Last updated March 17, 2020. As the situation related to Coronavirus (COVID-19) develops, we are closely monitoring guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and the World Health Organization. Please review the below for up to date information about your care. This post will continue to be updated as more information is available
Dear Center for Anxiety community,
Informed by public health guidance, we are encouraging that all sessions take place via teletherapy (video chat or phone) for at least the next two weeks starting Monday, March 16th. During this time, our physical offices will remain open for as long as possible to accommodate patients who need and require in-person services (e.g., individuals suffering acute or severe anxiety who cannot be serviced remotely).
Our mission is to provide access to mental health care for everyone, and we remain deeply committed to ensuring access to care for everyone.
We encourage you to continue your normal course of treatment via teletherapy in the coming weeks, and to see below for tips to inform your care.
We will continue to re-evaluate as the situation evolves, and we appreciate your understanding. As always, we are here to support you.
Preparing for Teletherapy
As mental health professionals, we promote authentic connection and recognize that meaningful social engagement is crucial, and “social distancing”, on the surface, is not what we’d typically encourage. Our care at Center for Anxiety focuses on in-person connection whenever possible.
However, extensive research shows that teletherapy offers an effective way to ensure continuity of care, and continue your relationship with your clinician. Similarly, for our new clients, teletherapy allows you to get started in care with a clinician who is a great fit for your needs, goals, and preferences. Below you’ll find guidance to set you up for success in your upcoming teletherapy sessions.
- You will receive an invite for each session from your clinician. The invite will contain instructions on how to join a secure session, and what to do if technical disruptions occur
- Video or phone sessions are both available – feel free to discuss with your clinician, and decide what makes sense for you
- Our teletherapy services are conducted using secure, HIPAA-compliant tools
- Before each session, be sure to have an emergency contact in mind, and let your clinician know where you’ll be located
Ensuring a Smooth Session
We encourage you to try the below suggestions, to ensure a smooth and productive teletherapy session.
- If at all possible, identify a quiet, enclosed space to protect your privacy. Please avoid doing teletherapy sessions while driving
- For video sessions, be mindful of where you sit in relation to a window or source of light. Try to ensure your face is clearly visible, with no glare. Your visible expressions are equally as important via video as they are in person!
- If you can, place your computer on a stable surface (not your lap) and avoid using your phone for video sessions
- Turn off any notifications and minimize sounds that could be distracting during the session
What do I need for a virtual session?
You need to have a computer or smartphone with camera access, a stable internet connection, and a private and quiet location.
In session, you will also be asked to provide the location where you will be completing your virtual sessions, an emergency contact, and a phone number.
For those that do not have access to either a computer or smartphone, or a quiet place, our offices are open and available to be used.
What if I do not want to do a virtual session?
If you are uncomfortable doing a virtual session or have concerns about receiving care this way, please feel free to discuss this with your provider directly. Additionally, in promoting social responsibility here is more about the importance of flattening the curve here.
What if I have an emergency during a virtual session?
Your provider will make sure they know your location so in the event of an emergency, they can contact the proper services and direct them to you. If you are having an emergency and your provider is unavailable, please call 911 or go to the nearest emergency department.
Are virtual sessions effective?
Although this switch may feel different at first, don’t worry. Many research studies show no difference in outcomes or client satisfaction between in-person and video delivered therapy. If you have concerns, please feel free to discuss directly with your provider.
How do I know that my privacy will be protected in video sessions?
Your privacy and confidentiality is extremely important to us. The platform we are using was selected specifically for its HIPAA-compliance and your security. If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to discuss them with your provider.
What if I’m having technical difficulties on my virtual call?
If you are experiencing technical difficulties, please reach out to your provider and discuss telephone-based care as an option.
If you have questions or concerns about teletherapy or your care, feel free to reach out to your clinician or our Care Coordination team, at firstname.lastname@example.org or (646)837-5557