This policy is made for the benefit of my clients, students and workshop participants, and aims to address the most likely eventualities that may arise by way of digital exposure, also with reference to maintaining privacy, boundaries and data protection.
This policy acknowledges the complex world of digital and social media and tries its best to address issues that may impact our therapeutic or working relationship. The guidelines are based on my own research, experiences and the choices I have made with regard to my own online activities and those associated with Flourish; this policy and position will be reviewed regularly but in the meantime, I ask all those who seek and attend my services to read through this policy so that you can be familiar with these positions.
Some of my working life outside of my practices, workshops and courses is in the public domain - blogs, video posts, newsletters and occasional public speaking. As part of this work, I maintain a social media presence. I hold my duty of care and confidentiality to my clients as the highest of priorities. I consider my media work to be related to, but completely separate from my healing work.
Online platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, MeWe and Instagram can sometimes enable me to reach people to whom I can communicate my services, workshops, courses, concepts and resources that I hope can be useful in their lives. Sometimes I engage in public conversations about these topics. With the ever changing remote working and social media landscapes, and with the massive increase in online resources and platforms, it has become necessary to review my social media presence and digital communications policy, and implement new procedures in relation to my practices.
Both I and Flourish are relatively new to social media platforms (the Flourish Facebook page was only created around 4 years ago, 12 years after FB began, the Instagram account is only a couple of years old and MeWe only a few months) and I use the platforms quite irregularly. Even so, over this time it has been useful to review its impact on both myself and my clients.
Social Media and Boundaries
Despite my online presence, I would prefer that our relationship remain as much as possible between us in consultations and the therapy room, therefore I will now not knowingly engage with clients over social media, with the exception of acknowledging comments the posts on the Flourish pages, which is addressed in point 3 below. Whether you follow my Flourish social media accounts or not is of course to your discretion.
I, like many others, maintain a private Facebook account for personal reasons. I aim to keep my personal Facebook as private as possible and I feel now that it would not be appropriate to be Facebook ‘friends’ with former or current clients.
The nature of an online presence can blur interpersonal and professional boundaries, and this has never been more apparent during the coronavirus situation and with the increased use of social media it is important for me to be as clear as possible about how boundaries may be compromised. It is important to keep therapeutic work in the consultation and therapy room as much as possible, including phone, Skype and Zoom sessions, which are also conducted from the privacy of the therapy room at my South Lanarkshire practice. The nature of the digital world can sometimes challenge these boundaries, so I offer the best clarity I can below.
In order to maintain confidential and therapeutic boundaries and provide clients with the best possible service and support, I do not accept friend requests or follow any clients from either my personal or business accounts. This is something that has previously happened and in reviewing, I have revoked this. I want to be really clear as to the reasons behind this - it is not personal and should not be seen as such. Many clients are happy to publicly recommend my services and be publicly associated with my therapy work, specifically bodywork therapies, courses and workshops but there are differences in attending for a massage and attending therapy to heal deep wounds. With the nature of much of my work, including recovery and healing, it is more important than ever to be clear about boundaries.
Every client should be free to share with me whatever they choose during our sessions. I encourage trust and transparency in our work together but clients choose what they wish to share and this is respected and supported. I do not wish clients to feel that they have to edit, alter, withhold or censor their expression outwith our sessions, including social media, because their therapist is following/has friended their account. With the intensive nature of my services, this could be potentially damaging to the client/therapist relationship and the healing process.
This does not prevent interaction with the Flourish accounts on social media. It is important to note however that I do not address or advise on any enquiries or questions through social media. For new enquiries and for existing clients to explore or discuss any issues or insights highlighted in sessions between appointment times, telephone and Zoom consultations are available to book. These are one to one private and confidential short consultations.
Email and Confidentiality
Any emails between us may be vulnerable to viruses or human error. If you choose to communicate with me by email, please be aware that all emails are retained in the logs of Internet Service Providers; this is outwith my control or influence. Emails can be vulnerable to viruses and unintended forwarding or replication.
For these reasons, it is best to consider what you wish to include in emails to me, and which email address you choose when sending communications to me. It is best to rely on email for non-confidential communications like setting up appointment times and similar.
