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Counselor's Response to COVID-19

 

On March 20, 2020, Ray had an opportunity to catch up with Suzanne Gavin, a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, a Nationally Certified Custody Evaluator, and a Nationally Certified Parenting Coordinator.
What caught Ray’s attention, and the attention of other clinicians is her honest breakdown of her transition (and the related anxieties) to what she referred to as a mandated telemental health practice.


COVID-19 has forced many clinicians into a telemental health practice; this pandemic is not just disruptive to our clients, it is to us as well. Suzanne admits the telehealth changes due to COVID-19 were initially anxiety-provoking to her. She openly shared her concerns with Ray: would telemental health affect her presence and connection with her clients, her effectiveness as a behavioral health provider, or the stability of the therapeutic alliance? Could she be her authentic self over video?
After careful research and attending Telehealth Certification Institute’s training, Suzanne has successfully adjusted and engaged in this “mandated” journey. She found that the research on telepsychotherapy and its advantages are consistent. Suzanne also found she does experience intimacy and connection with her clients, just as she did in person. Clients have never seen the inside of her home and she has never seen the inside of theirs. Sharing this space over video provides an intimacy that can not be done in a traditional office setting, and to Suzanne’s relief, the therapeutic alliance was not disrupted. Just the interaction between Ray and Suzanne in this interview demonstrates this benefit, as they both shared details of the interesting objects in their respective spaces.
Suzanne explains how she discussed the transition to her clients, being open by disclosing that they were “thrown in this together”. This eased the transition for Suzanne and her clients because their expectations were similar - they were learning how to do this together. Suzanne compared this transition to exposure therapy, which focuses on facing fear instead of procrastinating. She admitted that being thrown into the situation actually gave her no opportunity to sit in worry and the what if’s, because the present required her to learn to better serve her clients.
The screen is - as Suzanne puts it - “unflinching”; she is now more present with her clients because of the direct face to face contact teleconferencing provides. In her article The benefits of a Coronavirus-mandated telemental health practice, Suzanne shares tips to help other clinicians find their comfort spot with telemental health. In an easy to follow format, Suzanne walks through the necessities for transition such as screen size, recommended HIPAA compliant video platforms, and of course reminding providers to pay attention to payment methods, as all apps are not HIPAA compliant.
Suzanne also shares how instrumental the Telehealth Certification Institute’s training was for her transition. Telehealth laws are ever-changing, and TCI’s coursework covers legal and ethical considerations specific to telemental health. Suzanne also points out and normalizes the “stage fright” associated with doing video conferencing for the first time, citing some clients have requested audio over video for therapy. She and Ray discuss how normalizing this fear is part of the therapeutic process because it shows clients that providers are human too.
Further, Suzanne invites behavioral health providers to reflect on how they do therapy. If being present and authentic is important to the provider, then a visual component is required. Telemental health may also assist clients struggling with adjusting to remote/telework. Many clients may be trying to balance working from home with being parents, on top of being a spouse or partner. Ray and Suzanne discuss how this is a great opportunity for behavioral health providers to help clients with boundaries, at home and at work. Suzanne also reminds us of confidentiality. Due to her population, many clients used her traditional office as a safe place to work through divorce or separation, as well as forensic and visitation related issues.
Ray recommends sending clients instructions on how to create a private space ahead of time. To identify if the client does have privacy prior to the session, Ray recommends a site audit, where the client shows the behavioral health provider their environment and technology. Encourage clients to download a sound machine app or a white noise app to help blend external sounds in their home into background noise. There are many apps for IOS and Android for download.
To follow Suzanne on her website. She can be contacted here or by phone at 516-236-3116. Suzanne is also listed on ZocDoc.

