In light of the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) pandemic, Step By Step Counseling has been offering virtual services through a HIPAA compliant platform.  We made this decision to reduce the likelihood of the virus’ spread as well as protecting our clinicians and clients who were part of the vulnerable or at risk populations.  Our number one priority is the health and wellbeing of our community.  

We understand the past few months have been tough for many families. We are happy to annouce that we will be opening our office, in phases over the next few months, while also continuing to offer telehealth sessions.  We have pulled requirements from our liability insurance, the county health department and the CDC. We will continue to review recommendations of public health officials and follow regulations as long as it’s recommended.  We have strategically put saftey procedures in place to protect the health and wellness of both our clients and our clinicians. We want to assure all of our clients and future clients that we are doing everything we can to provide qualty services and making appropriate adjustments to our previous systems.

While there are so many unknowns about Covid-19, our plan is to be proactive and strategic.  The staff at Step By Step Counseling will use these guidelines as the minimum standard for in person counseling services. For your safety and the safety of our staff and community, clients must comply with all measures and protocols in order to receive in person services at Step By Step Counseling. These protocols are subject to change based on the best information we have from those health officials.​ Below, find what you can expect from us, and also what will be required of all clients attending in-person sessions. 

 

What you can expect from our office

  • Limited number of clinicians and clients allowed in building at one time
  • Common areas will be closed​
  • On-site screening questions for employees ensuring they are fever and symptom free
  • Employees will be required to wear face masks when in public areas
  • Employees will be required to wash their hands with soap & water in between clients
  • Employees will practice and encourage social distancing 
  • There will be no physical contact (hand shaking, hugs, etc) during greetings or depatures
  • Hand sanitizer will be available  
  • Disinfection procedures followed daily
  • Therapist’s offices will be sanitized before every session
  • Employees will be required to stay home and conduct telehealth sessions if they are ill, or if someone in their house is ill. 
  • Employees will be required to stay home and conduct telehealth sessions if they travel
  • Therapists will encourage telehealth as an option 

What we expect or ask of clients

  • Patience with some of our clinicians. In person visits may not be available for every therapist of Step By Step Counseling, due to their personal needs. 
  • Clients will call ahead if they have symtoms (including allergies) to switch appointment from in-person to telehealth
  • Clients must wait in their car until therapist opens front door at the start of their session. Only client is to approach the building for their session. 
  • Please leave unnecessary items in your vehicle or at home (bags, blankets, toys, etc)  
  • Before clients are allowed to enter the building, they must confirm that they:
    • Do not have a fever 
    • Do not have have the following symtoms: cough, shortness of breath, sore throat, sneezing, runny nose
    • Have not traveled in past 14 days
    • Have not been in contact with somone who tested Positive for Covid-19 or who has had symtoms of Covid 19 in past 14 days
  • Clients who identify as a member of the vulnerable/high risk population must continue teletherapy until further notice. All clients who attend in person therapy sessions agree that they are not a member of the vulnerable or high risk population. 
  • Only client is allowed to enter the building, Currently, our waiting room is closed
  • Clients will be required to wear a mask upon entry & exit of the building
  • Clients will be required to have their tempature checked before entering building
  • Each client must wash their hands with soap and water upon arriving, before session
  • Clients must maintain 6 feet of distance from others
  • Non-Client visitors will NOT be allowed in building
  • If a client is unable to enter the building, client can participate in therapy via telehealth

 

Everyone is telehealth

Step By Step Counseling Phase 1 –  June 2020-Current

  • Step By Step Counseling
    • All Covid-19 accomodations in place
    • Limited number of therapists and clients in building (25% of normal traffic flow)
    • Stagged appointment times to avoid multiple people in public areas at the same time
    • No in-person group therapy 
  • Clinicians
    • Must sign a release indicating that they are not a vulnerable person and that they do not not live with someone in their household who’s a vulnerable person
    • Must adhere to limited time in office, 1/2 day or 1 day a week
    • Encourage telehealth for most clients
  • Clients 
    • Must sign a release indicating that they are not a vulnerable person and that they do not not live with someone in their household who’s a vulnerable person.
    • Must understand that in-person services are high risk 

Step By Step Counseling Phase 2 

Currently our practice is in phase 1. 

