In the aftermath of the Covid-19 epidemic, the County of San Diego issued directives requiring the use of protective face masks in healthcare facilities, including offices such as mine. As of April 2023, however, the county has lifted the requirement, but continues to “strongly recommend” the use of face masks (click here to find the county’s Covid-19 regulations and recommendations).
With this change I no longer ask clients to wear a face mask when we meet in person. That said, I am more than willing to use a face mask should any client have that preference, and I continue to make face masks available in the office waiting area. 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 video-conference sessions whenever they are experiencing such symptoms.
- 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 a Covid-19 PCR test after I travel, whenever I feel ill, and whenever I have reason to believe I may have been exposed to the virus.