How Facebook knows you’re a therapist – and who your clients are

Matthew Henry / Burst / Licensed under Creative Commons ZeroTherapists and counselors have been expressing concern for some time now that Facebook can “out” their clients to other clients, even when the therapist or counselor has not done anything to facilitate the connection. It can happen even when the therapist or counselor doesn’t use Facebook. Thanks to some good reporting by Gizmodo Media, we now have a better understanding of how that happens. We also now know just how little you can do to stop it.

The whole article “How Facebook figures out everyone you’ve ever met” is really worth your time. Here, I’ll just share some of the pieces most relevant to counselors, therapists, and other mental health professionals. For us, if even just a few of your clients use Facebook, the likelihood of keeping all your therapeutic relationships truly confidential is near zero.

Read moreHow Facebook knows you’re a therapist – and who your clients are

The Talking Therapy podcast is back! And we’re now a proud sponsor.

Headphones - Anna Langova / Publicdomainpictures.netA while back we wrote about three great therapy podcasts, and the Talking Therapy podcast was on our list. Hosts RJ Thomas and John Webber are therapists themselves. They offer a relaxed, conversational tone even when dealing with big names in the field like Susan Johnson. They approach the show as true students of the craft of therapy, making for some fascinating discussions even with lesser-known guests.

Read moreThe Talking Therapy podcast is back! And we’re now a proud sponsor.

Even when marijuana is legal, therapists who use it face risks

foggy leavesWe have all heard it before. The classic argument. “If you can go home and have a glass of wine or a beer after work, why can’t I smoke a joint? Why can’t I have an edible?” We tend to roll our eyes when we hear this from clients who may be minimizing their marijuana use or its effects. But what do you do when you hear that argument from your colleague, or from a supervisee?

Many therapists have been discussing the impact of marijuana use with clients for years, but have only recently begun to question using themselves. With the increasing number of states legalizing medical and recreational marijuana, therapists now must consider the impact that using marijuana can have on themselves and therapy. While the legalization of marijuana does not appear to lead to increased use, those therapists and counselors who have been using marijuana all along may now be able to be more open in discussing it.

Read moreEven when marijuana is legal, therapists who use it face risks

Why therapists can’t prevent violence

via Wikimedia Commons[Originally published May 2014.] Last week in Isla Vista, California, Elliot Rodger killed six people before taking his own life. His family says he was seeing multiple therapists. Meanwhile, in the California legislature, discussion of a bill that would mandate additional suicide prevention training for therapists has focused on research showing that more than 30% of those who commit suicide had seen a mental health professional within the past year. Why can’t therapists do more to stop violence among our own clients?

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I took the California MFT Clinical Exam and the National MFT Exam. Here’s how they compare.

Sarah Pflug via Burst / Licensed under Creative Commons ZeroI just took the California MFT Clinical Exam and the National MFT Exam within a month of each other. When scheduling both of these exams, my hope was that I could study once, and then ace both. Here, I’ll outline the similarities and differences I noticed between the two exams.

Read moreI took the California MFT Clinical Exam and the National MFT Exam. Here’s how they compare.

Graham-Cassidy health care bill would be disastrous for US mental health care

US Capitol domeThe US Senate may take action this week on the Graham-Cassidy health care bill, a last-ditch effort by Senate Republicans to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act. If Graham-Cassidy becomes law, the consequences for US mental health providers and their clients would be disastrous.

The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office will not score the bill before a September 30 deadline for Senators to vote on it. But estimates suggest that under the bill, at least 16 million Americans would lose health insurance entirely after 10 years, given the bill’s similarity to prior Republican health care bills. This would leave millions paying out of pocket for mental health care that is currently covered by insurance.

Read moreGraham-Cassidy health care bill would be disastrous for US mental health care