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Digital and Social Media Ethics for Therapists:
Clinical & Ethical Considerations for Psychologists, Counselors, and Clinicians Using the Internet

8 CE Credits/Hours - Online Course - $79.00

Co-Developed by Keely Kolmes, Psy.D. and Ofer Zur, Ph.D.

Course fulfills the California and other states' ethics and law requirements.
Course may qualify for insurance discount. Check with your insurer.

CE Credits for Psychologists. CE Credits (CEUs) for LMFTs, Social Workers, Counselors and Nurses.
CE Approvals by BBS-CA, ASWB, NBCC, NAADAC, CA-BRN & more.
Zur Institute is approved by the American Psychological Association to sponsor continuing education for psychologists. Zur Institute maintains responsibility for this program and its content.

This course is also offered as part of a TeleMental Health & Digital Ethics Certificate of 26 CE Credits.

This course is also offered as part of an Advanced Ethics Certificate Program of 71 CE Credits.

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Simply follow these steps:

1. Sign up securely online.
2. Read/watch articles & videos.

3. Submit evaluation & post-test.
4. Print your certificate.


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Digital and Social Media Ethics for Psychotherapists The Internet and social networking are offering a number of new clinical and ethical challenges for those who provide face-to-face mental health services. These challenges include extra-therapeutic contacts between therapists and their clients, questions about what distinguishes personal and professional activities online, and a lack of clearly developed policies related to our online behaviors and interactions.

This unique and first-of-its kind course offers an introduction to digital ethics and to various social networking sites and activities and provides guidelines for how to manage the concerns that may arise for practitioners who are using these sites. Applicable ethical standards will be addressed. While this course focuses on issues that may be of concern to clinicians who provide online therapy and who also maintain a presence on social media sites, online treatment is not specifically addressed in this course.

The first section of the course is an Introduction to the clinical and ethical issues that get raised for psychotherapists using Social Media. The second section addresses online transparency of both clients and therapists, inclusive of what therapists may intentionally or unintentionally make available online, and whether they should access client information online. Section three looks at friend and contact requests on sites such as Facebook and LinkedIn, and also examines the challenges of Facebook business pages and the blocking feature on such sites. The fourth section addresses Twitter, Status Updates, and Location-based check-in sites. The fifth section discusses the ethical issues that are raised by consumer review sites and business listings. Section six focuses on email exchanges between therapists and clients, record keeping, and digital security. Section seven provides sample Social Media Policies, and section eight, the last one, includes links to ethics codes for psychotherapists, and additional online resources.

Disclaimer: This course is purely educational and does not intend to serve as a license (or permission) to mental health professionals to prescribe or practice any of the approaches discussed in this course unless they fall within the scope of practice of your profession. Check with your licensing board about the scope of practice of your profession to make sure you practice within that scope.


Educational Objectives:

    This course will teach the participant to
  • Describe social media and summarize several popular social media sites and services.
  • Distinguish between one's personal and professional activities on the Internet.
  • Identify the ethical challenges that may arise from engaging in activities on the Internet.
  • Develop strategies for minimizing risk of ethical violations on the Internet.
  • Appraise their use of e-mail, record-keeping, and mobile computing devices to prevent confidentiality breaches.
  • Construct a social media policy for one's office to address potential boundary issues with clients.
  • Review the different approaches and attitudes towards social networking between therapists and clients.
  • Discuss the relevant ethical issues as they pertain to therapists' web sites and social networking profiles.

Course Syllabus:

  • Introduction to Digital Ethics & Social Medial Ethics
    • Clinical and Ethical Issues in Psychotherapy & Social Media
    • How the Internet Blurs Professional Boundaries (With Stephen Behnke, Ph.D., JD)
  • Internet Transparency
    • Therapists Googling clients
    • Clients Googling Therapists – Therapists' Internet Transparency
    • Intentional Online Disclosure by Psychotherapists
  • Social Networking: Friend Requests, Facebook, LinkedIn
    • Managing Facebook as a Mental Health Professional
    • How to Respond to Friend Request from Clients
    • Facebook Fanning: I'm not a Rock Star!
    • Facebook Blocking: Should Mental Health Professionals Block Clients on Facebook?
    • Online 'Sharing' Demands Caution? (By Jeffrey E. Barnett, Psy.D.)
    • LinkedIn for Mental Health Professionals
    • Therapy, Online Social Networking, & Ethics (By J. E. Barnett, Psy.D. & A. Russo)
  • Social Networking: Tweeting & Blogging
    • Managing Twitter as a Mental Health Professional
    • You have Major Depressive Disorder. Mind if I Tweet That?
    • To Tweet or Not to Tweet? This is the Question (By Jeffrey N. Younggren, Ph.D.)
    • Location-based Check-in Sites for Mental Health Professionals (Foursquare, Loopt, and other LBS)
  • The Yelp Dilemma
    • Responding to negative reviews on review sites, such as Yelp
    • Clinical and Ethical appropriate response to clients' negative, cynical, or critical online reviews
    • Confidentiality issues regarding negative clients' reviews
  • E-Mail between Therapists and Patients
    • E-mail Communication between Therapists and Clients
    • E-mail Tips for Clinicians
    • Ethical Considerations when using E-mail w/ Clients (By: K Drude, Ph.D. & M. Lichstein, Ph.D.)
  • Record-Keeping of Phone Messages, E-mail, and Texts
    • Laptop Security
  • Social Media Policies
  • Codes of Ethics
    • Guidelines
    • Relevant Codes of Ethics
    • Online Resources
    • Updates


Author's Bio Keely Kolmes, Psy.D.
Author's Bio Ofer Zur, Ph.D.


To order this Course now
Order Course now, click here




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