Securing Sexuality is the podcast and conference promoting sex positive, science based, and secure interpersonal relationships. We give people tips for safer sex in a digital age. We help sextech innovators and toy designers produce safer products. And we educate mental health and medical professionals on these topics so they can better advise their clients. Securing Sexuality provides sex therapists with continuing education (CEs) for AASECT, SSTAR, and SASH around cyber sexuality and social media, and more.
Links from this week’s episode:
Protecting Personal Information in the Digital Age: Strategies for Mental Health Professionals
In today's digital age, the boundaries between our personal and professional lives have become increasingly blurred. This is particularly evident in the therapy field, where the intersection of intimacy and information security, especially in the telehealth era, poses significant challenges for therapists and clients. As therapists embrace technology to enhance their practice and connect with clients, it is crucial to prioritize protecting sensitive information and maintaining confidentiality.
The Evolving Landscape of Therapy:
Traditionally, therapy has taken place within the confines of a therapist's office, where conversations are held in a private and confidential setting. However, technology has revolutionized therapy, enabling therapists to connect with clients remotely through video conferencing or text-based platforms. While this has opened up new possibilities for accessibility and convenience, it has also introduced a host of privacy concerns that therapists must address.
The Importance of Information Security:
Confidentiality is the cornerstone of therapy, as clients need to feel safe and secure in sharing their most intimate thoughts and experiences. In the digital age, protecting this confidentiality becomes paramount, as the ease of sharing information online can inadvertently expose sensitive client data to unauthorized individuals. Therapists must proactively implement robust information security measures to prevent data breaches and ensure client information remains confidential.
Understanding the Risks:
Therapists must be aware of the potential risks associated with digital communication and the storage of client information. Hackers, identity thieves, and malicious actors are constantly seeking vulnerabilities in digital systems, making it imperative for therapists to stay updated with the latest security practices. Additionally, the use of personal devices or unsecured networks can further compromise the privacy of client information. By understanding these risks, therapists can take the necessary precautions to safeguard their clients' data.
Best Practices for Protecting Client Information:
Apart from the technical aspects of information security, therapists must also navigate ethical considerations regarding digital intimacy. Boundaries must be established and maintained to prevent the blurring of professional and personal lines. Therapists should be mindful of their online presence and avoid personal interactions with clients on social media platforms. Furthermore, therapists should obtain informed consent from clients regarding the use of technology in therapy and clearly communicate the limitations and risks involved.
The digital age has presented therapists and clients with exciting opportunities for connection and growth. However, it also brings forth new challenges that must be addressed to protect the confidentiality and privacy of therapy sessions. By prioritizing information security, staying informed about best practices, and maintaining ethical boundaries, therapists can effectively navigate the intersection of intimacy and information security in the digital age. Ultimately, the goal is to create a safe and secure space for clients to explore their innermost thoughts and emotions while fostering a trusting therapeutic relationship.
Stefani Goerlich: Hello and welcome to securing sexuality, the podcast where we discuss the intersection of intimacy-
Wolf Goerlich: -and information security. I'm Wolf Goerlich.
Stef: He's a hacker, and I'm Stefani Goerlich.
Wolf: She's a sex therapist. And together, we're going to discuss what safe sex looks like in a digital age. Today we're looking at protecting yourself as a therapist, right? Protecting yourself as a therapist who has trans clients or protecting yourself as a trans therapist. There's been some things going down.
Stef: Yeah, I mean, I know that the issues around gender identity and gender-affirming care have been in the news a lot recently. But the stuff we're talking about today isn't just limited to those populations either. This is content, and these are tips that are really relevant for anybody that works in a field where you're working with marginalized populations or where the work you do is perhaps considered a bit more controversial that can vary from state to state, right? What's controversial and shocking in Alabama probably isn't in California and vice versa. But we cannot change the fact that no matter who you are or where you're practicing, for a lot of therapists, it really feels like the world that we are practicing in has changed. We are getting more and more questions from people in my world about how to do the basic things that let us simply do our jobs and, you know, help our clients. It's been a really interesting and rather terrifying shift to see and I know that that's a conversation that you've been having more and more as people become aware of this podcast, as we attend conferences, as you get invited to events all of a sudden therapists all around the country are reaching out to you and asking for help in keeping themselves safe.