 

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Course was very informative!
David Hopkins
MS, LPC / Thriveworks Woodstock
Informative and brief
Tracy Gilbert
Well designed. informative, comprehensive program broken down into manageable segments.
Dawn M. Miskus
Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor (LCPC) / Conscious Counseling & Coaching, Ltd.
This course offered a great overview of TeleMental Health and the important considerations that should be addressed when establishing an online practice.
Helen Geris
Registered Psychotherapist
Wonderful and approachable presenter, great information!
Sabrina Eads
I have completed the course requirements. Thank you a great program of videos and information.
Linda Lovisi-Dwyer
LCSW-R / Linda Lovisi-Dwyer, LCSW-R
Good introduction
Sylvia D. Jessup, MBA, MA
Owner / Sylvia Jessup Counseling Services PLLC
Very clear emergency planning laid out in this course, Helpful for many situation and settings.
Jane Schindler
The course was detailed.
Kelly Villarreal
MFT / Alan Behrman & Associates
EXCELLENT PRESENTATION
DAVID F. CIAMPI, Ph.D., LMHC.
Really chuck full of information and very helpful
Carolyn Spencer
social work
Great course!
Lashonda Jones
Ray's program is engaging and informative. I'm excited to extend my professional reach online.
Pamela Madsen
LAPC / Empower Counseling Center, LLC

Very informative session.

Valrey Richards-Lucas

Video was good, a little slow

Jessica Walraven

This is great material!

Erika T Johnson

Very Informative!!!!

DALAYNA MILLER

Really good training so far!

Erika T Johnson
LAC

Excellent information, extremely generous resources and so well paced. I am really grateful.

Carolyn Spencer
LCSW / Carolyn Spencer

Very thorough and informative

DALAYNA MILLER

This program is very informative and easy to use.

Gania Bruno Harrold
LCSW / IN THERAPY WE TRUST

Love the convenience and easy-to-understand information in this course.

Natalia Gourlay-Fernandez
LAMFT / Rock Springs Positive Coaching, Caring, and Counseling

Very informative. Help give an overview of tele therapy and starting an online practice.

Meg Maginn
L.C.S.W Private Practice / Eating Disorder Associates

The course was easy to follow and provided a lot of valuable insight into the benefits and limitations to teletherapy.

Katie-Ann Magnuson
Mental Heath Therapist / Kwenyan Professional Health Services

Wonderfully compact and rich in information, many areas i had not even considered!

VIRGINIA PROVENCHER
therapist / private practice
Very informative and guiding in educating all that you need to grasp to be properly compliant and aware.
Dena Damaskinos
A great overview for telehealth, including state to state
Susan Cortilet Jones
Integrative Lifeskills Coach

Great presentation!

Cristina Lazaro-Garcia
Mental Health Clinician, APC / CETPA, View Point Health
Oustanding presentation!!!
Michelle Collins

Helpful and inviting information to get started. Feel empowered to get this going and eager to start!

Dena Damaskinos

Well presented, easy to access and understand.

Sedonia Perrier
CEO / Steelhead LLC

This was very informative.

Wendy Pazdur
Substance Abuse Counselor / Transformation therapy
This course was full of detailed information, that I will utilize in my practice. I highly recommend this training to all interested in adding to their existing practice or transitioning to Telehealth Services.
Utopia Session
Class was informative.
Kimberly Horrell
This course was short yet informative.
Annette Cornish
Therapist / Dust 2 Destiny Counseling & Wellness
Great training!
Jacqueline Hayes, M.Ed., LPC, LMHP
Professional Counselor 4 / State of LA
Ray was a wonderful, interactive instructor who really captured the heart of counseling in the world of Telehealth. The course was thorough and beneficial. Two thumbs up!
Rachel Morales
Licensed Professional Counselor
Ray does a spectacular job presenting the ethics in technology! Thank you!
Elaine Marie Barclay
Licensed Professional Counselor/ Assistant Professor / Shorter University/ Capella University
Very beneficial and useful to the direction i am moving of providing therapy
Linda Marie Margosian, MS, NCC, LMHC
I thought the video was very informative and gave me a good back ground on Telehealth , hippa laws and things I needed to know to run an ethical and hippa complent practice .
Meg Maginn
Director /private practitioner / Eating Disorder Associates

I believe this is a good course to take because this is the new wave of society. As a therapist I would like to be able to offer clients the best tools available.

Wihletta Michelle Davis MA, LPC
Therapist / Find the Miracle Within...

Thank you for the introduction to telemental health.

Michele Frances Purvin
Psychotherapist / Michele Frances Purvin, LCSW, LCDC

Very good.

Franklin Castillo

Really excellent training full of valuable information and resources - surpassed my expectations!

Dori Ryherd
Therapist / The Cognitive Refinery

Great information with step by step instructions

Donna Tucker
Addiction Counselor / Spectrum Health

What a superb introduction to telemental health, well organized and packed with useful tips. I so appreciate this. Thank you.

