This information is valid at time of publication (2nd November 2020). It may subsequently be affected by changes in government regulations or advice from the BACP.

Choosing face-to-face or remote therapy

Throughout the pandemic, the BACP have advised that the safest and most reliable way of accessing therapy is online or by telephone. Counselling via remote means is immune to lockdowns, changes in risk levels and location-based restrictions – they can carry on regardless.

However, they and I recognise that some clients cannot access therapy safely via these means. For these clients, I am currently able to offer a very limited number of face-to-face sessions, at your own risk, and they might not be quite how you previously experienced them. You need to consider what’s in your best interests, balancing your needs and safety, your risk factors and those of anyone in your household, and whether you would be putting yourself at risk during the journey to/from counselling.

The current national lockdown in England restricts who you are allowed to meet with indoors. As a mental health service provider, I may be allowed to meet with you in The Head Shed, however the risks that the government are attempting to reduce remain.

I would imagine that you may feel a tad nervous, or unsure about this, as we are two people from different households meeting in an enclosed space for an hour. I feel I need to be honest here and admit that I am nervous too. As a result, I am being extremely careful about hygiene measures to keep clients, their families, myself and my family as safe as I am able whilst attempting to offer my clients their usual experience.

It is worth noting that if I, you, or another face-to-face client were to contact COVID-19, I would have to disclose the names and contact details of all clients seen in The Head Shed to NHS test and trace.

Changes at The Head Shed

I have emptied out The Head Shed, and deep cleaned it and its contents. We have had the air conditioning unit serviced and have installed a HEPA air filter unit.

I have removed some of the soft furnishings and non-essential items. The fiddle toys are not available at this time. Feel free to fetch your own.

In-between each client I will air out The Head Shed and wipe down “heavy traffic areas” such as door handles, light switches and chair arms.

How we will conduct sessions

To avoid passing paper around, you can view our Counselling Agreement online.

We can sit two people in the counselling room (client and counsellor), face-to-face at a 2 metre distance. If you wish for the door to remain open, then please do ask.

On arrival, please do not call at our house front door or press the doorbell: please proceed down the drive towards the gate at the rear. I will prop the gate open so that you do not have to touch it.

On entering the Head Shed I will be checking both your and my temperatures. If either of us has a raised temperature (38℃ or above), the session will not continue.

Please pay for your session using a Contactless credit or debit card, or if that’s not possible pre-pay for your session using PayPal or BACS.

Sadly, the toilet in our house is no longer available for clients use. I have a special needs child that I need to shield as much as I am able to. Apologies for this.

Please bring your own tissues and a zip lock bag so that you can take them away with you. I will endeavour to have a small supply of handy packs of tissues in case you forget.

Please bring your own drink if you need it, and please remove any rubbish as you leave.

I have a supply of hand sanitiser: please use it at the start and end of the session.

I have some wipes available: please feel free to wipe anything over.

Paper covers are available for the chair arms.

I would prefer that we both wear masks during your session, and I have a small supply of masks if you have not brought your own.

Finally, may I remind you that if you feel at all unwell, or show any Covid-19 like symptoms, please do not attend your session. As many of you know I have a special needs child and several immune compromised clients. We all need to work together to protect our little Head Shed community please. Obviously, the cancellation policy will be relaxed during this uncertain time: I only ask that you notify me as soon as you are able, and that you are kind and sensible about this for the duration.

Blimey! That feels a lot of information, instructions and precautions. I am so sorry. Please do feel free to email or text me with any queries: Is there anything else I could or should be doing to make sure that you feel as safe and as comfortable as possible returning to the Head Shed when we are able.

Take care and Keep safe

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