Wolf: Yeah, this is very true. And I spent I wanna say, a month, maybe six weeks reaching out to other therapists, reaching out to educators, reaching out to people in my world, in computer security, reaching out to activists in the trans community having some conversations around what's going on and what can people do. And there are a lot of folks who are looking for ways to keep themselves safe as they go about doing their work.
Stef: So we are all of 23 minutes in, and we're already talking about the importance of safety. So let me ask for those who might not be in the US right now or who might not work with some of these more targeted populations. What are we talking about? What are the risks that people are bringing to you these days?
Wolf: Yeah, there is a lot of pressure against folks who are providing care to trans people. And what tends to come to mind is Project Veritas, right? So Project Veritas made its name around the abortion discussion and has now waded into the trans issues. They are a form of gotcha journalism. They pretend to be someone else so they can record folks and get things on the record. And then they release media which, in their minds, hopefully, steers the conversation. And earlier this year, around April, there was a push by them to expose information on puberty blockers and everything else. And they had talked to social workers at hospitals and Children's medical centers. So that tends to be where a lot of folks start. That's where I started. But in having the conversations, what was interesting was what was coming up much more often – I'd say maybe three out of four times, what was coming up much more often was the risks around the Internet mob. Right? What some are calling stochastic terrorism. I'm not sure how to spell that off the top of my head. But that's what some are calling it where you've got these accounts like Libs of tiktok, like gays against groomers, like people who own major social media sites who pick up ideas, broadcast it, take things out of context, and try to whip up a mob. And sometimes that ends up in dark corners of the Internet. Sometimes that ends up having a physical component through groups like proud boys. Sometimes it doesn't go anywhere. Thankfully, the risk that kept coming up when I was having these conversations, again and again, is what happens when this mob turns its attention onto you.
Stef: Yeah, and that idea of stochastic terror is something that went from a term nobody had ever heard to be like, “Oh yeah, of course. That's what's happening right now,” and for those that aren't familiar with that term. Stochastic terror is the public demonization of a person or a group of people with the result that violence is incited against them. And the trick to stochastic terrorism is that the person engaging in this messaging isn't calling for violence. So they are not saying people should rise up and go hurt this other person over there. They are simply pointing out how horrible, and terrible, and awful that person is over there with the understanding that people who are opposed to horrible, terrible, awful things will take action as necessary. So it is insidious and has become increasingly pervasive on social media. You had mentioned Project Veritas, and I honestly don't even want to give them the dignity of calling them journalists because journalists theoretically are approaching things from a position of neutrality and from, you know, like the inquiry of learning and reporting on a subject and Project Veritas is really one of the original sort of groups that did this because they start with this idea that people are doing something that is immoral, according to them, whether that is voting rights or abortion access or LGBT inclusion or any number of things. And then they create these trap scenarios to prove that point and broadcast that message to people who then will take action to oppose these behaviors, whether those behaviors again or voting rights or abortion access or gender-affirming care. So it is a really insidious and really, unfortunately, growing common topic and issue on social media, especially since so many of us are getting our primary news and information from social media these days. And a lot of therapists, myself included, are worried about it, because once somebody sort of puts out this idea or this message about who you are and what you're doing and why, it is almost impossible to put the genie back in the social media bottle. And the online sort of brigading or trolling has become heavily weaponized. And I think that we're seeing that more and more not just from quote-unquote “activist groups” but even from elected officials and people that historically would have been perhaps some more temperate in their speech. So let me ask you this. How do we as clinicians who aren't necessarily Google searching everybody that comes to our website or who sends us a new client inquiry? How can we prevent this? How can we manage the inquiries that we get every day to kind of weed out the people who are genuinely seeking mental health care in whatever form that takes from the people who might be trying to figure out if we are doing something that they personally would prefer that we not do. I feel like, that's a very strange thing to say, but I have received messages from people who just get this sort of vicarious delight from being cruel online. How do we recognize the good-faith clients from the bad-faith actors? Wolf?
