Privacy, Confidentiality and
Social Media Policy
My obligations as a Professional
As a fully qualified Clinical Member of the Psychotherapy and Counselling Federation of Australia (PACFA) and a Mental Health Nurse registered with the Australian College Mental Health Nurses (ACMHN) I am bound by the privacy policies, rules and guidelines of these professional associations as well as Australian privacy legislation.
As a Registered Nurse & Mental Health Nurse I am also bound by the codes and guidelines of the Australian Health Professionals Regulation Agency (AHPRA) which prohibits me seeking testimonials from clients.
Please read the following information carefully and if you have any questions or concerns I am happy to discuss these with you when we meet.
Privacy and confidentiality protocol
The nature and content of our discussions is confidential. I will keep all information you provide confidential and secure unless you give me your express permission to communicate information about you to someone else.
Exceptions to this policy are:
If I have reason to believe you may be in danger of physically hurting yourself or somebody else. In these circumstances I may need to advise other people (such as family members, friends, emergency services, a mental health team) in order to protect you or others
If I am made aware of the current harm, neglect or abuse of a child. Under the law, I have a mandatory obligation to report this information to the appropriate authorities
If legal proceedings are taken against me as your counsellor or against you relating to your situation. In these cases your file may be subpoenaed by a court of law. If this occurs I will notify you
If any of our sessions are supervised by another counsellor. As a professional counsellor I am required to undergo formal professional supervision with an experienced and qualified counsellor. Any supervised sessions are covered by the same confidentiality requirements as those outlined here.
Your rights and obligations
As a professional courtesy I will respond in writing to your doctor if they provide a referral letter. If you have any concerns regarding my response to your doctor please discuss them with me when we meet.
During the session I will take notes unless you specifically ask me not to. Taking notes allows me to review and adapt if necessary the therapeutic approach we are taking in our consultations.
You are entitled to access any information that is kept about you. You also have a right to copy and and/or make corrections to information that you can demonstrate is incorrect.
If you would like to access your file, please provide at least one week’s written notice. Contact me if you would like to discuss further.
If you wish to lodge a formal complaint about privacy you can do so by contacting the Privacy Commissioner on 1300 363 992
My approach to Social Media
The information below is intended to protect your privacy and confidentiality and that of our therapeutic relationship. It outlines how I conduct myself on the Internet as a health professional and how you can expect me to respond to any interactions between us online.
If you have any questions or concerns regarding this information please discuss them with me when we meet. If, in future, I need to update or change this information I will endeavour to notify you.
Viewing your online activities without your consent and without our explicit arrangement for a specific purpose is unlikely to be therapeutic and may damage our working relationship. It is not my regular practice to research client information on any search engines or social media.
If you have any online material you would like to share with me, please bring it to our session and we can view and discuss together during therapy time.
I do not accept “friend” requests from current or former clients on any social networking sites (such as a personal Facebook page or LinkedIn). Doing so is likely to blur the boundaries of our therapeutic relationship and has the potential to compromise confidentiality and our respective privacy.
Becoming Connected is a business page I host on Facebook. This is where I post articles which may be of interest, short videos, course information and other mental health updates.
I have no expectation that you will visit this page. You are welcome to “like”, “follow” or “share” posts from this page. In doing so, you may indirectly compromise your privacy.
The best way to contact me between sessions is by phone or email.
If you contact me I will respond within 24 hours.
If you have questions or concerns about any of the information on this page, please let me know so we can talk about them together.
The social media policy above was copied and adapted for my own use from
Keely Kolmes, Psy.D., who licensed it under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share
Alike 3.0 United States License, which makes it available to other mental health professionals.