📣 You can be a therapist and a person online
Welcome to the three new subscribers who have joined since the last issue. 213 therapists are reading today’s newsletter. If you’re reading this but haven’t subscribed, subscribe here.
I’ve been seeing a lot of talk on Twitter lately about what constitutes “professional” or “ethical” therapist behavior, including drinking water and wearing sweatpants on virtual sessions.
Here’s the thing. From a marketing perspective, the idea you should stay “professional” online and not disclose anything about your personal life is not just antiquated—it’s oppressive.
According to Whitney Goodman, LMFT in an Instagram post, “'Unprofessional' and 'unethical' are often just used in place of other more sexist, racist, classist types of comments. It’s a polite way to say, 'you’re not behaving how I want you to.'"
You can and should be yourself on social media as long as you’re a) not breaching client confidentiality and b) within the limitations of your licensing board’s code of ethics.
Therapist twitter, you’re allowed to be a therapist and a real person on here.— Michael Fulwiler (@MichaelFulwiler) February 8, 2021
Should you share personal stories from client sessions? No.
Should you post photos from your weekend binge drinking in Vegas? Probably not.
Do you need separate personal and professional social media accounts? Not necessarily, but if you want to keep them separate (and even have an anonymous personal account) that’s fine, too.
If you want to curse online (or in session), then go for it. Some clients may not like it, and that’s okay. They may not be a good fit anyway.
A good rule of thumb is to assume everything you post online will be read by previous, current, and potential clients, so don't share anything that would be compromising to them or yourself.
Bottom line: Be your authentic self online while adhering to ethical standards. This will increase your chances of becoming a lighthouse and attracting your ideal clients to you.
If you’re ever in doubt, contact your licensing board for clarification. It’s better to be safe than sorry.
Until next week,