the working relationship. If there are things from online life that a client wishes to share with a counsellor, these can be brought up in sessions where we can view and explore them together, during the therapy time.

Websites

DIYPCS have webpages on the Denbighshire County Council website that are free to access to obtain information about our practice.

View the DIYPCS webpages

You can contact us if you would like more information about our service.

Use of search engines

DIYPCS counsellors will not use web searches to gather information about a client without permission. It is our belief that this violates privacy rights; however, we understand that someone might choose to gather information about a counsellor in this way.

There is an incredible amount of information available about individuals online, much of which may actually be known to that person and some of which may be completely inaccurate or unknown. If a client finds any information about a counsellor through web searches, or in any other fashion for that matter, this can be discussed with a counsellor during a session to discuss its potential impact on treatment.

Although it is not a regular practice for our counsellors to search for clients on Google or Facebook or other search engines, extremely rare exceptions may be made during times of crisis e.g. if a councillor has a reason to suspect that a client is in danger or if it becomes necessary as part of ensuring welfare. These are unusual situations and if counsellors ever resort to such means, they will fully document it and discuss it in person as early as is feasible.

Recording video or audio counselling sessions

Protecting confidentiality means that we do not allow clients to record or post/publish online a recording or part of a recording of a counselling session. This is equally the case for live chat text or email communications.

Location-based services

If a client uses location-based services on a mobile phone, the client may wish to be aware of the privacy issues related to using these services. If there are any questions or concerns, a client can bring them to the attention of their counsellor to discuss them.

More information

If a client has any questions or concerns about any of these policies and procedures or regarding potential interactions online, they can bring them to the attention of their counsellor so that they can be discussed.

Concerns and complaints

The therapeutic alliance is essential to the success of therapy. The relationship is so important in counselling that there must be a good fit. Not every counsellor is a good fit for every client. What works for one person in therapy may not work for another. Counselling is a subjective and unique experience.

If there are concerns about a counsellor or a session, the best approach would be to discuss that concern in person with the counsellor. Discussing reactions with the counsellor, whether they are positive or negative can be an important part of therapy.

Even if a client chooses not to return to a counsellor, it is important to let the counsellor know directly why they felt it was not a good fit. By doing so, this may provide helpful information to the counsellor and they may also gain a sense of closure.

Sometimes clients may not feel safe or able to speak directly to their counsellor. They then have the option of contacting the DIYPCS at youngpersonscounselling@denbighshire.gov.uk.

If there is an ethical issue or a client feels that something wrong has occurred, the best way to proceed would be to file a complaint with the DIYPCS complaints procedure.

Please note that when filing a formal complaint, it is possible that details of therapy may be revealed in the investigation. Information on our counsellors’ registration numbers and register body can be obtained via the admin email.

Protecting confidentiality means that our counsellors cannot tell people that someone is a client. But clients are welcome to tell anyone they wish who a counsellor is. Please do not rate or review a counsellor’s work on any websites while still in treatment. Doing so has a significant potential to damage the ability to work together, and may jeopardize privacy.