Mental Health Care

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.

Why I 'Broke Up' With Managed Care (Part 2)

Several months ago I wrote a post titled, "Why I Broke Up With Managed Care" that stirred up some passionate discussion! While I understand that it's not the route for every private practitioner, I have continued to build a private practice free of managed care and recently hired my 12th therapist.

While we don't bill insurance directly, we do give a superbill to clients so they can seek reimbursement from their health insurance so they can still use their benefits. As I've continued to write this blog, I've come across several therapists who have also "broke up" with managed care and asked them why they decided to build a fee-for-service therapy practice. Here's what they had to say:

Increased Reimbursement Rate

I've been in private practice for over 15 years. So, I experienced the first major transition of health care to "managed" care. I had friends and colleagues who began working in the managed care industry, and it quickly became clear to me that despite all the rhetoric about the necessity for evidenced-based care (which can be a very useful model of care), managed mental health care was really about making corporate the work of individual psychotherapists.

I also did the math. The last time I checked, insurance reimbursement was the average rate charged by psychotherapists in the 1980s. Today, I can afford to have two additional office hours available for new clients, by taking just one fee-for-service patient. This also allows me more discretion in seeing clients who are needing a low fee. Will Courtenay, PhD, LCSW "The Men's Doc"

Control Over Therapeutic Work

I wanted the freedom to determine, along with parents, the course and length of treatment and felt managed care would impede on that. Pam Dyson, LPC, RPT

My training is in social work, which is the source of the old adage "start where the client is at." That's my barometer for treatment, not where an insurance company believes my client and I should start or end our work. Will Courtenay, PhD, LCSW "The Men's Doc"

Increased Client Commitment to Therapeutic Process

Being a Christian counselor, by law I cannot bill insurance, even if I could I think private pay gives each person responsibility in the therapeutic efforts. When people  have to pay it makes them take their  therapy more seriously. Natalie Davis

No Diagnosis Required

My services are specialized in that I will work with children as young as three, something many therapists in my area will not do. The problems child clients present with are often not clinical but rooted in the parent-child relationship. I feel strongly that young children do not need a diagnosis on their permanent health record. Pam Dyson, LPC, RPT

More Time With Clients (Less Time Doing Paperwork)

I had worked in a managed care setting in the past, and I decided that in my practice that I want to avoid the incredible amount of paperwork, defending sessions, and over-diagnosing.  I also think it provides clients with more privacy. Sara Levitsky, LMSW, Birmingham Counseling For Women

Paperwork was the other major decision (in building a fee-for-service practice). I put a great deal of time and energy into my work with clients outside of our scheduled hours, including receiving professional consultation on a consistent basis. I have no time or patience for administrative busywork. Will Courtenay, PhD, LCSW "The Men's Doc"

More Flexibility To Offer Reduced Fees

Like Dr. Courtenay mentioned earlier in this article, when his practice is doing well financially, he has more (not less) time to devote to seeing clients at a reduced fee. I have found the same to be true. As my practice grows I am able to offer more free community workshops and do more pro bono work.

Do you run a fee-for-service mental health therapy practice? What led to your decision?