Last night the government declared that all of England is to return to a full lockdown as of midnight. I know this may have come as a shock to you even if some may have felt it was also inevitable. In the first lockdown, in March, I was not allowed to continue delivering face to face counselling therapy due to the risks involved. For all clients the only option was to move to online or telephone therapy for their regular counselling therapy appointments. For most, the transition to online services went very well. It allowed me to offer continuity of care and support throughout the first lockdown. For a small number of clients it was not an option due to not having a safe space to receive the support due to their environmental circumstances. For them support had to go on hold until after the lockdown restrictions were lifted.
The government recognised the pressure the pandemic is having on the nation and subsequently eased the restrictions from July to date. It has allowed counselling therapists within the private practise sector to continue to see clients face to face as long as covid secure environments have been established. The NHS have not returned to face to face counselling since the first lock down, and all therapy has been delivered remotely and will continue to do so.
As a practitioner continuity of care to all clients is of upmost importance to me. A such I returned to face to face practise from July. I have put in place and continue to improve a covid safe counselling space to protect as much as is reasonably possible both you and I from possible infection.
As you may remember from our first appointment I am an accredited member of the National Counselling Society. I am required to work within their ethical framework. Today the society has updated their guidance on whether we are allowed to work face to face under the new restrictions of this third lockdown. The advise/guidance is we, as accredited members may make individual decisions to work in the room with a client if they consider that it is not possible to work remotely. Decisions should take into account:
- The health risks factors for you and I (especially those connected with age, pre-existing health conditions),
- The safety and ability to be able to maintain an appropriately socially distanced and hygienic space for face to face work
- The risks to both you and I in travelling to and from the clinic space,
- What back up plan will be in place if you or I need to self isolate due to either myself, or you, or anyone living within either household developing symptoms.
This guidance follows government guidelines and will continue to be updated as the guidelines evolve.
With this in mind and taking into account my commitments to you as a counsellor, I wish to make a case by case decision on how the continuity of support will continue. I will be honest, that the second variant and lack of knowledge scientifically we currently have makes me nervous. The science is clear the transmission rate is much higher than the first variant.
My current preference is to move as many clients that can to remote services for now. For any clients who cannot move to either video or telephone therapy, we will need to complete an individual risk assessment to enable face to face therapy to continue. This will cover:
- Any existing health conditions you have that may cause greater risk from Covid,
- How you will travel to and from appointments,
- What your current risk profile is due to change in either home or work circumstances,
- Evidence that it would be detrimental to your mental health/wellbeing to move to online counselling or suspend face to face sessions.
This will allow face to face sessions to continue, and enable me to continue to work inline with my governing body, insurer and latest government guidance. Maintaining as safe practise as possible in these uncertain times.
I am not saying I cannot see you face to face, but am offering the alternatives of phone or video call support whilst within lockdown. If face to face is the only way the therapy can be delivered we will complete a risk assessment together to allow that to continue for as long as we can working in the current guidelines and laws. I am and continue to remain hopeful that we won’t get completely closed for face to face therapy like in the first lockdown. I will say this year I have gained a lot of clients from all over the country who only ever have remote services, and the quality and growth they receive is the same as it is with my face to face clients, and as always, continual reviews within sessions will be done to check progress and growth.
I appreciate this is a lengthy email so please take some time to digest it. I would be grateful if you would contact me to let me know your preference for how you would like to continue your counselling therapy. You can reply to this email, call me on 07517 212459 or whattsapp/message me. If you let me have a good time to contact you to discuss this further I will call and we can take it from there. Making the most appropriate decision together, to allow continuity of appointments for you and keep both us and our families as safe as possible is of upmost importance to me.
Have a think and get back to me on how you wish to proceed with your current booking, take care and stay safe,