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 August 17th, 2020

We are now in the Government plan Phase Three​ of the Roadmap for Reopening Society and Business.

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 travelers and common questions. 

The main points remain to keep people safe:

  • Physical distancing should continue to be maintained at all times.​           
  • Wash your hands well and often
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or bent elbow when coughing or sneezing, and discard used tissue safely
  • Distance yourself at least 2 metres away from other people, especially those who might be unwell
  • Limit your contact with others when out and about
  • Keep your close contacts to a small number of people
  • Keep a log of all of your contacts throughout the day
  • Limit the amount of time you spend in direct contact with other people
  • Avoid crowded areas. If an area looks busy, go somewhere else or return at a quieter time

By law, you have to wear a face covering:

Wearing of face coverings is also recommended in the following circumstances:

  • by people visiting the homes of those who are over 70 years of age or who are medically vulnerable
  • by people who are being visited in their homes by those who are over 70 years of age or who are medically vulnerable

Wearing cloth face coverings may help prevent people who do not know they have COVID-19 from spreading it to others.

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 three 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.

Transitioning back to Face to Face work:

Every therapist’s situation will be unique, IAPTP suggests you work within your code o​f ethics in tandem with the Governmen​t​ recommendations for keeping people safe in your workplace, if you are making a decision to return to face to face work.

Some points to consider if returning to face to face work:

  • Can you & your client/group keep two meters apart during your session?
  • Can you provide hand washing facilities before sessions?
  • Can you use face shields of other appropriate face coverings?
  • Can you consider limiting resources & toys in the room?
  • Can you consider individual play packs for clients?
  • 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.

For Therapists Adapting to Online Work:

Online therapy may be provided by IAPTP pre-accredited and accredited members (not student members unless already qualified as a counsellor or psychotherapist) once you have completed and received a CPD certificate confirming attendance, of at least one day in duration, in specialised Tele-Play Therapy. 

Once such training is completed and certificate has been received, members should ensure that IAPTP receives appropriate verification of certification. 

This training is to cover you as a short term​ intervention where face to face work is not​ possible due to the Coronavirus. Should you be considering using online therapy in a more long-term way as part of your practice, you must seek out appropriate training for this.

Some online Play Therapy Resources:

https://www.playtherapyonlinetraining.com/

Lorri Yasenik: Tele Play Therapy Guidelines – https://www.lorriyasenik.com/tele-play-therapy/

Ethical and Professional Consideration

After completion of Tele-Play Therapy training, and prior to commencement of therapy in this manner, IAPTP members should link in closely with their supervisor to discuss the suitability of clients, and individual factors concerning the member, prior to starting this work. You should follow your supervisors’ recommendations. 

We need to be fully ethical and professional in our considerations, online methods may not be suitable in all cases and we should remain open to only working in the best interests of the client within our professional competencies.

We are responding to an unprecedented event, and while navigating these times we must continue to ground ourselves and take a considered approach as we would in any other set of circumstances.

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