Reflections for the inner life.
by Hayne Steen, LMHC
Telehealth can be a powerful resource for your therapeutic good. “Tele” is a Greek word meaning distance and “meden” is a Latin word meaning “to heal”. Time magazine called telemedicine, “healing by wire.” At Elbow Tree, we want to leverage the distance between us for the ongoing work of your healing. That’s why each of our Elbow Tree therapists are taking a few minutes now to help their clients become oriented to engaging in psychotherapy in this online space.
THE FOUR COMMITMENTS
1. Make Appointments & Keep Appointments.
As you schedule appointments with your Elbow Tree therapist, keep in mind that the time has been specifically set aside for you and you alone. Elbow Tree therapists are committed to preserving your requested time and taking steps to create a distraction free and confidential experience for you. Elbow Tree’s cancelation policy remains in effect. Should you experience a medical emergency or death in the family, please give your therapist as much notice as possible. Should you “no show” or make a last minute cancellation (inside the 24-hour window from your appointment date and time), you will be charged the full session fee.
2. Limit Background Noise.
Before you log on to your phone or computer for your scheduled counseling session, please thoughtfully consider WHERE you will locate yourself. We find that minimizing distractions will lead to the continuity of your counseling session. Dogs barking, dishes clanging, doors opening, and children interrupting have the potential to derail positive momentum you may be making in a session. We’d like to suggest communicating in advance what you need from your family to help preserve the sacredness of the counseling space.
3. Keep it Confidential.
In our physical offices in St. Augustine, we are able to ensure each therapy session is held completely confidential. Online, we are equally as committed to protecting your confidentiality. We’ll need your help to sustain this. We recommend securing a location to sit that provides the sound and sight security that will be required.
Whether you are sitting in a bedroom, a home office or in the sound proof booth of your personal vehicle, be mindful of “sound bleed” which is sound that others can overhear. Earbuds or headphones can help guard against what is transmitted TO you. We also want to protect what is transmitted FROM you. In our offices you may recall that we have sound machines running outside every office that is in session. We won’t be able to provide you with one of those so space selection becomes even more crucial. Elbow Tree therapists will be checking in at the beginning of each session to ask for your precise location. This is (1) to ensure you are in a secure confidential environment and (2) to fulfill our ethical responsibility of ensuring the emotional and physical safety of every client should anyone ever report suicidal ideation or intent.
4. Check your Tech
Whatever device you elect to use, please request a complimentary test run of your technology with your therapist prior to your first online session to ensure;
• Apps have been downloaded correctly.
• Cell phone coverage is strong enough.
• WIFI or internet service is sufficient.
We do not want waste valuable therapy time syncing up technology. We have found that performing a test run can of our respective technologies significantly helps advance the therapeutic process. There is often nothing more triggering for clients than showing up to therapy online and then spending valuable therapy time trouble shooting their technology.
Hopefully, by doing a test run, we can work out as many of the bugs as possible prior to your appointment. Occasionally, we may still encounter technical difficulties on either end of the user experience. We’ll do our very best to place ourselves in a secure location with strong internet service on devices that can handle the task of meeting with you online.
Thank you for trusting Elbow Tree in this season as we navigate this new moment in history when we seek alternative means for helping maintain the continuity of your counseling experience. We look forward to journeying with you in this season and we look forward to the opportunity of meeting with you face to face as soon as we are cleared medically and legally to do so.
Do not hesitate to reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org should you have any questions.