Non-professional relations of therapists and their patients are frequently evaluated as unethical and inadmissible. American Psychology Association has defined romantic relations between a therapist and a patient that continue during the therapy or straight after its termination as unethical. However, the problem with social networking is a different case.
As a matter of fact, no document prevents therapists from being friends with their clients on Facebook. APA’s Ethical Principles of Psychologists prescribe that multiple relationships between the two parties are quite ethical if they do not cause any harm to these parties. Taking into account realities of the present-day social networking, communication in therapist’s personal Facebook profile in most cases is close to official e-mailing. First, many qualified psychologists and psychiatrists use their personal profile in social media to share some information on their professional activity with friends. Therapists usually repost interesting articles and pieces of research that are relevant to them or may evoke interest in their subscribers. For this reason, they do not mind if patients subscribe to their profile and get an access to the information provided there. Besides, some therapists stay in touch with patients using social media to have a better insight into the progress being made.
Apparently, interaction on social media cannot possibly harm either a therapist or their client. No professional psychologist will expose their private life or intimate details publicly in the online community. It is very unlikely that patients will see some inappropriate content in their psychologist’s account anyway. That is why there is no reason to question the professional ethics of doctors who are open to their clients on social media.