Senta Sharp Counselling - Digital Policy
I maintain an online presence through the website, social media, email and other online mechanisms, and therefore I am visible in search engines. You may have a number of accounts on the web and be visible as well.
In keeping with industry ethical standards, I follow the Psychotherapy and Counselling Federation of Australia Ethical Conduct Guidelines. This includes carefully maintaining therapeutic boundaries, security, privacy and confidentiality for our clients. The following sections describe practice policies on engaging with or about clients online.
Once contact has initially been made through the website contact page, phone or email, all information that is to be transmitted from Senta Sharp Counselling will be contained in emails and delivered through an encrypted email provider.
If you are engaging in online therapy via email, your scheduled sessions will be conducted only via Protonmail; a preferred mail system that provides end-to-end encryption zero access for inbox, contacts and all messages and attached data files (except for subject line), with secure server hosting in Switzerland. Senta Sharp Counselling recommends for complete privacy and security that you use this service if you are engaging in email therapy sessions with the Practice.
Test messages may be used to confirm appointment times, notifications of changes, such as a delay in being able to attend an appointment on time, or a cancellation and reschedule.
Messages are best to be kept short using this medium, so for all matters that require thought, consideration, negotiation, lengthy discussion, or on issues of importance that require privacy, please call or email, and we will schedule a discussion if we are unable to connect at that time.
Use of webcam/video links
Zoom is the primary tool/app used to host therapeutic sessions securely via webcam/video. Individual sessions are given a unique meeting ID which means that they are private and can only be accessed by those invited to the meeting. The invitation will be sent by email. The host (counselling practitioner) will need to give permission for anyone who is to join the meeting. This ensures no-one else can see or hear a session by some other device.
Social media and search engines
It is possible that you may come across a link or automatically-generated invitation to connect via a social media platform, where we are common members. There is also a possibility that we may accidentally cross paths.
The relationship between a counsellor and client is very unique and special, and sits in a space that is different from a social friendship. When we engage in a professional counselling relationship, we will agree to specific boundaries for engagement.
As a professional counsellor, I will therefore not make requests, nor accept requests, to connect personally and directly with any client on social networking sites, including Facebook, Instagram, or LinkedIn. If needed, we can discuss these issues further.
Search engines (Google and others)
It is the policy of Senta Sharp Counselling that the internet will not be used to search for any client before meeting them, nor will the internet be used to elicit any information about clients or their associations or activities while or after they have engaged with this Practice unless it is with the express permission of the client and also appropriate.
Clients and potential clients may use search engines to find a therapist, and have therefore accessed information about individual practitioners and the Practice. If you have questions as a result of these searches, please ask the Practice.