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How Exposed Are You?

What Clients Can Easily Find Out Online About Their Therapists


Clinical Update
By Zur Institute

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A Free Article on the Topic The Google Factor

Modern digital technologies have raised many complex clinical, ethical and legal issues for psychotherapists. One of the more potent questions is whether it is OK for therapists to Google their clients and, if so, should they seek consent?

  • Therapists must expect modern clients to Google them and should neither feel offended nor intruded by it
  • Clients can discover a lot about their therapists even if their therapists do not have their own websites or Facebook profiles
  • Therapists should realize that an online search is a legitimate and reasonable way for modern day consumers of mental health services to screen, compare and locate a good therapist


With the click of a mouse, clients can conduct a Google search and find a slew of information about you:
  • Home address and phone numbers
  • Professional activities and memberships in professional organizations
  • Volunteer activities and community involvement
  • Licensing Board's sanctions
  • Political affiliation and political petitions signed
  • Evaluations by clients (i.e.,
  • Critique by colleagues
  • Criminal background
  • Lawsuits and other legal matters
  • . . . And much more
Find out immediately what your clients can learn about you by:
  • Conducting a simple Google search: Enter your name in different combinations, such as "Dr. Golder" "Golder, Ph.D.", etc.
  • Conduct such researches regularly
Consider the Following:

  • Clients' online searches can range from simple and curious to intrusive and illegal.
  • Assume that what you write on public blogs (original posts and comments on other people's blogs), public social networking sites, listserves, online bulletin boards and chat rooms can be read by clients.
  • If you want to keep a blog or a social networking profile for friends and family, be smart about your privacy settings. If you are not sure how to do this, ask a nearby digital native.
  • Be careful in discussing case studies online, and make sure that you either get permission from the client to discuss it, or assure that you 'de-identify' your clients' identifying information.
  • Be aware that your clients may read your online case presentations or what you have posted as advice to other therapists
  • While it is not easy, there are several ways one can try to remove negative or misleading information about one's practice online.
  • More free articles & Videos on Digital Issues & Digital Ethics


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