Course Content

Social Media Ethics (part 3): Top 3 Ethics Gurus You Should Be Following

Is there grey area here?Creative Commons License photo credit: Carol VanHook

Where do I go for trusted information on ethical use of social media for therapists? Here are the top 3 resources on the cutting edge of online ethics for mental health therapists that I find myself referencing time and time again. I have taken their online courses, read dozens of their articles, signed up for newsletters, and of course, I follow all of them on social media sites.

Here my top three recommendations, links to my favorite resources on each site, and their social media links so you can follow them:

1) The Online Therapy Institute (OTI)

The Online Therapy Institute, co-founded by DeAnna Marz Nagel, & Kate Anthony, is a premiere resource for all things digital. OTI and Keely Kolmes, Psy.D. created a comprehensive Ethical Framework for the Use of Social Media by Mental Health Professionals that is an invaluable resource. Also, watch Nagel and Anthony discuss common online scenarios therapists face online in this Ethics and Social Media video.

Twitter @TherapyOnline Facebook The Online Therapy Institute

2) Dr. Keely Kolmes

Dr. Keely Kolmes is on the forefront of social media ethics discussions and offers a variety of excellent articles on her website. As a sought after presenter at professional conferences Kolmes speaks on a the intersection of digital ethics and mental health care. Check her presentation schedule on her website to see if she's presenting at a nearby conference.

Twitter @DrKKolmes

3) Zur Institute

The Zur Institute, founded by Dr. Ofer Zur, offers dozens of continuing education courses for mental health professionals, including free resources on social media and ethics. I'm currently taking the online course Digital and Social Media Ethics for Therapists (for 8 CEUs) through the Zur Institute and I'm finding it to be very helpful in clarifying my social media ethical philosophy (much of the course content was written by Dr. Keely Kolmes).

Twitter @ZurInstitute Facebook Zur Institute

Where do you go for social media ethics discussions? Do you have any resources that you'd like to share with other clinicians? Please post them in the comments below.

What They Don't Teach You In Grad School

img7207If you're a graduate student in the mental health field planning on going into private practice, here are a few things that you won't learn during your program. Most of what I learned about psychotherapy and private practice came after I graduated. After 17 years of practice, here are a few things I wish I'd known earlier:

1) Clients don't care about your degree

I'm rarely asked what degree I hold or what school I attended. I've found that very few clients know the difference between an MSW, MFT, PhD, MFCC, PsyD or any other degree. What clients really want to know is that you're qualified to do therapy, and if you can help them.

2) You'll learn more from supervisors than coursework

Getting my MSW was a license to actually do what I wanted, but the most valuable learning came from my post-graduate school clinical supervisor. It's important to seek out an amazing supervisor and mentor to train you in how to actually do therapy and how to run a practice. Seek out a  private practice internship setting that closely resembles what you envision yourself doing in the future.

3) Keep all of your research papers and course syllabi

Even though you may want to purge yourself from anything related to graduate school, you may want to hang on to those papers. I just used a research paper from my MSW program as my writing sample for my PhD program. You can also re-purpose papers for future blog posts and articles to publish.

If you ever decide to go apply for a doctoral degree or an advanced training certificate down the road that requires transcript evaluation, you may be required to submit your course syllabi to provide details of the course content. Also, keep a copy of the official course description in the school catalog for the years you attended. When I applied for doctoral programs, some programs had difficulty determining what my classes were and required official course catalog descriptions.

4) Stay in touch with your supervisors and colleagues

I can't tell you how many times I've asked my former supervisor for letters of recommendation for various certifications and applications through the years. Keep connected with a select your professional relationships. They're not only good referral sources but to provide job references and professional recommendations.

5) Take business courses

A common sentiment among mental health private practitioners is "I wish I knew more about business." It is rare that mental health graduate programs offer business courses, so students interested in going into private practice need to seek out workshops and courses.

What did you learn after grad school? Do you have any advice for graduate students? Post your comment below.

Creative Commons License photo credit: Proctor Archives