How does COVID-19 effect therapy? (Updated 05/19/2021)
Therapy is a unique business. Many people desire to be in the office with their therapist. They believe that being present in the office provides more ability to have connection and emotional understanding. COVID-19 has changed much about what all of us are doing on a daily basis, especially as therapists.
As therapist we have had to move almost everything to a digital platform, which is the safest option to decrease the spread of COVID – 19. However, people still desire the intimate setting of the office at times too. Protection is important. Many counseling offices are small and tight, especially mine. This still causes some complications. Some people still are very concerned about enclosed areas although we know more about COVID – 19 and vaccinations have become more widespread.
When COVID started, I moved to a fully telehealth practice. However, as things have died down some with the virus, I have started to open back up to in-person counseling. As of now, I provide in-person counseling and have rearranged my office to be at least 6 feet from my patients. However, experts still insist that 45 minutes is a long time to be exposed to other people in an enclosed area. I understand the insecurity that people may feel come to my office at this time.
What are we doing to protect clients if an in-person session is held?
My goal is to protect all clients and be helpful. If virtual counseling is possible, I prefer to do virtual counseling in order to be safe, not sorry. However, if you request an in-person session or need to be seen in my office due to other circumstances, I now have a policy that you are agreeing to the risks of contracting COVID-19 and you understand and accept those risks.
With the understanding that you are taking a risk, I am providing precautions with the ability to wash hands, wear facemasks and/or use hand sanitizer if you request to use them. If you do not request these things, you are agreeing that you are okay with the risk of contracting COVID-19 and assuming the responsibility for any and all possible consequences.
However, I will not discriminate and turn down people who have not had the vaccine.
When you come to my office I request that you stay in your car until the time of the session. I will call you to come up. I also request that you wash your hands upon entry and upon exit if possible.
If you desire, I am okay with you wearing a mask during our session. I also will wear a mask if you request me to. Masks may cause their to be some difficulties in communication, but precaution can be taken if needed.
I further attempt to keep the air moving in the office as regularly as possible. I will open all windows if requested, although it may become warm in the office or cold. I attempt to wipe down surfaces when people leave after each in-person session. Further, I can accommodate doing sessions outside, if desired. This may decrease the possibility of privacy, but will decrease the risk of exposure to COVID-19.
How do I accept payment and handle paperwork?
All payment and paperwork can be handled through the client portal without the need to transfer documents or payments by hand. If you prefer to pay with your card in office, you will need to read your card number to me. I do have the capability to take other forms of payment (check, cash).
When should I cancel my session?
PLEASE, if you are sick, call me and leave a voicemail that you are cancelling. It would be safer for both of us to reschedule. If you have cold symptoms (ie, coughing, sneezing, fever, runny nose, etc), please let me know so we can reschedule you.
I do provide Kleenex for clients. If you feel the urge to sneeze or cough, please use a Kleenex and sneeze or cough into the Kleenex and turn away from others. Then, please go straight to the restroom and wash your hands. If you have any questions, please call my office at 706-955-0230. If you would like to schedule an appointment you can all call or schedule online.
Brandon Coussens, LMFT
- Address3540 Wheeler Rd., Ste. 109
Augusta, GA 30909
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