PSYCHOLOGY COMMUNICATIONS POLICY
THE NEIGHBOURHOOD CLINIC
This page is about how our psychologists communicate with clients. Please read it to understand how mental health professionals work and what patients can expect.
Communicating outside of sessions, especially via easy-to-reach technology, can blur the boundaries of therapy and stop the effect of you dedicating one hour per week to really working on the hard stuff. I don't do e-therapy or phone therapy and prefer all phone contact about appointment making to be via the Clinic's reception desk. Your sessions are an open space for you to discuss anything you wish and you should use them that way.
I always recommend that you trial a few telephone support services and find which one 'fits' for you, so that you can make use of it in a crisis. A couple of good options are Lifeline on 13 11 14 or their after-hours chat room www.lifeline.org.au/get-help/online-services/crisis-chat.If you feel you need additional support outside of therapy sessions, there are a few great support groups around. Black Dog Institute has a list of Victoria ones at: https://www.blackdoginstitute.org.au/getting-help/clinics-support-groups/other-support-groups
Occasionally there may be a reason you need to provide some document or information via email. This can be done via the Clinic. Call the clinic on 9043 6568 and explain that you need to email something to me, and they will give you an appropriate address and let me know it's on the way. Be aware that all emails are retained in the logs of your Internet service provider. These logs are in theory available to be read by their system administrator. You should also know that any emails received from you and any responses to you become a part of your legal record.
Social Media Communications
Adding clients as contacts on any social media sites can compromise the confidentiality of the client and so it is not an approved practise under the Australian Psychological Society Code of Conduct. I do not have any administrator control over the Neighbourhood Clinic website. The APS Code of Conduct prohibits psychologists from soliciting testimonials from clients and therefore we ask that clients do not comment on our work online.
Some psychologists might live locally to their place of practice. Due to professional ethics psychologists do not connect personally with clients outside of their professional work roles. Were you and your psychologist to encounter each other in the community (e.g school, or event) your psychologist will respect your privacy and not approach you or discuss your personal information in public, but will be polite and respectful, interacting in a manner that is appropriate to the setting.
Online Information in Therapy
I do recommend use of online Apps, such as those that allows you to record your emotions and thoughts during the day. I will not monitor this usage online. You will be expected to bring any useful reporting from these Apps to your session to share. The material in them remains your own, and it is your decision as to what information you wish to share with me. It is preferable that you ask your therapist first before showing any material that might be offensive, such as explicit material. It may be that you can simply describe this material rather than showing it to your therapist.