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Saturday, September 20, 2014

When Mental Health Professionals are on Facebook

By Steven Petrow
The Washington Post
Originally posted on August 25, 2014

For the past two weeks, whenever I’ve scrolled through my Facebook newsfeed I’ve come to the section “People You May Know.” The suggestions offered have included relatives, co-workers, some people I don’t even like in “real” life — and my current psychologist. “OMG!” I’ve winced repeatedly at the profile photo of my shrink, who for the sake of his privacy I’ll just call Dr. E.

Still, being the curious sort, I clicked to view his page, which isn’t very well protected from eyes like mine. For starters, there are 12 photos of him available for all the world to enjoy, several of them shirtless and one that had a “friend” of his posting “Woof!” underneath it. I also discovered pictures of Dr. E from high school with two nice-looking young ladies. Although I’ve known he was gay, I started to wonder: Was he bisexual then? When did he come out? I found myself thinking much more about his personal life than any patient should.

Among Dr. E’s Facebook friends was another psychologist, one who seemed to deploy no privacy safeguards whatsoever. Any patient clicking on his Facebook page could see tons of photos, including those of his wedding and honeymoon, and even his attendance at a celebration of “Bush 43’s” last night in office. (That makes it a good bet he’s a Dem, which might be TMI for a GOP patient.)

The entire article is here.