  • Step By Step Counseling
    • All Covid-19 accomodations in place
    • Limited number of therapists and clients in building (40% of normal traffic flow)
    • Continue to stagger appointment times to avoid multiple people in public areas at the same time
  • Clinicians: 
    • Must sign a release indicating that they are not a vulnerable or high risk person
    • Continue to encourage telehealth if possible
  • Clients: 
    • Must sign a release indicating that they are not a vulnerable person or high risk person
    • Must understand that in-person services are high risk 

Step By Step Counseling Phase 3 

Currently our practice is in phase 1. 

  • Step By Step Counseling
    • All Covid-19 accomodations in place
    • Limited number of therapists and clients in building (60% of normal traffic flow)
    • Continue to stagger appointment times to avoid multiple people in public areas at the same time
  • Clinicians: 
    • Must sign a release indicating that they are not a vulnerable person
    • Continue to encourage telehealth sessions 
  • Clients: 
    • Must sign a release indicating that they are not a vulnerable person 
    • Must understand that in-person services are high risk 

Step By Step Counseling Phase 4 

Currently our practice is in phase 1. 

  • Step By Step Counseling
    • Will rely on recommendations to determine what safte practices will look like.
    • Limited number of therapists and clients in building (85% of normal traffic flow)
    • Continue to stagger appointment times to avoid multiple people in public areas at the same time
Assess whether in-person sessions are necessary

Per the CDC guidance, therapists and clients are in close contact for a prolonged period of time. Counseling is a high risk activity for the transmission of covid-19. Due to the long incubation period of the COVID-19 virus, as well as the reality that an individual may be a carrier of the virus without any symptoms or awareness, face to face contact with any other member of the community increases risk of transmission of the virus. 

Reasons that might be approriate for in-person sessions: 

  • Client has saftey concerns
  • client has privacy issues
  • Client needs a higher level of care (Suicidal idealtion, age or diagnosis makes telehealth difficult)
  • Client has technology issues (no device, poor internet, etc)
  • Therapy modality used with client is best served in person (EMDR)
  • Cient’s insurance does not cover telehealth
 
Schedules: 

Please be aware that clinician schedules have changed, so your previous appointment times may look different. Over the past 2-3 months our clinicians’ schedules have been shifting and if you had chosen not to utilize telehealth and postponed treatment your therapist may have filled your open spot with another client.  

Uneasyness: 

We understand if these new policies makes our clients feel uncomfortable or uneasy.  Step By Step Counseling will continue to provide individual, couples and family therapy via a telehealth platform. Please visit here to learn more:  Telehealth  

Our office also offers the Parent Hub to help support parents and caregivers if counseling or therapy is not an option. 

Final words: 

We strongly suggest that clients continue to use telehealth for therapy services and that in person sessions be used for clients with whom telehealth is not possible or suggested, such as clients with privacy or safety issues, clients who receive therapy by certain modalities that are not conducive to telehealth, and clients who need a higher level of care.  By choosing in person sessions over telehealth, you recognize the increased risk of contracting the virus in the office and accept that risk.

As states begin to reopen and lift stay at home orders, it’s important to plan & implement policies that protect both clinicians and clients. The COVID-19 virus is a serious and highly contagious disease which has required state and local health officials to provide guidelines in order to manage the spread of the virus.  Our office will do our best to comply with Federal, State and Local Guidelines.  All entities have created guidelines for reopening businesses and reducing the spread of Covid-19. 

RESOURCES FOR KIDS

CoronaVirus Socal Story 

http://tiny.cc/rzu9qz