Has COVID-19 Suddenly Made Your Life A Lot More Difficult?
Are you struggling with misophonia and your entire day has changed due to the novel coronavirus pandemic? Perhaps you have a hard time dealing with the noisy environment stay-at-home orders have forced you to live with. You may be growing more anxious and upset being stuck at home 24 hours a day. And even though you’re surrounded by people you care about, you’re desperate to escape the situation.
Or are you a parent who is schooling your children at home for the first time in your life? Trying to help children with dyslexia, learning disabilities, ADHD, or autism do school work may have you feeling perplexed, frustrated, and confused, to say the least. Worse even, like many parents in Seattle, you may be employed in the technology industry and work from home, which has suddenly become infinitely more difficult with children in the house all day.
Being forcibly thrown into this situation is affecting your whole family. While you might use this time for reflection and refocusing, everybody in your household is likely more fatigued, more anxious, and less capable of and generous with regulating their emotions. And you desperately need help coping during this difficult time.
You’re Not Alone, We’re Here To Help
While this pandemic will eventually pass, the ripples of COVID-19 won’t subside within just a month or two. In Seattle, schools will be closed until the end of the year. And many companies will likely require their workers to stay at home for an extended time, even once the shelter-in-place order has ended.
We cannot change that situation, as much as we may want to. What we can offer is our advice and support. You’re not alone!
We realize that many of our clients are trying to find ways to continue with their therapy and have wondered if at least part of the treatment could be done online. After all, a lot of psychotherapists are taking advantage of the possibilities online therapy offers.
For talk therapy, the use of this medium is very common, but the specialized interventions we offer are difficult to do online. Nonetheless, in light of the current situation, we have decided that some of our expertise and certain portions of our treatment can be offered online. At the same time, we will also continue providing direct, in-person interventions using the equipment in our office under very clear guidelines.
How We Integrate Online Consultations Into Therapeutic Interventions
For new clients, we will first conduct a free, 30-minute phone consultation to see if we’re suited to help you or if we need to refer you to somebody else. If we determine that our services are right for you, we can set up an online meeting to begin intake and intervention planning.
During online consultations, we use Doxy.me, a HIPAA-compliant teletherapy platform that supports several browsers, including Chrome, Firefox, and Safari. All you require is a PC, tablet, or smartphone with a microphone and webcam. There’s no need to download any app or program. At the time of the appointment, you will receive an invitation with a link to enter the meeting. It’s that simple.
For in-office intervention, we follow strict social-distancing and hygiene practices—the use of visors, masks, sanitizing supplies, etc. We also schedule only a single appointment at a time, allowing a window of two hours for each session (which includes a buffer of 15 minutes before and afterward) so that nobody has to be exposed to any other client coming or going.
Which Parts Of The Therapy Services Can Be Done Online And Which Must Take Place In Office?
Although part of the testing and treatment have to be done in office, some testing and much of the consulting portion of our therapy program, such as discussing results, can be done online. This will help minimize exposure by reducing the time clients have to spend at our office while, at the same time, providing a means to gather relevant information, discuss intervention planning, and make decisions for each person.
More specifically, we’ll approach intervention as follows:
Dr. Alfred Tomatis Listening Program – Testing and sound/listening therapy for the Tomatis method will take place in office while the consulting portions will be done online.
qEEG (LoRETA) Neurofeedback – qEEG recording and Neurofeedback treatment will take place in our office, and the conversation about findings and results descussion will be online.
Learning and Attention Issues – The consultation can be done online if the client doesn’t need intervention. But if the issues require an intervention that calls for the use of auditory or brain-mapping equipment, it has to be done in office.
Anxiety/Depression Treatment – As with learning and attention issues, the consulting takes place online unless the client needs intervention. That would then take place in office.
Of course, there are some obstacles to online therapy. We all know that social interaction is key to the human experience. Yet, despite its imperfections—missing the depth perception and some aspects of the body language—video therapy sessions online are certainly better than phone conversations. They let you connect to your current therapist or get better acquainted with a new therapist and allow you to be more fully seen. For us, this medium is a good interim solution for the services we offer.
Perhaps you still have some concerns about the online portion of our treatment methods…
Can online therapy really be as effective as in-person therapy?
That is a hard thing to determine at this point. Clearly, online therapy saves you the time of going to an office for treatment and offers the advantage of avoiding exposure. And even if it’s not the same as meeting in person, it gives you the chance to talk to a therapist when you need support.
However, we also have to consider the impact of the current pandemic and weigh closely what can be done at home and what can’t. Thus, a very careful consideration needs to be made person-by-person.
I’m not sure if teletherapy services offer enough privacy/confidentiality.
The platform we use, Doxy.com, is HIPAA compliant and uses encryption codes. We also have a Virtual Private Network (VPN) on all computers in our offices which assures privacy protection.
To ensure privacy from your end, ideally, we encourage you to regard online sessions as if you’re going to our office by yourself. Find a place where you can be alone, uninterrupted, and present. Therapy—in-person or not—would not be as effective if we couldn’t have full presence. In particular, if we were to do any online testing, there can be no interruption of any kind, otherwise, the comparison to a normative database is not possible.
Even with the precautions you’re taking, I’m not sure if I’m comfortable coming for in-person treatment right now.
Would it really be better to just postpone therapy until it is safe to have social contact again? That’s a personal matter to ponder. While some things certainly can wait for a few months, if you have issues that need immediate attention—such as obstacles that keep schooling from moving forward—you should at least talk to a therapist online.
Not every issue requires in-office intervention. During an online consultation, we can identify problems and make appropriate recommendations for implementing workable solutions at home that can help reduce the anxiety, stress, and fatigue you and your children have to endure.
Are your online therapy services covered by insurance?
At this point, some of our services can be submitted for out of network coverage by the client. We are not contracted with insurance companies nor do we communicate with them. And while Washington state does encourage health insurance to cover online therapy, it’s always best to check with your insurance provider to make sure.
COVID-19 Does Not Have To Stand In The Way Of Treatment
If you’re ready to take the next step, you can call 206-522-8873 for a free, 30-minute consultation. Online therapy may allow a little bit more flexibility in our schedule, and thus, we will do our best to accommodate your needs.