Given the risks posed by the COVID-19 virus, I take certain precautions whenever I provide services in person. Of course, it’s worth noting that no set of procedures is foolproof, and there is always some risk of exposure to COVID-19 when meeting in person. Further, although COVID-19 vaccinations can mitigate the severity of illness, even a mild bout of COVID-19 can result in “long COVID.” A client who wants to minimize the risk of contracting the virus should consider treatment via telehealth; in fact, many clients find that meeting through online video-conference calls works well, and there is convincing research that supports the efficacy of psychotherapy offered through telehealth. That said, some clients prefer meeting in person. So here are the steps I take (and ask my clients to take) in an effort to reduce the COVID-19 risks associated with meeting in person:
- I stay up-to-date with CDC recommended Covid-19 vaccinations, and request that any client who meets with me in person be current as well.
- I do not meet in person with clients when I am experiencing any “cold” or “flu” or other symptoms associated with COVID-19, and I ask clients to reschedule appointments or meet via telehealth whenever they are experiencing such symptoms.
- I always wear a face mask when meeting with clients in person, and ask that clients do the same.
- My office is arranged in such a way that I am six feet apart from my clients when I meet with them, and I keep an air purifier running nearby.
- There is generally a 30 minute gap between my appointments, and my waiting room isn’t shared with any other offices, so it’s unlikely that clients who come to my office will cross paths with others.
- It is my practice to undergo an “at home” COVID-19 antigen test every week or so, and to supplement that testing with a PCR test after I travel, whenever I feel ill, and whenever I have reason to believe I may have been exposed to the virus.