Counselors and other human service professionals that deal with confidential information have an obligation to ensure the privacy of the individuals that use their services. The internet has especially presented another challenge for mental health professionals. Clients and patients can use Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and other forms of social media to communicate outside of the professional setting. It’s only natural to develop a friendly but professional relationship with some clients. However, the introduction of social media can make for a very awkward situation.
The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) was passed to protect patient health information.