Social media boundaries with clients – what if they “friend request” you? Can I accept?

Answer provided by contributing expert, Brandon Haydon, LCSW.

The proliferation of social media and telecommunications is a growing point of interest and a challenge for the social work profession to navigate in terms of boundaries. This is especially important as they can be offered to folks who have barriers to accessing care in more traditional in-person ways. In general, the concern is “who is this for?” and “What is the purpose of this connection via social media?”

Think about protecting client privacy, confidentiality, and boundaries.

Social workers are charged with protecting client privacy and confidentiality, minimizing conflicts of interest, maintaining healthy boundaries, and preserving the core material of social work practice – the face-to-face present human relationship, for which, at least for now, there is no true substitute. We can feel close to and care for our clients, with warmth and trust and goodwill but the relationship is still professional. Plus, ask yourself, is it appropriate and clinically beneficial for you to see everything your clients post? How about vice-versa?

Answer provided by contributing expert, Brandon Haydon, LCSW:

Brandon Haydon, LCSW is an expert contributor to MSWcareers.com and currently works at the LifeWorks Psychotherapy Center in Chicago. Lifeworks is an explicitly inclusive practice welcoming clients of all ages, ethnicities, races, spiritual practices and religious traditions, genders and sexualities.