Ann P Cahouet
Owner - Clinician / Equine Assisted Solutions LLC

Awesome job! This is a very insightful presentation.

ZUNILDA CHAUDRY
Licensed Therapist, LPC / Seasons of Change Behavioral Health Services, Inc
Ray is down-to-earth, warm, pragmatic and exceptionally well-informed.
G. Reid Doster, LPC, LMFT
Director of Behavioral Health, EXCELth Inc.Primary Health Network & Private Practice Psychotherapist / www.excelth.com

An excellent course, but needs more legal information regarding where the patient needs to reside.

Barry Barmann
Clinical Psychologist / Behavior Therapy & Family Counseling Clinic
This legal course was phenomenal saturated with much detail and clarity!
Elaine Marie Barclay
Licensed Professional Counselor, Assistant Professor / Capella University and Shorter University
Great and very informative! Will help me take my skills to a new level. Gave me a great idea of how the session should go.
Jessica Latin
LPC / JL Counseling

Course provided several case scenarios regarding Interstate counseling and resource websites for further research.

Cowenda Jefferson
Clinical Director / Wise Life Choices LLC
Course provided additional information regarding the legal aspects of TeleMental Health.
Cowenda Jefferson
Clinical Director / Wise LIfe Choices LLC
I have completed prior training by Raymond and greatly appreciate his detailed and thorough trainings.
Dr Lynn Duffy, PsyD, LCPC, NCC, CCMHC, BCPCC, BC-TMH, Diplomate/CMH in Trauma
Director/Counselor/Mediator / Lighthouse Counseling & Consulting Services
This course was most helpful in helping me make my practice more compliant for me and my clients.
Marlene Small
Private Psychotherapist
This is the 4th TMH course I have taken with Ray and it is BY FAR the best TMH training out there. I've learned so much that I can use every day in my practice.
Dawn Ferrara
LPC-S, LMFT

Very Informative

Naomie Pierre
community clinician / nps
I loved this course. It was very informative and provide a great deal of information about ethics.
Tracey Marshall
Easy to learn and easy to follow. User friendly on-line course.
Kelly Johnson
Licensed Mental Health Therapist

Awesome

Melissa J Davis
LAPC- counselor
This was a phenomenal training and necessary for the continued growth of all helping professionals. This will certainly improve the manner in which I conduct counseling.
Elaine Marie Barclay
This training was extremely informative and supportive for professionals looking to gain further knowledge in Telemental health.
Marcy Abramsky
LCSW / Marcy Abramsky LCSW, InspireAmind TM Counseling and Consulting
I found this video to be very informative and helpful.
Michelle Parker
Contract Therapist

Great course, very informative!

Ashley Simmons
BCBA / Northstar Psychological Services

Love the course, worth every penny!!! Definitely helped jump start my Tele-mental health services!

Nakia Clark
Owner/ Therapist / Insightfullly You, LLC

This gave me and my staff some important insights and information regarding telehealth..

Larry Cowan
Executive Director / Samaritan Counseling and Growth

This course was easy and user friendly

Vanessa Reiser
Social Worker / JBFCS

I learned a great deal from this program and look forward to implementing telemental health in my therapy practice.

Michelle Hitchcock
Therapist

It was fantastic! Just the forms he provides are worth the cost of the course!

Mark Wagemaker, LPC, NCC, DCC, CPCS
Counselor, Clinical Supervisor / Transitions Counseling

This was an excellent class and worth my time.  Ray provided great information and is clearly an expert in TMH!

Jennifer Stuckert
Director / Restoration Counselor of Atlanta, LLC

I found these courses informative and helpful. They make establishing best practices policies and procedures for telemental health services and supervising those who provide them. so much easier. I highly recommend his courses.

Nena Rybarczyk, MA, EMBA, LPC, NCC, CPCS
Counselor / Strategies for Life Counseling, LLC

Ray's workshop was one of the most informative I have taken in years. He brought clarity to took a topic which has been intimidating and I left feeling empowered!

TRUDY POST SPRUNK, LMFT-S LPC CPCS RPT-S CPT-S EMD
Clinical Supervisor and Play Therapist / Georgia Association for Play Therapy