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Coronavirus Update: Should I See My Therapist Face-to-Face?

In March 2020 when the country went into lockdown, I stopped seeing clients face to face and promptly moved all of my client sessions online using Zoom.  Complying with government policies and health & safety guidelines for the COVID-19 crisis. 

To date most of my clients have found it easy and convenient using a secure video platform and it is working very well.  Whilst there are a few disadvantages over seeing clients in person, it is a very good alternative. Some of my clients have even told me that they now prefer online and a few clients feel they prefer a more personal approach.

Why Telehealth might be the best way for social-distancing practices for now.

I have been asked when I will be going back to face to face work and as it is a complex situation, so I really do not know yet.  The government has not provided any guidance specific to mental health, or therapists using hypnotherapy, counselling or psychotherapy.  The accredited bodies are still recommending that we use Telehealth video or phone calls and continue to urge caution before returning to face to face work. I continue to actively follow updates from the government and also my four professional associations and my insurer.  

Why is it so complex?

It will require a detailed risk assessment, the implementation of some new health & safety procedures, all of which will have a considerable impact on my practice and client work.  Some examples:

  • Temperature taken and hand sanitiser at the entrance.
  • We will be required to use PPE (such as face masks), face shields etc.
  • Issues of ventilation (including noise pollution) vs confidentiality. 
  • Length of time in a session of a minimum of 60 minutes (increases viral load concerns).
  • Implement a robust cleaning schedule at the start of each day, in between sessions in the clinic room, hallway and toilet.  
  • The Therapy Clinic and room has the capacity to keep a social distance of 2 metres at all times.
  • Issues relating to clients getting upset, tearful, angry and wants to remove their face covering.
  • Tissues… weather to bring your own tissues, disposal of tissues, use of tissues in session.

I also have to consider the increased risk of contracting the virus myself, or passing it on to others.  I am self-employed and will not receive any sick pay, or receive any income if I need to take time off or self isolate for weeks.  

I do apologise to those clients who especially would like to come and see me in person. I am safeguarding both myself, my clients and particularly as my clinic setting is part of a home shared with my family.  However, for the time being I am taking the current advice for my profession. I am keeping a watching brief and commit to update my clients on my decisions about returning to face to face work.

Please do contact me with any queries.

Take care and stay safe,

Sarah