Our clients need us now more than ever.
Isolation and loneliness are linked to increased depression, anxiety, immunodeficiency, and relationship disruption (1). Existing mental health and substance use issues will be exacerbated by the emotional and financial stress induced by the COVID19 crisis, and telehealth will be an invaluable tool in connecting with our clients and giving them the care they need.
The COVID-19 crisis has launched clinicians into the world of telehealth, and for many, it is a brand new frontier. We know that you are dedicated to providing excellent, accessible care whether in-person or through telehealth; we have created a tips and tricks video to help our colleagues, and have gathered some vmaterials that may be helpful in understanding telemedicine and engaging clients.
Thank you for your ongoing dedication, perseverance, and good humor. We are proud of our mental health and addiction recovery professional community; the work we do saves lives.
- Teletherapy for Patients with OUD During Covid-19 and Beyond (WEBINAR) — April 27, 2020 at 5:00 PM EDT
- RELIAS Trainings: (log into https://hdisp.training.reliaslearning.com and choose “Browse Elective Courses” to add these to your course list!)
- Clinical Assessment via Telehealth Applications
- Best Practices for Delivering Telehealth
Tele-health Tips and Tricks
Telehealth Set Up
- Practice ahead of time if possible
- Ensure good internet connection and “favorite” important sites so they’re readily available
- Place camera at eye-level
- Ensure that your background is appropriate and professional
- Wear professional Attire
- Ensure good lighting (primary light source should be in front of therapist facing camera)
- Minimize background noise
- Ensure confidentiality (others should not be in the room, follow all standard HIPAA guidelines)
Tools for Engaging Clients
- Orient the clients to the telemedicine process
- Smile, and speak directly into the camera
- Use props as appropriate (white boards/markers, illustrations, etc)
- Use mindfulness strategies to help clients with anxiety; guided mindfulness exercises tend to translate well in telemedicine arena
- When appropriate, offer special support around relationships, as social relationships may be exacerbated and/or altered by the stay-home/stay-safe measures***The following links can be copied and pasted into the “chat” section of your Doxy or Zoom group/individual session
- The Gottman Institute offers some amazing FREE online quizzes that clients can complete and discuss with therapist during tele-session: https://www.gottman.com/blog/category/column/relationship-quizzes/
- The Chapman “Five Languages of Love” quiz (available for teens, singles, couples, and children) and associated suggestion series is another great/fun tool for clients to complete and discuss with therapist during tele-session (therapists: this is super fun for you to do too!): https://www.5lovelanguages.com/quizzes/
- This is a great time for clients to reflect on and explore career thoughts, strengths, and opportunities. The Department of Labor has a great career coaching quiz (O*Net Interest Profiler) that clients can complete and explore with therapist during session: https://www.mynextmove.org/explore/ip
- For passive engagement, you may play online chess, mahjong, or any other appropriate games (avoid card games or anything associated with gambling)
- There is a multitude of ONLINE recovery resources that clients can use during this time; therapist and client can virtually explore resources together and discuss in session: https://www.samhsa.gov/sites/default/files/virtual-recovery-resources.pdf
- Journaling is an excellent tool and skill that clinicians can encourage clients to use. You can encourage clients to choose a journal prompt weekly to write about and discuss in session. Ideas: https://psychcentral.com/blog/30-journaling-prompts-for-self-reflection-and-self-discovery/