In an effort to keep confidential and healing material within the boundaries of our one to one sessions together - including Skype, Zoom, phone and in-person consultations - it is best to avoid it in emails and will not address confidential aspects of your treatment/therapy in emails for these reasons. I will usually request your preferred email address from our first session, the initial assessment. Please arrange a phone or Zoom consultation if you wish to discuss anything confidential or anything pertaining to our sessions as these are intended for this.
Remote Support: Telephone, Skype and Zoom
I use both Skype and Zoom video conferencing systems, which are encrypted. If you have booked online or contacted me directly to arrange for us to work remotely together, there will be instructions in your booking confirmation on how to join and how this will work in our sessions together.
When working via video conferencing, it is on the implicit understanding that we both agree not to record the sessions. On booking a remote or online session, this is one of the agreements between us when you book any appointment, workshop or course It is also crucial that you are sure the environment from which you are conferencing with me is safe, secure and private. A link to an online document outlining the preparations for you at your end will be in the details of your booking confirmation email.
I check emails only at fixed times during the days I have dedicated to appointments - Wednesdays, Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays. Mondays and Tuesdays are dedicated to tarot readings, product development, research, testing and crafting, newsletters, blog posts, course and workshop development, website updates, social media planning and many of the other business aspects involved in running Flourish. As such, I may not be available to reply to emails, texts or messages during these days depending on availability. I also avoid checking them on non working days and weekends, and do not check them during holidays. I try to respond to all emails within 48 hours upon opening them. If I am away for an extended period, you will receive an automated email response.
I use an automated service for appointment reminders. These are sent 24 hours before your session as a gentle reminder of your appointment time. If you need to reschedule or change your appointment time after receiving this reminder, it will incur a fee. Please note that 48 hours notice of reschedule or cancellation is requested, and at least 24 hours notice of cancellation is required. This notification can be done by email, text, Signal (an alternative to WhatsApp offering a greater degree of privacy), phone and via chat message function on my website. Please do not notify of cancellation of appointments through social media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, MeWe etc) - full booking terms and conditions can be found here.
If you have booked online, payment is requested in advance of your appointment. This can be done securely through SumUp or PayPal. If you are booking directly through myself, the My preferred method of digital/online payment is by bank transfer however sometimes I issue invoices for payment by card or PayPal. I use an online software application to process these invoices, which are then sent out to your chosen email address. If you would prefer not to receive these invoices by email, please let me know and I can arrange an alternative method of payment.
Text messages and Signal
You may feel free to contact me by text message or Signal to alert me if you are running late for a session, wish to reschedule or for similar reasons but because of the lack of context of text messages, it is not the best method for communicating with me about more important matters to do with your sessions. If you wish to discuss any part of your treatment and therapy in detail, please book a 15 minute or 30 minute telephone or Zoom support session.
As a private practitioner I am unable to offer an emergency service, even by phone. Should you experience an emergency please contact the emergency services. If you feel that you experiencing a mental health emergency or have suicidal thoughts, please ring The Samaritans: 116 123.
Telephone and Skype
I run many aspects of my practice remotely, specifically for international clients and those who cannot attend in person and there may be times when we have a session by telephone or video conferencing, for example, if either one of us is abroad or unable to attend in person. Any such sessions will be discussed in advance and details given on how to attend these sessions.
It is crucial for the therapeutic process and for professional integrity that I avoid encountering information about you that does not come directly from you. This is essential to the ethos and values of Flourish. My work is intuitive - much of it clairvoyant - and any information other than what you wish to share with me conflicts greatly with this and can adversely affect my assessments, especially from a psychic assessment viewpoint. For this, and many other ethical reasons, I do not Google my clients. Some clients appear surprised that I know nothing about them on their first visit, other than what they have chosen to share with me during our initial phone/Zoom consultation, and this is perhaps an indication of just how prevalent it is to Google people now!
I am aware, however, that prospective clients will often Google therapists, and many of my clients find my services from their online searches for support as part of their process in choosing the right practitioner for them. I am glad that you are able to find me this way to assess if I am the right practitioner for you. If you are a prospective client considering my services and have any questions, I am very happy to address them with you. It is best to find out what we need to know from each other through direct contact - a 15 minute telephone consultation has been created specifically for this, which is available to book online.
For more information on Data Protection, please visit Terms and Conditions
Practitioner, Horticulturist and Owner of Flourish
Copyright Flourish 2021