Wolf: Well, I think what you just said is really the answer to that. When people are signing up on your forms, when they're reaching out to you, and they're using the contact me form when they're doing these sort of things. Generally, if they are abusive, they're going to be very clear that they're abusive upfront and you're gonna know it well in advance. But it's a safety method and a mechanism to be able to know upfront that these people are trying to do something they shouldn't. I think part of it is, and I'm gonna come back to this idea a few different times as we talk. But when you think about security, there are two main things we're trying to do. We're trying to add space and we're trying to add time by space. I mean, we want enough distance from you and someone who's potentially an adversary so that you have time to move, to react, to do something. And by time, it's giving you the time to react, to plan, to respond, making sure it takes a significant amount of time for them to reach you directly. And, of course, those two things go hand-in-hand, and we're adding space and we're adding time to do harm reduction. The number one thing in cybersecurity, in this discussion or pretty much any discussion, is that there's no perfectly safe way to make this. You need to reach out to your clients and the more friction you add, the fewer clients who need you, who need help, who are concerned, who are already. And on their side, I would imagine apprehensive to reach out to someone they don't know about what's on their mind. The more friction you inject into it, the less likely they are to get to care. I think it begins with having those screening forms and really just trusting your instincts. This person is not coming across in a way that I can help them. This person might not be acting in good faith.
Stef: I mean, in some ways, that is a part of the work of any mental health provider. We have to be able to know whether or not we are able to help a client. But a lot of people work in agencies where they don't have that luxury. If somebody's working in a community mental health setting, or in a hospital setting, or in a clinic setting, they don't get to choose their clients, so they have an obligation to their employer to take whoever is assigned to them, and they don't necessarily get to say, “my spidey senses are tingling. Let me offer you a couple of referrals instead.” Clinicians, at our core, no matter what our degrees are or who we work with, have an ethical obligation to be available to the people that seek us. And you're right. There have been times when I have referred somebody out because of the nature of my work. And maybe you know something they say in our intake conversation or in that sort of initial inquiry that doesn't feel right to me. But that's not something ethically that I can do all the time. And there are lots of my professional colleagues who don't have that option really at all, depending upon the setting that they work in. So what steps can providers take to minimize their exposure from the outset to perhaps as much as we can prevent these situations from arising at all?
Wolf: In these scenarios that you mentioned? It's A: empowering the therapist to trust their sense and B: moving that screening process, moving that front door out a little bit. So there's more space so that we have more time and have people trained on what sounds right and what doesn't. Processing the inquiries and handling that first step. So you're right. I mean, in larger organizations and computing mental health and whatnot that is going to fall on the organizations to really beef up their inquiry process.
Stef: One of the things that I think was a little bit frustrating for both of us over the last couple of weeks, as you were preparing for these conversations, was it seemed like every suggestion that your contacts or your resource people in in the information security world would have, you would come back to me and I would say, Well, yeah, we can't legally do that. We're not allowed to do that as mental health providers. And it became – maybe just for me – but I feel like it was reciprocal, a frustration point that every idea that other people could implement to protect themselves, I kept having to shoot down and say no for one reason or another, for this insurance requirement, or for that license or requirement. That's just not an option for clinicians. And at the same time that made me feel incredibly frustrated because it really revealed how exposed mental health providers in America are regardless of who we're working with. It was a very uncomfortable sort of series of conversations we've had over the last few weeks.
