While my practice has introduced online therapy, I am still able to see patients in person, especially if they require advanced help. Whether or not this need is pertinent can be based on a therapist’s judgement call, and made on a case-by-case basis. Other times, in-person therapy is used to help those who can not access or adapt to online therapy. These exceptions apply to both children and adults who need mental health help.
In these special cases, measures have been implemented in my practice to keep everyone safe, and to limit the spread of disease. These measures include the following:
- A larger, more spacious and ventilated room. I’ve moved my therapy space to one that is 2.5 times larger than my previous therapy room. It also has a much higher ceiling, and good ventilation.
- Fewer appointments scheduled per day. I ensure there is enough time in between sessions to sanitize and air out the therapy room.
- Extra sanitization and cleaning. I sanitize the therapy room before and after each session. I use a fogger that sprays mists of hypochlorous acid on surfaces, fabrics and toys. This is the same system that is used by many dentists. Hypochlorous acid is safe and effective for sanitization. See more info below.
- Symptom screening upon client arrival. I ask clients to fill out and sign a questionnaire regarding their (or their child’s) health before we begin sessions. It is similar to the ones asked at other professional offices.
- Limiting the number of people who come into the office. I ask that only children come into the office for play therapy sessions. Parents and siblings should wait in their car or go somewhere else during the appointment.
- Asking clients to wash their hands upon arrival, and after each session. Especially when it comes to children, I ask that everyone washes their hands at my office.
In addition, I also ask that parents explain the need for physical distancing to their children. They should do this before play therapy sessions. Most of the time, children understand this, and are used to it, since they follow these guidelines at school.
Children do not wear a mask during my play therapy sessions. I personally feel it’s important that they feel comfortable, which is pertinent for effective therapy to take place. For parents who want their children to wear a mask, I also respect that. As the therapist, I do wear a mask.
Some children may feel that the physical distancing is challenging or too overwhelming. If this becomes a hindrance to therapy, we may need to postpone sessions or change to the online format.
About hypochlorous acid
Hypochlorous acid is a type of bleaching solution created by the electrolysis of water, salt and vinegar. It is 100x more powerful than bleach, but safe for humans. It produces only a faint smell that goes away very fast. Since I use a professional misting system to spray it throughout the therapy room, it also dries out very fast. It doesn’t leave a residue where it has been sprayed.
Learn more about my online counselling options
I write about parent and adult online counselling, here.
For information about online therapy for children and teens, see this page.
If you have any further questions, please feel free to be in touch.