Ethics and Boundaries:
Digital communication of any kind is open to misuse and boundaries can be broken if not carefully thought through. The nature of an online presence can blur interpersonal boundaries, so it is important to be as clear as possible about how boundaries may be challenged in an online environment. The nature of the digital world can sometimes stretch these boundaries, so we offer the best clarity we can below.
Our duty of care to our patients and our professional commitment to confidentiality means that we never refer to clinical material in our media activities.
As our patient you will have received a contract covering our commitment to your confidentiality.
Use of Email for Patients Engaging in Face-to-face treatment:
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 general emails to us, and which email address you choose to use with us. Often, it is best to rely on email only for non-confidential communications such as arranging appointment times. In an effort to keep confidential information “in the treatment room” it is best avoided in emails unless we specifically discuss an online approach to the treatment beforehand. We will always request your preferred email address from our first session.
If you choose to communicate with us 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 us by telephone instead.
We are happy for you to contact us by text message or whatsapp to alert us 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 us about more important matters, so please do phone and leave us a message.
Instant Messaging and Video Conferencing:
Some of our work is carried out by Videoconferencing. Any such sessions will be discussed in advance and further information concerning security will be given at this stage. We 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. (Skype is not generally considered appropriate for this use due to security limitations). When engaging via video conferencing, we both agree not to use any recording devices for remote sessions.
In general practice we do not Google our patients before we meet them, nor do we use the internet to elicit information unless it is with the specific informed consent of a client. It is of course your right to Google us. However, if in your search some questions are raised, we would request that you raise them with us directly at the first opportunity.
We will continue to update our digital policy as we learn more and welcome your feedback. Should you have any questions or suggestions, please do let us know.