Wolf: It was, and I agree. You know, I think there needs to be a greater degree of advocacy, on behalf of clinicians and frontline therapists with their agencies and with their licensing boards, with their state oversight, with the center for Medicaid and Medicare. The folks who are doing the NPI number, there needs to be a greater degree of emphasis on educating these groups about how these risks have changed. But I also think telehealth practices have made it easier because, back to time and space, at least you're not necessarily in the room with the person. You're not necessarily in a situation where they're right there with you. You got a bit of distance again to provide a greater degree of harm reduction.
Stef: I agree to a point, and I think that it's gotten better. Up until very recently, the Center for Medicaid and Medicare services made you list the full address of wherever you were physically practicing, which for telehealth providers often meant their home addresses. And it was not until the last six months or so – because, you know, as a clinician, I have to re-attest my information every quarter. And it was only this last go-round that they had added a button that said, If you are 100% telehealth, if your clients are never, ever, ever coming to where you practice, click here and all we will show is your city, and state, which, you know, they're still collecting the other information. And I've been married to you long enough to know that wherever data is collected, it has the potential to be shared or stolen. But that felt like a good first step because at least for those in my world who are 100% telehealth, we can now at least hide our home addresses in a way that we weren't able to do this time last year. So, it is getting a little bit better in that respect. But what are some other things people can be doing to kind of, you know, obfuscate or protect their information from, Um, I hate to say it, but their clients as well as anybody else that's out there?
Wolf: Well, yeah, the address is a key one. Making sure your address is not posted. Making sure it's not available. Even the city and state, I think, is a little bit better. But of course, there are certainly ways to still find your full address. If your name is on the house, for example, or if your name is on your business paperwork. Back to adding space, one of the really nice pieces of advice I was given was, make sure you have a lawyer who's filing all your business paperwork not in your name, but in the lawyer's name. Therefore, there is a some space there between finding your business paperwork and immediately being able to find your full name and find your address, and everything else. So there's certain things like that which can be done; taking off your telephone number from your website and your therapist practice page. And if you do have a number listed, having a separate number, like a sideline number or a Google voice number. Again, so we're adding some space.
Stef: One of the things that I've always appreciated about Psychology Today is on my professional profile. You know, I give them my business phone number, but that's not the phone number that shows up for potential clients. Psychology Today actually generates a phone number on my provider page that, when people call, it rings through to me but doesn't actually give up [the number of] my business line. And that is something that not everybody likes, Psychology Today, for various reasons. But something that being a bigger service provider lets them do that I've always thought has been a nice service for those of us that use that for our marketing.
Wolf: Yeah, that's a perfect example.
Stef: What else can people be doing? I know that it doesn't necessarily make sense to say, “Don't mention who you work with or what you do online,” right? Because if I have a client that's looking for gender-affirming care. My website needs to tell them I do gender-affirming care. But by making that information public, I'm also sharing that with potential bad actors or people who feel that I shouldn't be providing gender-affirming care. So how can clinicians sort of walk that tightrope between marketing our services and letting the people who need us know that we're out there without necessarily exposing ourselves to risk in these weirdly chaotic and increasingly fascist times?
Wolf: When I started going down this path and trying to collect this information for you and for your colleagues, my first thought was, ‘Well, this is very straightforward,’ along with removing, you know, your phone number and your address and any personal, identifiable information from your professional websites, and along with perhaps obfuscating or having a secondary number and a contact form, have an email address. Just simply remove trans. I mean, if you were searching on that word, remove that word – one of the ways that my viewpoint has shifted in this conversation [is that] I don't think that's a good idea, and here's why. I was speaking with the executive director of one of the state groups in the Equality Federation. I would give them a shout-out, but I did not ask their permission for a shout-out when speaking with them. So I won't, but if you're listening to this, thank you very much – and she said something very impactful to me. She said, “Look, taking down trans and erasing trans on the Internet is a win for adversarial groups like gays against groomers or Libs of tiktok or Veritas or any of these folks.” It's a win for those groups, right? That is their goal is to effectively marginalize trans folks and to reduce and remove representation. And we have to keep an eye on what it is we're trying to protect in cybersecurity, we can oftentimes run into this problem where what we do for security is counter to what we need to do for protection, right? Like, I'm gonna lock everything down. And now people can't get their job done or can't get into the building or can't get out applications. And if we remember that the purpose of this organization is to get your job done we're running counter to protecting, even though we're providing security. I was reminded of that in this conversation, because fundamentally, what we're trying to do is protect trans people, right? We're trying to protect our friends and colleagues and clients, who are just trying to live their lives. So I don't think we should remove it. I do acknowledge and agree that having trans on your list of services, just like having kink on your list of services and everything else, increases your risk. But from a harm reduction model, we need to keep an eye on what we're trying to protect. We need to stand strong, and we need to make sure that we're not creating a situation where now we're pushing trans people off the internet.
