In the current economy, most facets have been affected and changed by digital revolution. The medical field has also experienced change with therapists being able to use the internet and social media sites to keep up and check on their patients. However, with such an advancement comes clinical implications that may question the ethical responsibility of the therapist particularly when the patient has not provided consent or the therapist becomes too concerned with personal aspects of the patient`s life.

A therapist should regularly monitor their motivations when it comes to obtaining client information from the internet. Such monitoring ensures the therapist does not allow personal curiosity to take over which would be clinically and ethically irresponsible reason to gather client information. The internet should act as a platform to allow the patient and the therapist to interact and build on their patient-therapist relationship instead of complicating the therapeutic relationship, (Barak, 2009).

Establishing social media policies for both the therapist and client play a significant role in avoiding ethical issues. Such policies place regulations including providing a stance on where it is appropriate to send friend requests to clients or even searching patients on social media sites if the counselor believes the patient might be in danger. Some of the ethical considerations yet to be addressed include security concerns, lack of reimbursement and potential liability which may make some counselors reluctant to use the internet to communicate with their patients.

Currently, most therapists have implemented the use of the internet and emails to engage and communicate with their patients. Through these mediums, the counselor can communicate with care managers and insurance companies or even perform beneficial activities such as requesting additional sessions and acquiring authorizations from the patient, (Barak, 2009). Besides, medical insurances are now becoming technological-based with some insurance companies requiring billing be provided or sent electronically.


I think by bring up a good point when saying that a therapist should regularly monitor their motivations when it comes to obtaining client information from the internet. When therapist overstep this boundary, I believe that is when the ethical concern comes into place. My question would be what would the guidelines be for a therapist to search a patient’s social media?

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