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.

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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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

Talkspace forces therapists to break rules. The rules may be the problem.

Matthew Henry / Burst / Licensed under Creative Commons ZeroApp-based therapy platforms may well represent the next evolution of psychotherapy practice. I praised Talkspace a few years ago for offering access to mental health care for many who otherwise would never find their way to a therapist’s office. But the platforms — Talkspace, Betterhelp, and the like — have run into controversy over their confidentiality policies. Therapists using these apps may have little to no ready access to the client’s full name, address, or other information necessary in an emergency.

Read moreTalkspace forces therapists to break rules. The rules may be the problem.

Every excuse for California’s MFT Clinical Exam pass rate, debunked

California flagAt the August meeting of the California Board of Behavioral Sciences, I had a tense exchange with representatives from the state’s Office of Professional Examination Services about pass rates for the California MFT Clinical Exam. That pass rate has fallen off a cliff. For the first six months of the year, just 56% of those taking the test for the first time passed.

At the meeting, OPES presented about their exam development process, and argued that nothing meaningful had changed on their end. They and the BBS raised several hypotheses about both the current low pass rate and the drop in pass rate at the start of the year.

Over the past week, I investigated every one of the hypotheses offered. Not one of those hypotheses stands up to scrutiny.

Read moreEvery excuse for California’s MFT Clinical Exam pass rate, debunked