Stef: And, you know, as I'm listening to you, that raises an interesting point in my mind. Because at first, my first thought is to strengthen numbers. And rather than taking gender-affirming care off of our websites, maybe more people need to be putting it on to make it harder to find those of us who do the work. But then it becomes a forest for the trees situation, right? And if people – you know, we think about using pronouns and everybody shares their pronouns now to make it safer and more inclusive for those who need to do so. And my first thought was, ‘Well, if we all say we provide the service, then that protects those of us who do’. But then it becomes a forest for the trees situation. And how do the people seeking this care find the ones that actually do versus the ones that are just trying to be a good ally and provide coverage for the others? So it really is a difficult situation. There's not a lot of clear-cut answers here, and it becomes incredibly frustrating for our clients. One of the ways that a lot of people are finding their therapists these days is social media, right? They look for the clinicians who are talking about these issues online, on Instagram, on heaven forbid tiktok, on any number of platforms, but the same situation is true there. You know when somebody is a public-facing person talking about issues that are having a cultural moment positively or negatively. They expose themselves to people who have opinions about those topics. The talk I gave at AASECT last week, somebody posted on social media and said I looked like the caricature of a liberal Peto groomer, which is not an observation I've gotten before. So you know, whenever we are posting about our work on social media, we run the risk of encountering those bad actors or, at the very least, those negative comments. How can clinicians that do take a more advocacy perspective to this, who do want to be sharing their opinions on social media, whether because they believe in the cause or because they want people in need to find them… How can they protect themselves?
Wolf: Let's talk about proactive and reactive protection. From a proactive perspective, there's a couple different things right. We can add space, which is what I keep coming back to your point about psychology today, with a different telephone number tying to your main numbers, one that comes to mind, have a different account. And I know a lot of folks in your world already do this, but you have your professional forward-looking account and you have your personal account with a different name. If you have a moment, make sure you can run your post by somebody just to sort of pick at it a little bit and see if there's something that they could give you some advice on about what to do to lock it down. You know, if there's a different way to say what you're trying to say or different way to communicate it, that may be a little safer, a little bit less likely to be picked up by one of these groups. So I'm always a big fan of the social media edit and feedback cycle, which is not something built into these apps. We're encouraged to just click send and go. Also, make sure you have your accounts locked down. We'll put in the show notes, the article from Tall Poppy, it's called An Ounce of Prevention is Worth a Pound of Cure: Digital Safety for Healthcare Workers. This is a resource that was made available by a good friend of mine, Lee Honeywell, who also gave me a lot of advice on this. And she provides a really good line of things to lock down your accounts to make sure they don't get stolen or compromised. You know, things like long passwords and multifactor. So make sure you're doing all those things on the Proactive side.
