Social media is interesting territory for psychotherapists. On one hand, it’s a very important part of marketing your practice online. It’s the way that you share value, connect professionally, and gain visibility and share-ability. On the other hand, it comes bundled with the expectations that users have which may include the expectation of being able to access and engage with you in a way that may not be appropriate or ethical.
It’s not just the unethical part, it’s also can just be plain awkward! Any therapist who has had a client or potential client commenting or sending personal information on their posts or through their pages knows what this can be like.
I’m not sure every instance of awkward is avoidable but ensuring that you are doing what you can to avoid this from happening is a good idea. (Sidenote: if you are researching this, here’s the ACA Code of Ethics in which Section H goes over social media).
Through privacy settings you can really lock down your private social media accounts. But what about your professional ones? By default, your Facebook business page allows people to send you private messages.
Here’s a step-by-step for disabling the messaging feature on Facebook pages:
1. Navigate to your Facebook business page
You can see that there is a “Message” button on the page. So let’s change that! Go to “Settings” in the top right hand corner of your page.
2. Locate the “Messages” and click “Edit”
3. Uncheck the “Allow…” checkbox
When you set up a Facebook page for your practice, this box will automatically be checked!
4. Be sure to save changes
Make sure to return to your page and confirm that the “Message” button is no longer on your page.
This won’t help all the awkward social media stuff, but it’s one small thing you can do in 5 minutes that will help eliminate people sending you messages via your Facebook practice page.