Many of our readers reacted with surprise to Monday’s post (“Facebook connects your clients, even if you don’t use Facebook”). It certainly reinforces the idea that if you are not actively and regularly working to protect the confidentiality of your clients on social media, you may not be doing enough.
In testimony to Congress the week before last, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg made a point of emphasizing that if you’re a Facebook user, you own your information. This is meant to reassure users, but it is more than a little misleading. “Your information” is what you personally have uploaded to Facebook. You do not own what other people have uploaded about you. That’s what has privacy advocates so concerned. It’s also why even therapists who don’t use Facebook should be worried about the client confidentiality risks that the company poses.
Therapists and counselors are increasingly required to formally gather outcome data on their work. This is good: The more data that we have on our work, the more intentional and effective our clinical decisions can become. Regularly collecting and attending to outcome data, therefore, suggests constant movement towards improvement.
Many therapists struggle, however, with questions about what data to gather, and how to best gather it. Even among those who philosophically agree that regularly collecting outcome data helps to more meaningfully direct therapy, they often don’t do it.
Thankfully, there are a number of easy ways for therapists to collect outcome data. Many come at no cost. The following are just three of the many different tools/assessments therapists can use to collect and interpret outcome data.
From the time you were in graduate school, your instructors and supervisors have likely emphasized the importance of self-care. Burnout is a real risk in the world of counseling and psychotherapy, and you have to be able to take care of yourself in order to avoid it.
These messages come from a good place. But they ignore reality for many therapists, especially those early in their careers. And those messages often come with dangerous assumptions and a dark undercurrent: If you’re having a hard time, it’s your own fault.
We’ve talked here many a time about employment of prelicensed therapists. Most of our discussion has focused on employer abuses and how you can push back. But of course it’s worth noting that plenty of employers are fantastic, and that even a lot of the illegality in employment arrangements can be chalked up to well-meaning mistakes rather than purposeful villainy. It is in that spirit that we approach what seems to be one of the most common structures for paying prelicensed therapists who work in private practices here in California: Fee splitting.
Facebook is a great resource for gathering information. Often, and for the right reasons, we turn to social media in hopes of gathering information we need in a short period of time and with little effort. But for therapists going to social media with legal questions, that convenience may not be worth it. Many of the answers therapists give peers for legal questions on Facebook are incorrect.
We reviewed 20 recent posts that included legal questions in therapist groups on Facebook. We looked strictly at legal questions where there was a clear correct answer that we could easily reference. So anything requiring interpretation of law was purposefully left out. Our review was by no means comprehensive — it falls more closely in bar-napkin-math territory. But we still think this quick review offers some valuable information.
It’s a sea change. And we don’t just mean the cover, which finally lets go of the pathway-in-the-forest image that graced the first four editions. The fifth edition of Basics of California Law for LMFTs, LPCCs, and LCSWs, which is available now for preorder, is the biggest change since I wrote the first one.
The new edition is updated to 2018 law and professional ethics codes, and includes new material on:
- Employment Law, including wages, sick leave, termination, and more
- Family Law, including marriage, separation and divorce, custody, and more
- Supervision, including supervisors’ legal responsibilities
- Some of the biggest current controversies in state law for psychotherapists
If you’re on your path to becoming a clinical counselor in California, you will need to take the state’s Clinical Counselor Law & Ethics Exam in your first year of registration as an Associate. I’m proud to announce the release of our new study guide for that exam.
Today, too many job listings for therapists and counselors are vague about pay, if they mention it at all. It’s part of a culture in mental health that keeps salaries low and professionals feeling disempowered. When employers #PostThePay — even as a range — both employers and applicants benefit.
That’s why we’re launching a social campaign encouraging employers to do exactly that.
As we put a bow on the end of 2017 and look ahead to the new year, many of us make resolutions, or plans, or promises. We make commitments for the year ahead in hopes of living our personal and professional lives that much closer to our ideals. One resolution I make each year is to update my office paperwork.
My informed consent always needs a few updates to reflect my changing practice. As I get older, I see each day a greater importance to having a Professional Will. And with technology changing so quickly around us, this year I knew I needed to add policies around social media as well.