COVID-19 Resources for Therapists

March 26, 2020

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Note that we are not attorneys, therapists, doctors, or legislators. We recommend reviewing state and federal guidelines regarding therapy and teletherapy during this time.

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COVID-19 has changed the way that most therapists practice.

Although these are strange times for our personal and professional lives, there are many resources in place to help you carry on as normally as possible.

Here, we go over:

  • Informed consent
  • Video chat services and HIPAA
  • Techniques for dealing with fatigue

Let’s get started.

Informed content resources

The majority of therapists have switched either part or all of their practice to teletherapy, which is meeting with patients virtually via video chat.

Although teletherapy is common because of COVID-19, it still requires consent from clients. To do this, you should:

  • Inform your client about teletherapy
  • Obtain consent in either written or verbal form
  • Document the consent in the client’s treatment notes

The federal government has relaxed HIPAA regulations, but it’s still best practice to use an informed consent form. These are unprecedented times, so erring on the side of caution is best.

Additionally, even though it’s not required, we recommend informing clients of potential privacy risks when using video chat.

Where to get an informed consent form for teletherapy

If you need an informed consent form for teletherapy, we recommend visiting https://www.telehealthresourcecenter.org/ and selecting your region. From there, you will be directed to your region’s telehealth resource center website. On these websites, you should be able to find examples of informed consent forms for teletherapy.

Although it’s best to consult with an attorney on any legally binding document, these examples are a great place to start.

HIPAA compliant video chat services

According to the Office of Civil Rights (OCR), healthcare providers can use “any non-public facing remote communication product.” In fact, the OCR says that it will not enforce penalties for non-compliance in connection with “the good faith provision of telehealth” during the COVID-19 public health emergency.

But, as we said before, it’s best to choose a video chat service carefully.

Since HIPAA regulations have been relaxed, more video chat services are compliant.

Although information regarding COVID-19 seems to change by the day, at the time of this writing, the following video chat services are HIPAA-compliant:

  • G-Suite (not Google Hangouts)
  • Zoom
  • Simple Practice
  • Theranest
  • iTherapy

If you need to see clients during COVID, we can help you.

Instead of paying a full month of rent on an office, pay for a therapy room for as little as $12 per session.

Schedule a tour

Techniques for minimizing fatigue from teletherapy

Self-care is always crucial for therapists, but when dramatically changing your practice, it’s even more important.

One way that you can take care of yourself is by minimizing fatigue while seeing patients virtually. In fact, some therapists report that seeing clients virtually is more tiring compared to in-person sessions.

To maintain your energy, we recommend the following:

  • Take walks. Even if they’re five to ten minutes, moving around and getting fresh air does wonders.
  • Get enough sleep. Although it’s natural when sitting down in front of a computer for hours at a time, getting drowsy during telehealth sessions isn’t a good look.
  • Exercise. When you exercise, your body releases surges of hormones that are associated with higher energy levels.
  • Breathwork and meditation. Immediately recenter with meditation and intentional breathing. There are many meditation apps available, such as Calm and Headspace. Even five minutes can make a difference.

These are our recommendations, but you know your body best. Do whatever makes you feel energized to cope during COVID-19 and teletherapy.

For more resources on teletherapy and COVID-19, you can visit the APA’s resources for COVID-19.

Meet the author

Kristie Plantinga

Kristie Plantinga is the founder of Therapieseo LLC, a website design and marketing agency specializing in SEO for therapists. She has a passion for helping private practitioners help more people by designing and optimizing their websites for search.

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