On the reactive side. If it happens, if one of these accounts picks up your message, takes it out, and starts blasting it all over the place, have a plan, right? How am I gonna lock down my accounts? What is my plan to step off the internet for a period of time? One of the aspects of these types of attacks that works in our favor is it usually is only a couple days, right? They pick up something, they spread it around, they create a whole bunch of noise, and after a couple days, they move on to something else. So if you have a good plan to go offline for, say, seven days, lock down your account, step away from the internet. Take a breather, do whatever sort of self-care or stress management activity that works for you. Go on a hike, get a good massage. Good meal. Whatever it is, have that plan in place. So if and when it occurs, you're in a good place to protect yourself, because again, 2-3 days most likely this will blow over. Finally, if it does occur. If you do find yourself in a situation where you need to figure out what to do. There's a number of people who can help. One of the folks that I have sent people to and one of the folks that I myself have consulted with, goes by the name Lockdownyourlife or lockdownyourlife.com They have a consultation for if it is occurring, how to lock things down, how to report things, how to have a response plan.
Stef: It really feels like what we're saying is that there isn't a great option here, that there's no way to genuinely prevent people from being targeted online and that there aren't necessarily solid mechanisms people can take to genuinely reduce their exposure. Is that a true statement? Or are there things that clinicians can be doing to protect themselves? Proactively?
Wolf: Well, I think some of what we already mentioned is good in terms of that article that I highlighted. Also, you want to just reduce how much information is available online about you, right? I mentioned earlier that it's great that the NPI for telehealth will no longer publish your address. However, if you have the person's name and a city and state, its still pretty easy to find their address. Part of that is because of these data brokers, there's a number of different ways to get out of data brokers. If you want to get really deep and do it yourself, there's a book called Extreme Privacy: What It Takes to Disappear. That book is very thick and very technical, very detailed for the people who really want to make sure that they're doing all the right things and have the time to do it themselves. That's usually where I point them. Next up, let's say we don't want to do that. Let's start with what's a little bit less expensive, but a little bit easier. There is a website called Easy Opt-outs. It's less expensive. It's maybe less thorough, but it's a great place to start for removing your information. One step above that.. So we went from just opting out to actually trying to scrub you off the Internet. There's a tool called DeleteMe. DeleteMe remains one of the best options. It is a little more pricey. It's a little more expensive, but they'll not only opt you out but delete you off a whole number of different sites for you. And that covers a lot of what's in that extreme privacy book as a service. Finally, you were talking earlier about community mental health and about larger practices. One of the things I would really like is for organizations to view this as part of their responsibility, right? This is part of the responsibility of the organization to provide a good work environment, a safe work environment, and oftentimes that translates into physical safety. Meaning good walls, good security guards, clean floors. And don't forget the “Caution: Wet Floor” signs. I think in addition to that, because we're seeing more of this online, we need to also look at services and providing these services for our front-line therapists for our front-line clinicians. I'll give you one more tool for that, and that would be Hush. It's a Detroit based startup. It's gohush.com and they provide a service that will run over multiple different folks in an organization. So that’s easy opt-outs, DeleteMe, and then Hush to really reduce your footprint on the Internet.
Stef: So I wanna ask the reverse question because all of these all of our conversations so far has really kind of assumed that people are already practicing or are already setting up their websites and their profiles and their NPI numbers and all of that. What should people who are thinking about moving into private practice or moving into being a therapy provider – What can people be doing from day one to build protections around this from the get-go instead of trying to remove information or trying to put up walls around the stuff that I already have going as a clinician. If I were starting a new practice tomorrow, how could I build that practice to be ready for the world that we're living in right now?
