Social Media and the World of Addiction

May 7, 2012

Social media has become a staple in the lives of hundreds of millions of people throughout the United States and the world. Sites such as Facebook and Twitter have become hotbeds of creativity, communication and support. Social media’s presence in the world of addiction is no smaller and no less important as former addicts and those seeking a way out of addiction connect with the people that may ultimately be able to help them.

While social media certainly has its benefits as it relations to socialization and support within the addiction community, it also presents a dilemma to counselors and those who work in the treatment industry. With such a new medium, there is very little precedent as to the legal and ethical concerns around social media and active communication and dialogue with clients. In the age of “tell all” status updates those who are closest to an addict may be tempted to look into their lives, keeping abreast of the issues they face. However counselors and other employees also open their lives to their clients, which may create a blurred relationship – not to mention the potential for misunderstandings in the client counselor relationship and self-disclosure issues.

Ultimately it remains to be seen about how social media can and will affect the client counselor relationship. Until that point, it is up to the best judgment of each and every counselor as to how they wish to or not to use social media and the Internet in their treatment plan.

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