Monday, May 18, 2009

Clients Googling You (in a Different Way)

At the Casey Truffo conference I spoke at a few weeks back, there was another very interesting fellow presenting on therapeutic boundaries, partly on how they are changing in the age of the Internet.

One of his points was we should expect that our clients (and potential clients) will Google us and find out various things about us – not necessarily from our practice websites. I thought it was an interesting idea, and then it was proven true in my own caseload.

A fairly new client, upon hearing me sing in my office before I came out to greet him said “I read that you sing and dance between clients, and I now I see it is true.” This was something I wrote on a blog that is not linked from my therapy practice site.

This does lead me to believe it has happened to more than just this one client, and that it will happen more and more. The analytic “blank slate” will be harder and harder to come by (not something I rely on, but something I know many like). And the “resonance niche” as I’ve come to put it – that people will choose you to be their therapist based on small facts (you are from Boston, you were a nurse, you play rugby) or just your general personality (how you come across in a web video) will come more and more into play.

For those of us who enter the Internet age with some maturity and discretion, it will be fine. I feel bad for those counselors who are 18 now and posting pictures of themselves drunk, stoned and/or naked. Or maybe it will give them “street cred”.

My best to you, Peter


Mike Miller, PhD said...

Hey Dad! Interesting post. As I am middle-aged and boring, I am unaware of any pictures! (However, there is a posting of my responding to an idiot local radio guy.) For traditional analytic types, I can see your point. I am (perhaps too much?) seeped in Sid Jourard (The Transparent Self) and other early humanistic writers. Best wishes.
Mike Miller, PhD

Steve McCready, MFT said...

Hi Peter -

I'm sure that plenty of folks have Googled me, and there are things they can learn about me if they try hard enough. I guess maybe it's because I don't have anything out there that is particularly damning, but I really don't concern myself with it. I knew from day one of grad school that the 'blank slate' was never going to be my approach, and I think that many of my clients appreciate knowing that I'm a human, and as such, have hobbies, interests, etc. How are we going to teach people about connection when we wall ourselves off behind a veil of secrecy and privacy?