Wolf: I like this question because oftentimes, we start with ‘Oh, remove the data.’ But one of the things that is oftentimes not said aloud, but should be recognized is once data is out there, it can be hidden, but it's always out there forever and ever and ever. Any of these, deleteme, easy opt-outs, Hush extreme privacy removes it from public view, but that doesn't necessarily remove the data altogether. So I like what you're saying here, right? If we can prevent the data from going out in the first place, we're in a much better spot if you're doing telehealth, and that means you need to have a house or a piece of land. If you are buying a house that will be used as a home office, and that home office will be providing care that could be contested or otherwise caught up in all this; put it in a trust, a trust that's not your name, that's not something that's readily recognizable as you. Like, Stefani, you are known for your pink hair. We would not put our house in a trust called the pink hair therapist, that'd be a bad idea. So put it in another name when you go to file your paperwork. Get an attorney. You can file that paperwork so it's not filed with your name and your address. When you set up your website most of these websites will allow you to do an anonymous registration or have the registration through the web developer. You want to do that so that people can't look up your information off the website. When you set up your email, and your other services similarly, make sure that we're restricting how much information is put out there. And just as we go down the line from any way that people can be contacted from their address, to their paperwork, to their telephone number, to their email address, et cetera, et cetera. et cetera. Make sure that you are thinking through how you're gonna construct your therapy practice to have those layers right. Don't put out your personal email address. Have a good contact me form and on and on it goes.
Stef: And for those of us, like your pink-haired wife who didn't set up our practice thinking about these things 5-10-15 years ago, is it possible to unring that bell? Or is there a certain amount of exposure that we just have to accept?
Wolf: There's always gonna be a certain amount of exposure that we have to accept. This is all about harm reduction. But those sites I mentioned earlier for scrubbing and removing information will go a long way.
Stef: And now the big, important, impactful question: Do you think people should be rethinking the work they do because of the times that we're living in? It's the question, you know, you get asked.
Wolf: Yes, people should absolutely be rethinking the work that they do in the times we live in.
Stef: Really, that surprises me
Wolf: And doubling down and helping more of the people who do it.
Stef: There you go. That's the Wolf I was waiting for. All right. Any last thoughts or tips? I know this was a time when I've just been picking your brain about everything you've been reading up on and consulting on over the last couple of weeks and months. Is there anything that I should have asked you about that I didn't think to?
Wolf: You know, we've talked about secure messaging here and Signal in the past. We've talked about secure email and things like ProtonMail in the past. Another thing I think is really important is, whenever possible, using email services that will delete the message or not store it. So think things like Hush Mail, Hush Mail for therapists is fantastic. Or move it out of email altogether into your EMR/EHR or something like SimplePractice. And when we think about email, when we think about case notes, when we think about process and progress notes within case notes, what I was saying earlier applies here again. Don't write anything down that we're gonna have to delete. Be very, very conscientious about what you write down. You told me you have a good line that you tell your supervisors about case notes. Right? What was that?
Stef: When I was training as a little baby therapist, I was told, Don't write anything in your case notes that you would not want to look your client in the eye and read to them from a witness stand. And I think that that still holds true today, no matter what population you work with, whether you are doing couples work or not, whether you are doing substance use work or not, whether you are working with high-risk populations or not, you never know what crazy circumstances are going to come up that can result in a subpoena or a court order. And so it is always always better to write your case notes with your client's safety in mind. Keep your progress notes separate from your process notes, in states where you are allowed to differentiate between the two, and never put anything in writing that you would not want to read on a witness stand.
Wolf: Yes, yes, yes. In this time we find ourselves in, where information is being weaponized. Be very, very careful about the detail and the documentation you provide that could be used as a weapon. I think we covered a lot, are you ready to wrap up, love of my life?
Stef: All right. With that said, do not let the times we live in scare you away from doing the work you were born to be doing. Be bold. Be brave. Stand up for yourselves. Stand up for your clients and know that, like every other cultural moment, this too shall pass.
Wolf: Thank you so much for tuning in to Securing Sexuality, your source of information you need to protect yourself, your relationships, and today your clients.
Stef: Securing Sexuality is brought to you by the Bound Together Foundation a 501c3 nonprofit. From the bedroom to the cloud. We're here to help you navigate safe sex in a digital age.
Wolf: So be sure to check out our website securingsexuality.com for links to all the information we discussed here today, as well as information about our live conference in Detroit
Stef: And join us again for more fascinating conversations about the intersection of sexuality and technology. Have a great week!