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Privacy Policy


Confidentiality & Privacy Policy*

The law protects the relationship between a client and a therapist, and information cannot be disclosed without written permission.

Exceptions include:

  • Suspected child abuse or dependent adult or elder abuse, for which I am required by law to report this to the appropriate authorities immediately.
  • If a client is threatening serious bodily harm to another person/s, I must notify the police and inform the intended victim.
  • If a client intends to harm himself or herself, I will make every effort to enlist their cooperation in ensuring their safety. If they do not cooperate, I will take further measures without their permission that are provided to me by law in order to ensure their safety.

*A detailed Informed Consent for services will be provided to you to sign which further explains the privacy policy.


Social Media Policy

This section outlines the policies related to use of Social Media. Please read it to understand how we conduct ourselves on the Internet as mental health professionals and how you can expect us to respond to various interactions that may occur between us on the Internet. If you have any questions about anything within this document, please bring them up when in your sessions. As new technology develops and the Internet changes, there may be times when we need to update this policy, as well as the Informed Consent for Services. If we do so, we will make sure you have a copy of the updated policy to review and sign.


Location:

If you search for our location online, you may find our business mailing address/addresses. These addresses are not where we conduct therapy sessions. That is because the practice is mainly online. Currently, we are not seeing clients in person at an office location.

We may on occasion post information online about a workshop or seminar being offered in person. These events are usually not attended by current or former clients and may be open to the local community and general public. If you respond to one of these postings or attend one of these events, be mindful of sharing any information that may reveal you are a client if you wish for that to remain private.


Video Calls:

We do not use programs like Skype, Facetime, Google Hangouts, etc. to communicate with clients as these programs are not HIPAA compliant. This means that these programs do not follow federal guidelines for being secure and private. We will use the secure, online platform that you signed up with to communicate and have sessions.


Friend Requests:

We do not accept friend or contact requests from current or former clients/subscribers/customers on any social networking site (Facebook, LinkedIn, etc.). We believe that adding clients as friends or contacts on these sites can compromise your confidentiality and our respective privacy. It may also blur the boundaries of our therapeutic relationship. If you have questions about this, please bring them up in our sessions and we can talk more about it.

You can use the business information below to connect with us online.

Follow us:

Facebook: The SWEET Network

Facebook: Fanteema Barnes Consulting

Instagram: @fanteemabarnes

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/fanteemabarneswatson/

Pinterest: The SWEET Network

TikTok: @the19sisters

Twitter: @fanteema; @thesweetn3c

You are welcome to read or share articles and posts. Please do not post anything on our business pages that may reveal that you are a client.

You are also free to sign up for our newsletter either by going directly to our website: www.thesweetnetwork.com or by stating “Yes” to the question in the Informed Consent asking if you would like your email to be added to the newsletter list.

By liking or following our business pages or signing up for our newsletter, you will be able to stay updated on products and services as well as occasionally receiving useful resources.

You are not required nor do we expect you to like or follow our business pages or sign up for our newsletter. Doing or not doing these things will not affect your receipt of services with us.


Following:

We publish a blog on the website and post inspirational quotes/pictures on Twitter, Instagram, and/or Pinterest. We have no expectation that you as a client will want to follow our blog, Twitter, Instagram, or Pinterest accounts. However, if you use an easily recognizable name and we happen to notice that you’ve followed us, we may briefly discuss it and its potential impact on our working relationship.

Our primary concern is your privacy. If you share this concern, there are more private ways to follow us on the blog or social media (such as using an RSS feed or a locked Twitter list), which would eliminate your having a public link to our content. You are welcome to use your own discretion in choosing whether to follow us. We will not follow current or former clients/subscribers/customers. Our reasoning is that we believe casual viewing of clients’ online content outside of therapy can create confusion as to whether it’s being done as a part of your treatment or to satisfy personal curiosity. In addition, viewing your online activities without your consent and without our explicit arrangement towards a specific purpose could potentially have a negative influence on our working relationship. If there are things from your online life that you wish to share with your therapist, please bring them into your sessions where we can view and explore them together, during your sessions.

Communicating:

Please do not use SMS (mobile phone text messaging) or messaging on Social Networking sites such as Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn to contact us. These sites are not secure and we may not read these messages in a timely fashion. Do not use Wall postings, @replies, or other means of engaging with us in public online if we have an already established client/therapist relationship. Engaging with us this way could compromise your confidentiality. It may also create the possibility that these exchanges become a part of your legal medical record and will need to be documented and archived in your file.

If we already have an online working relationship through the platform you signed up for, you can contact your therapist through that service. Some of these platforms allow you to mark messages as urgent if you need your therapist to respond right away. Otherwise, if it is a true emergency, contact your local authorities FIRST. If you need to cancel or reschedule an appointment, you can message your therapist through the service or use our scheduling calendar to make the change yourself. Just let your therapist know the reason for the change and try to give 24-48 hours’ notice or there will be a fee charged (see Informed Consent for details).

Reviews/Testimonials:

Posting a review online (ex. Yelp, Google Business, Yahoo Business, etc.) or on the online platform where you received services is your right as a client and it is entirely up to you to decide whether you wish to write a review/testimonial. You should review the following points when deciding whether to write a review/testimonial.

1. The Code of Ethics of The National Association of Social Workers (NASW) discourages social workers from requesting/soliciting reviews or testimonials of services:

“(b) Social workers should not engage in solicitation of testimonial endorsements (including solicitation of consent to use a client’s prior statement as a testimonial endorsement) from current clients or from other people who, because of their particular circumstances, are vulnerable to undue influence.” (NASW, 2008).

2. We do not request reviews/testimonials from any clients, even if you ended services with us, because you may return to services in the future.

3. Unlike other business owners who may respond to online reviews from places like Yelp, as mental health professionals, we must provide confidentiality to our clients. This means we are restricted from responding in any way that acknowledges whether someone has worked with us or been in our care.

4. We hope that if we work together, you feel comfortable enough to share your feelings about our work together directly with your therapist. This helps the therapeutic relationship and ensures you get quality services. Even if quality services means that we have to assist you with finding another therapist.

5. If you still choose to write something about our practice online, remember that it is public and you may be sharing personally revealing information with a large audience. To maintain your privacy, consider using a pseudonym that is not linked to your regular email address or network of friends.

If you believe that we (or any licensed mental health professional) has done something harmful, consider contacting your state licensing board to make a formal complaint. This may protect other consumers of mental health services. Be aware that details of your therapy may come up if there is a formal investigation. Links to licensing boards can be found in your copy of the Informed Consent.

Internet Searches:

It is NOT a regular part of our practice to search for clients on Google or Facebook or other search engines. Extremely rare exceptions may be made during times of crisis. If your therapist has a reason to suspect that you are in danger and you have not been in touch with them via your usual means (session appointments, phone, or email, live chat) there might be an instance in which using a search engine (to find you, find someone close to you, or to check on your recent status updates) becomes necessary as part of ensuring your welfare. These are unusual situations and if your therapist ever resorts to such means, it will be fully documented and discussed with you when you next communicate with your therapist.

Conclusion:

Thank you for taking the time to review our Social Media Policy. If you have questions or concerns about any of these policies and procedures or regarding our potential interactions on the Internet, do bring them to your therapist's attention so that they can discuss them with you.