Covid-19 Information Hub

We’ll be adding more information and guidance to this hub whenever we can, so please check back regularly.

Last updated 18th May 2020

We are now in the Government plan Phase One of the Roadmap for Reopening Society and Business, beginning May 18th, 2020.

The main points remain to keep people safe:

  • We are being advised to stay home as much as we can
  • Up to four people who don’t live together can meet outdoors, providing they can keep to 2 meter distance
  • Remote working is recommended for all businesses where possible

Counselling and Psychotherapy are considered an essential service and face-to-face sessions are allowable as long as the Government protocol and guidelines for social distancing are followed.

Under the Health and Social Care section there are two points that relate specifically to our work: 

Health and social care

  • Continuing to deliver care and services in new ways (for example: through telephone, online, virtual clinics) and new models of care to meet demand and to alleviate concerns of patients, service users and healthcare workers
  • The use of masks, personal protective equipment, testing and other measures that may emerge over time.
  • continuing to support the mental health and wellbeing initiatives directed to meeting the diverse mental health and resilience needs of the public during these times.

Therapists must apply their professional judgement and refer to their insurers and or employers, where applicable, and continue consulting with their supervisors and the IAPTP Code of Ethics. 

If you are considering transitioning back to face to face work, here are some points to consider:

  • Can you & your client/group keep two meters apart during your session?
  • Can you provide hand washing facilities before sessions?
  • Should you consider limiting resources & toys in the room? 
  • Should there be longer spaces between clients, to clean items used? 
  • How are we & our clients traveling to the therapy room? Are people at risk on public transport? 
  • This set of parameters will be unique to each therapist so we will all have to use our critical thinking and risk assess as we go.

Virus Information

We are advising people who are looking for information about the virus to visit the Gov.ie website, where you will find the most up-to-date information, including what to do if you are worried you might have symptoms, advice for travellers and common questions. 

Checklist for Therapists Adapting to Online Work:

Some points to remember while assessing and adapting to online practices, that also apply to our face to face practice:

  • Risk assess as you would with face to face work, when considering if you are the appropriate person to work with this client.
  • Pay special attention to any high risk referrals – Clients self harming or a suicide risk, at risk of harming others, or at risk from being harmed by others. 
  • Consider what safeguarding protocols you can put into place – Do you know your clients location? Do you have a contact for someone close to the client in the case of an emergency? Do you know what support your client has around them?
  • Your Supervision and Code of Ethics remain your best guidance when making decisions for you and your clients.
  • Working within your range of competencies – the same assessments should be made to ensure you are working within your competency range whether working remotely or face to face.
  • For IAPTP re-accreditation – Maintain once a month supervision at a minimum. 
  • If your practice is on hold due to Covid 19, you will need to provide a letter from your supervisor when applying for re-accreditation, stating that you returned to supervision as you returned to your practice.
  • For any member looking for re-accreditation who stopped practicing for more than a year, please refer to the Re-accreditation Bye Laws for guidance on becoming accredited again.

Online Tools:

IAPTP cannot recommend a particular platform over another as there are many to choose from and they are continuously updating their services. It is up to each one of us to stay informed with updates and changes to online tools.

Some considerations to make when choosing a platform to hold a therapeutic conversation:

  • End to end encryption – no use of the internet is without its risks, however, using an online platform that provides end to end encryption is one way to ensure you are providing as private a space as possible.
  • Password protected: if holding sessions in a ‘meeting room’ type platform (eg. Zoom) ensure your session/meeting is password protected to prevent anyone wandering into your session.
  • If your platform provider has a ‘share screen’ option, ensure this is set to the meeting host (therapist) only.
  • Some platforms allow recording: Discuss with your client if they or you can/cannot record the session. (risk assess if your client understands what might happen to a recorded session afterwards)
  • Create a back-up plan with your client: Having a session interrupted by technical issues is going to happen – Have a back-up plan with your client to connect through telephone, text or some alternative mode of communication.

Resources:

Daniel Siegel – Ongoing Current Series of Talks – 

How to be with ourselves and our clients during Covid 19

https://www.crowdcast.io/e/PEPPTalk/1

https://www.crowdcast.io/e/PEPPTalk?utm_source=profile&utm_medium=profile_web&utm_campaign=profile

European Association of Psychotherapy Guidance for Online Psychotherapy:

http://news.europsyche.org/eap_member_information_20_covid-19/EAPonlineGuidance.pdf

Routlage & Taylor Francis – Conducting Online Therapy

https://www.routledge.com/rsc/downloads/Conducting_Online_Therapy.pdf