such as reducing your caseload if patients say they feel rushed
or spending more time educating clients about what they can
expect from psychotherapy, he says.
• Tap your clinical training. Reading personal criticism can
test anyone’s patience. Just ask Alex M. Siegel, JD, PhD, who,
long before Yelp existed, experienced an online assault from a
former client that went on for years.
“I was tempted, in the beginning, to respond and to clear
my name and hire agencies to bury the content,” recalls Siegel,
who is director of professional affairs at the Association of State
and Provincial Psychology Boards. Instead, Siegel stayed calm
and hired an attorney to advise him. Doing so was particularly
helpful when his former client contacted the governor’s office
when Siegel had been reappointed to the Pennsylvania state
licensing board. Siegel stayed the course and sorted out the
occasional professional nuisances, such as fielding concerns
about the online comments from other clients, while protecting
the patient’s confidentiality. “It was the right choice,” he says. “If
you fall back on your clinical skills and clinical competencies,
you can ride these things out.”
• Keep the critique in perspective. While it’s hard to
determine if and how a bad review could affect your practice,
most experts agree that one negative review won’t cripple it.
“If you have a successful private practice, your best source of
business is still [traditional] word of mouth referrals from
satisfied clients and colleagues,” says Harris. While research
on how such online word of mouth websites are perceived
by consumers is still lacking, one 2011 study published in the
Journal of Medical Internet Research found that most patients
rate physicians well on such websites.
Also, keep in mind that today’s consumers are often savvy
enough to ignore the outliers, says Kansas City, Mo., psychologist
Ann M. Becker-Schutte, PhD, who is active on social media.
“Even when it comes to restaurants and clothing, I don’t give
a ton of credibility to the most glowing or scathing reviews,” she
says. “I am always looking for a global average and I trust most
of the people who are going to work with me to be able to do
the same thing.”
While many of her clients have found her via her
professional blog or Twitter account, only one client has found
her via a rating site, she says.
• Seek support. If multiple reviews coming in from the same
person start to feel like harassment, consult your malpractice
carrier’s attorney, as well as colleagues with expertise in ethics
and social media. It’s also wise to seek out other clinicians to
lean on, says Kolmes.
“Reconnect with former supervisors and other people who
know and believe in your work who can be supportive,” she
AND COMMUNITY VIOLENCE
The Intersection of Law
The American Psychological Association and the American
Bar Association are cosponsoring the conference, Confronting
Family And Community Violence, May 1–3, 2014, in Washington,
DC. The conference will provide an opportunity to examine
how psychologists, attorneys, judges, legal scholars and others
can support healthy children and families in a safe society.
workers, and other professionals in legal, mental health, social service, and education fields
Requests for information on conference can be directed to: Donna J. Beavers, Director,
E-mail:;firstname.lastname@example.org or SAPAABAViolenceConf@apa.org
APA /ABA CONFERENCE
May 1–3, 2014 • Washington, DC • Marriott Washington Wardman Park Hotel