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Maintaining Professional Boundaries in a Facebook World

Maintaining Professional Boundaries in a Facebook World

Like millions of Americans, I've joined Facebook. I really enjoy it because it conveniently lets me stay in touch with my friends.

I don't tell my patients that I have a Facebook profile, but many patients tell me about their Facebook activities during therapy. How should I respond if a patient to "friend" me? As a psychiatrist, I try to preserve my anonymity from patients. What's the best response to such a scenario without disrupting our therapeutic alliance. Can I still continue to enjoy social networking while still maintaining my professional boundaries?

This vignette is based on an essay published in Psychiatric Times called "Ethical Challenges faced by Psychiatrists in the Internet Age." It was written by psychiatry resident Gonzalo Perez-Garcia, who noted: "We are now faced with a wealth of tempting electronic venues to share our lives. The problem is that by putting personal information for friends on the internet, we also share our personal information with the world.

We'd like to thank Dr Perez-Garcia for raising these questions, and we invite other listeners to submit their ethical questions and dilemmas to Dr Geppert. The email address is www.ptedit.com.

Maintaining professional boundaries in the Facebook world

Maintaining professional boundaries in the Facebook world

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