To have your therapy session via video conference:
I will be using Zoom to have remote sessions. Our Zoom platform allows for HIPAA-compliant, end-to-end encrypted video communication. This is not possible via Skype or FaceTime. To be ready to have a video session, I've outlined the following steps you should take:
1) On most computer browsers and devices, you can clikc through the link I will send to join the video session. You can also download the Zoom app for your computer, phone, or tablet. This is best done from App Store or Google Play - search for zoom.us.
The process is streamlined if you create a Zoom account and sign in using an email address. Children should use a parent's Zoom account.
2) For each session, I will set up a meeting on Zoom and send you an email invitation to the email address I have on file. The email will specify the date and time (typically your regular session time) and have a link to the Zoom meeting. Click on that link to join the meeting at its start time.
3) Before a first scheduled online session:
- make sure your forward-facing camera works, to enable video chats,
- have a quiet, private place to talk, preferably with a closed door. Some have found it helpful to have white noise outside a closed door for added privacy. (Helpful hint: Amazon's Alexa and Google's Home assistant both have white noise apps that can serve this purpose.)
- let others know that you cannot be disturbed during the time we are meeting,
- consider using headphones with a microphone as you would when making a hands-free phone call. This helps make the conversation easier and more natural (people tend to speak too loudly if just using the device's built-in speaker). This also helps with privacy if someone might overhear through a closed door in your home or office.
- 4) About 5 minutes before the scheduled session time, start your Zoom app. Find the email I sent and click on the included link. That should take you automatically to the meeting window and you will be in a virutal 'waiting room.' If that link does not work, use the meeting ID and password also included in the email. Once I have started the meeting on my end, I will see you are in the 'waiting room' and will start the session. Your audio will typically connect automatically, but you will have to find the 'start video' button to activate your camera.
TO ENABLE VIDEO: On a computer desktop, there is a button on the lower left of the meeting screen to enable your camera so I can see you. On an device (iPhone/iPad/Android/Tablet), tap the screen to display the menu and tap on the 'start video' on the upper right hand corner.
If you cannot see yourself, I cannot see you either.
5) I have sent every teletherapy patient an Telepsychology Addendum to my consent form that addresses specific concerns that may arise from this form of temporary clinical contact. Please read it carefully and let me know if you have any questions.
6) If you are paying be credit card, I will send you a text message link via Ivy Pay, a HIPAA-compliant payment platform for psychotherapists. You can then enter your card number securely for payment. I will mail you the invoice for each session so you can continue to file for reimbursement. If you typically pay by check, I will ask that you drop a check in the mail.
I am aware that this may not work for everyone and it is less desirable than face-to-face sessions. Some of the younger children may not be able to do an online session or need a shortened one. Some people will be at their workplaces and do not have an appropriately private place or suitable device to do a remote session. I am happy to be flexible as I can, including shorter sessions as needed for children, and working around changes in your schedule or availability.
This obviously will be a challenging time for all of us as we figure out what the next weeks and months hold. Let's all work together to stay healthy and minimize the risk of transmission. I hope, as I'm sure you do, that things will return to normal as quickly as possible.