social media for therapists

Pause Before Posting About Work On Social Media Pages (part 2)

Guest post by Kimberly Sandstrom, MFTI

We all have days where we need to let out a little steam about a difficult day at work. Social media is not the place to do it.

In the first post on this topic, my goal was to bring awareness to our community about the hazards of posting personally about clients. Although our clients may not see our personal posts (see Julie Hanks Digital Dual Relationship Dilemmas), our own personal communities will, and our reputation is built on that community.

While my personal profiles are private, my extended friendship community and family I am connected with on these sites, trust me and my ability to keep things confidential for their referrals What I portray on my personal and professional sites will reflect the reputation I have as a therapist.

Does this mean we cannot post anything at all about the work we do on our personal accounts? Certainly not! My heart is for fostering a safe environment for consumers so they will feel comfortable sharing with us in the intimate space of our offices, and assurance that their stories will be kept contained within the walls of our office. Here are some tips to protecting not only yourself but our therapeutic community at large when posting about your therapeutic work.

Think before you post

Ask yourself these questions: If my client saw this, would they like what I posted about them? Is this fostering a positive message about my therapeutic community? What are my motives for posting this (i.e., vent frustration, draw others to me through humor, etc.)? Am I venting my frustration in a way that protects my client and my reputation? Would it be better if I shared this with another colleague privately?

Keep your posts about work general and positive

After a recent couples intensive weekend, my co-facilitator and I were so blessed to see the positive transformation in the couples that attended our workshop. It inspired us. I posted on my personal Facebook profile, “So blessed to watch couples transform their relationships over this weekend at the couples retreat. I love my job!”  Nothing specific about what conversations took place. If one of the participants to read this, it would most likely reflect their own positive experience of the weekend. Occasionally, I have asked for permission from clients to share their inspiring story or something they have written (poem, inspiring reflection) in a blog or to post on my professional social media sites, and again, I keep the information general and positive. And I make sure it is in a place they can see this posted (even though I do not accept former or current clients on these sites—they are open to the public to view).

Develop safe relationships with like-minded colleagues in your own community

We all have funny and frustrating stories from work—no matter what profession we are in. Developing relationships with other therapists in your community can provide you with a group that follows the same values of confidentiality that you do. You can vent your day to them, share funny stories (without giving identifying information about your clients, of course!), and explore your own triggers and countertransference in confidence, instead of publicly.

Have grace with fellow clinicians who may violate this gray area

If you feel inclined, send them a private message with your concerns about their post. If it is done with a spirit of helpfulness, gentleness, and affirms their good intention, they will most likely be grateful.  If, after reading this, you realize that you may have posted something about a client that qualifies as negative or comical, have mercy on yourself! We are human, fallible and worthy of lots of grace in the uncharted territory of social media etiquette!

Kimberly Sandstrom is a Marriage & Family Therapist Intern and Relationship Educator, Supervised by Kathryn de Bruin, LMFT, working in private practice in San Diego, CA. Married for 24 years, she and her husband are raising three daughters, two of whom are now adults.  She works with couples, and families to create emotionally safe and enduring connections in their most cherished relationships.

social media image (c) CanStockPhoto

Pin A Quote: My New Social Media Marketing 'Crush'

Pin A Quote is a quick and fun way to create a graphic out of your favorite quotes. It allows you to highlight any text and with the click of a button, turn it into a shareable graphic that is automatically links to the site where you found the text. Though it's designed to interface with Pinterest, you don't have to have a Pinterest account to use Pin A Quote.

Once you've selected the quote and created your graphic, Pin A Quote creates a custom URL for that specific quote that you can share on Facebook, Twitter, or other social media sites, and of course, Pinterest.

Here's a screenshot of what I'm talking about. I use Pin A Quote Pro because you can customize the fonts and colors for $1.99. Notice the link at the bottom is the page on my website. When people click on the graphic they'll be directed to that web page.


You may be wondering how this is relevant to your private practice. Good question. Important elements of marketing your private practice are:

  1. Building a professional online presence
  2. Presenting yourself as an expert in your specialty area
  3. Attracting an online following that views you as a valuable resource
  4. Creating links that direct more visitors to your website

Pin A Quote can help you accomplish all of these goals.

How To Use Pin A Quote

Here's a brief tutorial published by Pin A Quote on how to use the tool.

Using Pin A Quote To Build Your Practice

1) Share other's inspirational or helpful quotes

If you find an article that would be helpful to your followers, you can create a graphic and direct people to the article. Another idea is to quote your favorite psychology gurus and use it as an additional graphic in a blog post. Here's one of my favorites:

2) Quote yourself as an expert

Take a sentence from a professional presentation or blog post that you've presented and create a graphic of your own quotes. This helps build your identity as an expert and lets others share your wisdom.

3) Engage followers by sharing quotes on social media

Look back at the graphic at the top of this post. See the share buttons on the bottom? You can share quotes on Facebook, Twitter, StumbleUpon, etc. Here's an example of my Private Practice Toolbox board on Pinterest. You'll see that I've pinned many quotes using Pin A Quote.

