COVID -19 THERAPY CLINICS UPDATE 22/03/2020
Following government advice on social distancing, all therapy sessions will now be offered either digitally or by telephone. This policy is likely to be in place for some time so if you are looking for psychological support please do consider these options as it may be several months before face to face sessions can resume.
The platform I am currently using is ZOOM (www.zoom.us) which is a safe, secure and GDPR compliant web-based video conferencing platform. The basic plan is free and simple to download on both your computer or your mobile phone. Connectivity is excellent and patient feedback to date has been very positive.
Some basic things to consider if you choose this option:
- Make sure you have access to a safe and private space which is free of distractions and noises. This can be really difficult, especially for parents with children who are currently off school so if you need an appointment outside normal working hours I will do my very best to accommodate you.
- It is tempting to multi-task but I would ask you to dedicate your full attention to the therapy session otherwise it is likely that you will not gain the maximum benefit.
- Therapy is hard work and some patients can feel tired, preoccupied or upset after a session so do try and factor in some time to unwind before you pick up normal day to day activities.
- If you are interrupted during the session it is helpful for is to prearrange a word or phrase that alerts me to this and I can end the session if necessary. It is important to have a backup arrangement should we lose our connection so please make sure you have access to a telephone line or mobile and that the number is made available to me.
Further information is detailed in the form below.
Working Agreement for Psychotherapy Sessions Online
I am providing some practical information to help you understand what to expect with online sessions and provide some tips to make sure the process runs smoothly.
It is understood that some people may feel uncertain about having some sessions online, but they can be as effective as meeting face to face, so long as you follow the sensible tips below. My goal is to create a safe and contained space to work with you.
If there are any material/ documents that I anticipate we will need to use for the sessions, I will endeavour (where possible) to email these through to you before the session. Please have these ready to refer to during the session.
A free and secure service we can use:
My current preferred online service is Zoom (www.zoom.us). Zoom has end-to-end encryption, is compliant with GDPR requirements and is free for you to access and download:
Please watch this two-minute video on how to use Zoom here:
If we have agreed to use Zoom, I will send you an email before the session which contains a meeting number. Please make sure I have the correct email address for you before the session. When you open Zoom, it will ask you to enter the meeting number so that you can join me. Please do NOT join the meeting until the agreed time.
Please ensure the following:
- Treat the session as you would a face-to-face appointment eg. Allowing sufficient time to prepare beforehand; attending on time; not cancelling last minute (unless under special circumstances related to the Covid virus); coming prepared to do the necessary therapeutic work; be ready to feedback on the between-session tasks we have set etc.
- Have your computer or mobile set up with Zoom before the session commences. This includes having your microphone and video turned on.
- Your computer or mobile is positioned at a sensible height so that I can clearly see your face and the camera is at eye level. If more than one person will be participating (the purpose of this would need to be agreed with me in advance), please make sure that I can see everyone clearly.
- It is very easy to hear background noises e.g. animals, washing machines kettles etc. so make sure you are in a quiet location.
- You will not be disturbed for the duration of the session and that the door to the room you are sitting in is closed.
- If you are using your computer, you have your mobile out of reach and with the sound muted so that it is not a distraction.
- You do not have your back to a window or light – this can make it very hard for me to see you clearly.
- That there is adequate lighting in the room you are in.
- You have a box of tissues nearby.
- You have a glass of water nearby.
- Have session materials ready such as a pen and paper available to make notes.
- You have not been drinking alcohol or taking drugs before any sessions where they may still be in your body.
- You do NOT record the sessions. I will not be recording any of our sessions UNLESS I have prior consent from you, and this has been mutually discussed and agreed and a consent form has been signed by you.
- You will NOT let anyone else listen in to any part of the online session (via phone or any other technical device or in person) without prior agreement with your therapist.
- You join the meeting at the agreed time.
Use of headphones: Unless you have hearing difficulties or problems with your ears, I would strongly recommend that you use headphones during the session as this will make it easier to hear.
As with face to face sessions, the confidentiality agreement we signed together still applies. In addition, my terms and conditions that you signed at the beginning of working with me are still applicable.
For you to complete:
By signing this, I confirm that I have understood the information above and have had any concerns discussed with my therapist. I agree that I will NOT record any part of the session or let anyone else listen in to the session (via phone or any other device or means) without prior agreement with my therapist.
Client’s Name.......................................... Date...........................................