During the COVID-19 pandemic, we have all made changes and adjustments in our practices to safely meet the needs of our patients and continue to stay safe ourselves. Since many states are gradually relaxing their stay at home orders, you may find some or all of your clients desiring in-person therapy sessions again.
How do you decide when and how to return to your office?
Like you, I want to consider all options for providing the safest environment possible for my clients. At the same time, I need to assess the risk of the virus to myself.
The NASW has produced guidelines for social workers opening their offices again. Even though it’s about social workers, the information applies to all psychotherapists. I find it a useful and thorough tool in helping me determine my plan. I hope you do too.
These guidelines include:
- Considerations for reopening
- Making a plan
- Preparing materials that address safety protocols
- Updating your office setting for safety
- Business considerations regarding 3rd party payers and liability insurance
- Confidentiality and privacy protocols
Reopening your psychotherapist office for in-person visits can be a stressful time of transition for both you, the therapist, and for your clients. I want to help you make an informed decision by providing a piece of the decision-making puzzle. One of the guidelines the NASW recommends is using an informed consent. If you return to seeing clients in person, you’ll need an Informed Consent to agree on safety protocols.
NASW has an informed consent coming soon, that anyone can use. The APA has one now that’s available to all psychotherapists. Please feel free to download your copy. It’s in Word format. With the sample, you can customize it for your practice needs and state requirements.
While this is not the end of the changes we will be encountering during the COVID-19 pandemic, each transition continues to help us better meet the needs and challenges for our patients – whether we’re treating them via telemedicine or getting the opportunity to safely meet with them in person in our psychotherapist office.
Stay safe. Be well.