I have just emailed all of my clients the below message around Coronavirus. Not much more to add really, but felt it was worth putting onto my site somewhere.
As I am sure you are aware there is an increasing level of concern for a lot of people around the Coronavirus pandemic. I am sending this message to all of my clients to reassure that I will be able to continue to work remotely and honour our future appointments should there be an increase in restriction on travel or public meetings.
If you are already concerned about travelling to and from your appointment with me please let me know and we can arrange to have sessions in the immediate future over telephone or an application called Zoom which handles video calls. I do not use Skype for video calls as it is not an encrypted service and they also randomly store and monitor a number of the calls made over their service, which means the service cannot guarantee confidentiality. Zoom encrypts its calls for security and also does not monitor any of the video calls made through it which means confidentiality is assured. Zoom can be used on a laptop, tablet or smartphone and more details on the service can be found here:
I also wish to reassure you that I currently do not know of anyone who has been diagnosed with Coronavirus, has travelled to any countries where there are a large number of cases or have any symptoms which could be Coronavirus. If any of these things change I believe it is my ethical duty to get in touch with you asap and let you know.
If you believe you are showing symptoms of Coronavirus I have pasted a link to the NHS website that answers common questions around Coronavirus and what the current guidelines are:
If you are diagnosed with Coronavirus then it will make face to face appointments impossible for a period of time. However, I will still be able to offer you appointments through the remote working options already discussed here. Please do not worry that your therapy with have to stop if you contract Coronavirus, it will be able to continue via phone calls or Zoom for as long as it takes until you are well enough to return to face to face appointments.
I also think it important to mention that if I contract Coronavirus I will be asked by the NHS to provide a list of people I have been in contact with so they can be tested for it also. This provides a conflict with the confidentiality clauses in the counselling agreement you read before therapy. When I wrote the agreement I did not have global pandemics on my mind (though I will be amending the agreement to include it in the near future). The British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP) who is my governing body is currently advising that if I contract Coronavirus I have a duty disclose your details to the NHS as is it in the wider public interest for you to be tested so you are less likely to pass the virus on. This was not specific in the contract you agreed to when engaging in therapy with me, so I am letting you know now, that as things stand if I contract Coronavirus, I will inform the NHS of you name and phone number, but I will not disclose how or why I know you.
If you are not happy for me to disclose your details in any way to the NHS please respond to this email and we will discuss any concerns you have. I will not do anything to break the counselling agreement that was put in place at the start of your therapy, but please be aware as soon as I have revised my counselling agreement I will be asking all of my clients to agree to it and it will include a clause stating something like:
‘confidentiality will be broken if necessary for reasons of public interest in the area of public health.’
I am not sure if any of you remember a programme called ‘Crimewatch’. It was on once a month (I think) on a Thursday night during the 80’s and 90’s and it was essential viewing round my way! As the title of the show hints at, it was basically an hour of actors recreating some rather nasty crimes in an attempt to jog peoples memories and get information on who committed the crime. So you would watch an hour of violent robberies, murders etc often including some of the very worst of human nature and they would always end the show with the presenter (Nick Ross) looking at the camera with a cheery smile and a wink saying:
‘Don’t have nightmares, do sleep well’
We understood what he was trying to say, but it always made me smile when he said it.
So, yes, there is something bad happening out there at the moment and it is a bit scary. But, it is really, really unlikely to happen to you, so please ‘Don’t have nightmares’, but do look after yourself and follow the NHS guidelines to do what you can to keep you and the people you love happy, healthy and safe.
If you need anything around what I have written in this email or anything around the Coronavirus itself, please let me know.
Take good care,