I’ve got a lot going on in my head related to ethics. The broad subject matter of ethics and marketing is highly interesting to me and is a huge driver for me in this blog and everything I do and plan on doing in the near future when I add more products/services. However, I see ethics as the LACK of doing something (marketing) as the driver rather than marketing in some way being too close to unethical.
I’m not a therapist yet (applying soon to graduate school, where a current student there already thought I’m a therapist due to my local professional writing, hah!) Frankly I dread the hyper-vigilant ethical codes when it comes to marketing. I also cringe as a techie person with an even techier husband how some businesses have sold a load of doodoo to therapy organizations on “internet security” stuff for HIPPA compliance. Where there is profit to be made there is scare to induce! (For a cool ethics CEU consider the Networker Conference in March where Bill Doherty will be discussing In Treatment, the HBO series. He does a wildly popular ethics course on the HBO Sopranos, too. More fun than you can shake a stick at on the topic of ethics!
It seems to me as an outsider things go a little too far to the paranoid end when in fact I see breeches of confidentiality all the time from clueless therapists! (Hint: get your Facebook privacy controls as TIGHT AS YOU CAN, NOW. And if you don’t know how to set privacy, learn! It always changes so instead of having a person help you once, learn where to go and return to that area every few months as Facebook constantly updates areas and privacy.) I even offer a general interenet low-cost audit of what I can find out about you in general, if you’re interested. I shock everyone with how fast and how much I can gather from the internet. My father’s eyes have almost popped out of his head at what I can learn while doing nothing unethical or illegal to find information.)
The way I see things, sitting on my own little perch of tech-savvy, innovative online marketer, lifelong therapist-pusher and a do-gooder… is the relationship between clueless, untrained but marketing savvy businesses and the qualified, wise, nuanced folks who haven’t a clue. The only reason I’m glad those first people are out there is because it keeps a fire under my belly to help train non-techie therapists to DO MORE, get a louder voice, and get your passion aligned with a marketing strategy so you have a chance in hell of competing against the well-oiled but clueless noise out there. (A funny side story, the president of PREPARE/Enrich is a friend and joked with me that if my 4 year old premarital site, The First Dance, ranks higher than their super huge, established premarital site, perhaps I have something I could teach them! Yes. That’s the point. I shouldn’t rank higher than a multi-million dollar, 25 year old premarital website… but I learned some marketing skills and voila. Google doesn’t care who either of us are but how we arrange our websites to help it figure out who we are. This is where the HOPE is.)
A great example for you on being cautious while the ignorant earn lots of money touting nonsense… A professional colleague just shared a personal opinion that had me going OH. MY. GOD! It was clueless and ridiculous, hitting to the very core of what therapy is or isn’t. The biggest problem is this person belongs in an entirely different industry, has zero training or experience, but managed to get a book published with huge publicity and high level endorsements from the industry she was writing about. This person also speaks to media about all sorts of nuanced topics for which there is no real experience or background to offer on-the-ground suggestions…but that’s how the media works!
This marketing savvy, unapologetic person has a platform to suggest therapy is rather pointless (because this person’s book is all you need!) I’m the first to say not everyone needs therapy! However, therapists need to see these folks touting falsehoods, non-researched, counter-to-evidence based stuff (or just stuff that is super simple for really healthy individuals with almost no real problems) to get a fire lit under their belly and out of the cave of “marketing is ishy” or question the ethics of actually NOT sharing real facts and real evidence.
Put more simply, are you willing to sit by why people bash the entire profession you worked so hard to enter and work so hard in now? All the while gobbling up endorsements in your field because they know how to network and grab media attention?
The tech savvy part of this entire topic is that most of the world is now happening online, which means there are bigger audiences for the junk being sold, and more money to be made, which always attracts the money-hungry. The ignorant do-gooders sit in a corner worried about whether someone could sue them for giving “advice” that didn’t work, as if the therapist is some big pharmacy company making huge claims that aren’t backed by the evidence.
So….How in the world do you feel competent and secure around “competition” that is more well-oiled, has more money and/or experience? Great question! That’ll be for another day, hopefully this week. 🙂