• Deric Hollings

Testimonials and Reviews

Updated: 1 day ago

[DISCLAIMER]


I’ve observed many websites of psychotherapists who post testimonials from what are presumably clients. I’ve also witnessed public profiles of these practitioners and seen how people self-identifying as clients review the services they’ve received.


This is a delicate topic. While many mental health practitioners use testimonials on their websites and reviews on various platforms (e.g., Yelp), I understand the ethical considerations of doing so.


For instance, if on Yelp Philbert Amgitsecuder posts a glowing review of the services he receives from Hollings Therapy, LLC, he’s essentially let the world know he’s receiving mental health treatment.


If I ask Wilhelmina Annawitahwodi to provide a testimonial of how well she thinks her therapy is benefitting her, I’ve committed an ethical violation by asking her to self-disclose information to the world about her protected health information.


Though Philbert’s decision to post is of his own choosing, the example regarding Wilhelmina could constitute a violation of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA).


Is promotion of my business worth the ethical or legal risk? No.


I’m a counselor, subject to the Code of Ethics concerning the American Counseling Association. Likewise, I’m a social worker, obligated to adhere to the Code of Ethics regarding the National Association of Social Workers.


Moreover, because I’m licensed to practice counseling and social work in Texas, I remain subject to the Statutes and Rules of the Texas Behavioral Health Executive Council (TBHEC).


For more information, I invite you to review the Rules of the TBHEC and Texas State Board of Examiners of Professional Counselors.


You may also like to review the Rules of the TBHEC and Texas State Board of Social Worker Examiners.


There remains some debate about whether or not use of testimonials and reviews violates these codes and rules. What is clear is that clinicians are not to solicit this content from clients.


To avoid the appearance of impropriety, I’ve chosen not to use testimonials or reviews for the services I offer. I consider this choice a best practice for safeguarding client privacy and to remain HIPAA-compliant.


If you are interested in mental health services from a psychotherapist who values confidentiality, I invite you to reach out today by using the contact widget on my website.


Deric Hollings, LPC, LCSW



Photo credit, fair use


References:


American Counseling Association. (2014). 2014 ACA code of ethics. Retrieved from https://www.counseling.org/resources/aca-code-of-ethics.pdf

American Counseling Association. (n.d.). American Counseling Association [Official website]. Retrieved from https://www.counseling.org/

Blow, R. (2015, August 19). Using ethical practices in mental health marketing and advertising. Development Counts. Retrieved from https://www.developmentcounts.com/using-ethical-practices-in-mental-health-marketing-and-advertising/

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2018, September 14). Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA). Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/phlp/publications/topic/hipaa.html

Enriquez, A. (2021, October 25). Q. How does fair use work for book covers, album covers, and movie posters? Penn State. Retrieved from https://psu.libanswers.com/faq/336502

Hollings, D. (2022, March 15). Disclaimer. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from https://www.hollingstherapy.com/post/disclaimer

Hollings, D. (n.d.). Hollings Therapy, LLC. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from https://www.hollingstherapy.com/

Huggins, R. (2014, February 2). Ethical practice marketing and online reviews: Getting reviews from colleagues. Person Centered Tech. Retrieved from https://personcenteredtech.com/2014/02/02/ethical-practice-marketing-and-online-reviews-getting-reviews-from-colleagues/

National Association of Social Workers. (n.s.). Code of ethics: English. Retrieved from https://www.socialworkers.org/About/Ethics/Code-of-Ethics/Code-of-Ethics-English

National Association of Social Workers. (n.d.). National Association of Social Workers [Official website]. Retrieved from https://www.socialworkers.org/

Reinhardt, R. (2015, April 30). Ethical pitfalls of online testimonials and reviews. Counseling Today. Retrieved from https://ct.counseling.org/2015/04/ethical-pitfalls-of-online-testimonials-and-reviews/

Rocket Referrals. (2019). Testimonial-and-Review_Blog-Graphic.png [Image]. Retrieved from https://www.rocketreferrals.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/Testimonial-and-Review_Blog-Graphic.png

Texas Behavioral Health Executive Council. (n.d.). Statutes and rules. Retrieved from https://www.bhec.texas.gov/statues-and-rules/index.html

Texas Behavioral Health Executive Council. (n.d.). Texas Behavioral Health Executive Council [Official website]. Retrieved from https://www.bhec.texas.gov/

Texas Behavioral Health Executive Council. (2022, March 9). Texas Behavioral Health Executive Council and Texas State Board of Examiners of Professional Counselors rules. Retrieved from https://www.bhec.texas.gov/wp-content/uploads/2022/03/LPC-February-2022-v2.pdf

Texas Behavioral Health Executive Council. (2022, March 9). Texas Behavioral Health Executive Council and Texas State Board of Social Worker Examiners rules. Retrieved from https://www.bhec.texas.gov/wp-content/uploads/2022/04/SW-February-2022-v3.pdf

Wikipedia. (n.d.). Appearance of impropriety. Retrieved from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Appearance_of_impropriety

Wikipedia. (n.d.). Best practice. Retrieved from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Best_practice

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