Should therapists have a presence online?

In today’s day and age, most counselors have at least one social media account—most of us, more. While these pages may be a great way to interact with our friends, family, and co-workers, they can cross some boundaries if clients find them.  

When we are meeting with a new doctor or new person, it’s only natural for us to want to search them online. We want to see what exists out there about them, and maybe get a sneak peek into their personal life.  

The same is likely true for our clients. Many of them are entrusting us with their deepest and most personal information, and they might want to know more about us as they share more about them. So, they turn to the internet and social media.  

While we can’t stop our clients from doing this, we can be more careful about the types of things we post online. Maybe we increase the security settings on our social media or change the name of our personal blog.  

Some of you may be asking, why would we need to do that? I like my clients and don’t mind if they see me on social media. Remember that it’s important that the therapeutic relationship stay focused on helping the client, and you don’t want sessions to be derailed by them asking you questions about things you said online. Also, you want them to continue to have an open relationship with you and they might be hesitant to do that if they learn more about your personal life.  

It’s hard to tell people to remove themselves from the internet, but it’s best to keep your private life separate from your work with your clients. It’s keeps the therapeutic relationship pure, but also ensures your private life stays private.