Try it out and let me know what you think. Feel free to post links to quote graphics you create in the comments below.

Therapist Media Cheat Sheet: Get More Clients By Maximizing TV Interviews

While TV interviews and appearances rarely lead to an immediate increase in new clients, they do raise awareness of your private practice and your specialty areas, expose thousands of people to your practice, and set you up as a credible expert in your field. Marketing experts say that it generally takes 7 exposures to your business brand before a client will actually try your products or services. In recent posts I share how to get TV interviews and how to present your best self during interviews. Here are some tips for getting the most mileage out of interviews to build your credibility and increase referrals to your practice.

1) Be explicit about how you'd like to be introduced

Reporters aren't worried about your branding, they're concerned about their story. It is your responsibility to protect your practice name and brand by being explicit about how the interviewer should refer to you on camera. After having a few interviews where they say my practice name incorrectly, or didn't mention it at all, I've learned to clearly spell out how I want to be introduced. In email correspondence with media contact I request something like this:

Please refer to me on camera as "Therapist Julie Hanks LCSW, Director of Wasatch Family." I also request a lower-third banner (the text box graphic that pops up at the bottom of the screen during interviews) with my name, credential, practice name, and website during the interview. Here's what I ask for: "Julie Hanks LCSW, Director of Wasatch Family Therapy,".

2) Request a link to your website

Always request that the interviewer mention your website address during the interview and shows your website address on  a lower-third banner. You want to make it as easy as possible for potential clients to find your practice website, and ultimately, set an appointment. Additionally, if the TV station posts a web article or video online request that they post a link to your website. Having large websites link to your website improves your visibility Google searches.

3) Capture the video to post on your website

I suggest keeping an archive of all TV interviews so you can use them on your own practice website. Many TV stations post the interviews online and allow you to imbed them on your own website without uploading and converting the video. If the interview is not available online, you can request a DVD copy of the segment from the TV station.

4) Post on social media

Social media video sites, like YouTube, allow TV interviews to reach beyond the live TV viewership. I upload every TV interview to my YouTube channel and set up feeds to my websites and social media profiles and pages. The Men's Doc Will Courtenay, PhD, LCSW says that many clients have viewed his interview clips online before actually meeting with him:

Now that we can post TV interviews on websites and YouTube, they're really a great opportunity for marketing. And it's really the best kind of marketing, because the television show or news station has identified you as an expert. Today, many people search for and Google psychotherapists to see what they can find out about them before they meet with them.

Psychotherapist Terrence Alspaugh, LCPC says that YouTube videos give potential clients a feel for his style and expertise giving them the confidence to set an appointment.

I had the interview posted on YouTube with a link from my website, and that exposure has helped to attract new clients. Several prospective clients told me that they watched the YouTube clip first, and as they were favorably impressed, they contacted me about couples counseling. The interview has been watched by over 400 people, so it serves as a way for prospective clients to see me in action before meeting me.

Private practice therapist with YouTube channels

Enjoy watching these private practice therapists videos on their YouTube channels.

Dr. Will Courtenay

Eileen Kennedy Moore, PhD

Shift You Life Now Tracy Latz, M.D., M.S.

Julie de Azevedo Hanks LCSW


Why Social Media Matters to Therapists #soudessasYou're in the mental health field because you want to make a difference and make a living, right? Technology and new media now allow therapists to educate and interact with worldwide audience and to talk directly to ideal clients...for free. Take a look at these recent statistics from the top social media sites:

  1. There are 750 million active users (
  2. 200 million Tweets go out daily on Twitter (
  3. Over 400 billion YouTube videos videos are viewed each day (

Of the 750 million Facebook users, half log into the site daily. This is great news for therapists in private practice because you now have access to thousands of your ideal clients. Can they find you? Do you have a Facebook "Page" for your therapy practice? (I'll be posting soon about the difference between a Facebook profile and a page). It's a great way to share resources, articles, and provide information about your practice and the issues that matter to you and your clients.

How about Twitter or YouTube? Can your ideal clients find you there? Are you tweeting about your specialty areas or your services? Do you have a video introducing yourself and your practice on YouTube? Think about it. Your potential clients are on the internet looking for mental health information and services. If you're feeling overwhelmed by these suggestions, never fear! I'll be walking you through effective and efficient ways to use social media sites to build your practice as the weeks go on. Keep in mind that social media sites are additional forums for building referral sources and networking, a place to talk with people.

So, why are so many therapists reluctant to embrace social media? Fears regarding breaches of confidentiality and the potential dual relationships are common concerns, however, there are ways to set up social media accounts so you're not mixing personal and professional information and relationships. In upcoming posts I'll suggest ways to utilize social media in an ethical way that helps you do a better job at educating on topics you're passionate about and using it in a way that builds your private practice.

Do you have questions, concerns, or fears about using social media to build your therapy practice? I'd love to discuss them so please post comments below.

Creative Commons License photo credit: :: nany mata.