Thinking about offering e-counselling services? Here’s what to consider.
Below is information related to COVID-19, and recommendations on practices to implement until the risk passes.
Practitioners are encouraged to consider putting in place the following measures until the risk passes:
- Developing a communication plan to contact your clients if you have to reschedule appointments or are considering a switch to tele-counselling
- Actively screening clients over the phone before scheduling or confirming appointments for any symptoms and travel history that may be related to COVID-19
- Asking clients with fever, cough or difficulty breathing to make appropriate alternate arrangements for appointments, including distance appointments or rescheduling appointments for a later date
- Posting signs in your reception area identifying concerning symptoms and asking clients to identify themselves if they are experiencing any of them
- Relaxing appointment rescheduling and cancellation policies until such time that risk has passed, e.g. by waiving cancellation fees
- Making tissues, a garbage can, and hand sanitizer (or a handwashing station) available in your setting
- Ensuring high-touch surfaces (such as doorknobs, light switches, phones and sink faucets) are cleaned with a disinfectant regularly, or even between client appointments
- Engaging in proper handwashing technique between sessions with clients
- Seeking medical care early if you yourself are experiencing symptoms and providing your health provider with information about travel
A note about vaccines
Unfortunately the Canadian Counselling and Psychotherapy Association cannot give out letters in reference to COVID vaccinations. The CCPA is not a medically-based organization but instead a membership association for counsellors and psychotherapists, therefore we do not have authorization to refer members for vaccines of any sort nor to verify any employment or professional practice status that may provide eligibility or priority for the vaccine. Please inquire with your local public health department for further information and details about the best course of action. If you are a health professional, your local public health unit which is administering the vaccine will be able to provide guidance on prioritization of health care professionals. We apologize for any inconvenience.
Reopening of Provinces
Some provinces are relaxing the rules and allowing certain professions to return to work.
Many members have been sending in useful resources they would like to share with others. This page features those resources as a way to encourage information-sharing and foster a sense of community.
We have been made aware of different volunteer opportunities across the country and are being asked to spread the word about these initiatives. We encourage members who are willing and able to participate and share information about the following volunteer opportunities to do so.
Private Practitioners & Insurance FAQ
Help Provided by the Government of Canada
We know members are being impacted by the effects of COVID-19 and Canada’s attempts to mitigate the spread of the virus. The Government of Canada has announced a number of measures to support Canadians and we are here to help you navigate the options available to you.
Over the past few weeks, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has announced a new set of economic measures to help stabilize the economy and help Canadians affected by the impacts of COVID-19. These measures are being updated on a daily basis as the situation rapidly evolves.
These measures, delivered as part of the Government of Canada’s COVID-19 Economic Response Plan, will provide up to $27 billion in direct support to Canadian workers and businesses, plus $55 billion to meet liquidity needs of Canadian businesses and households through tax deferrals to help stabilize the economy. In the guide below, we have outlined resources that our members may be eligible to access given their individual situation.
BMS Insurance Resources
BMS Canada Risk Services Ltd. (BMS Group), our official broker for the CCPA Member Insurance Program, has put together the following documents to help you navigate this time of uncertainty.
We encourage you to read through it and contact them directly if you have questions about your coverage.
*When developing your consent form, please ensure you are also following CCPA’s Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice and are familiar with our guidelines for the use of technology in counselling and psychotherapy.
Can I switch to electronic practice? What platform should I use?
If you have the appropriate technology in place and possess the array of competencies that are necessary to engage clients in a safe, effective therapeutic process, an electronic practice may be an option for you to continue to provide care to clients remotely.
Please ensure that you consider issues such as consent, confidentiality, and professional liability insurance.
CCPA launched guidelines for the use of technology in counselling and psychotherapy in May 2018. They may be found here.
The College of Registered Psychotherapists of Ontario has information to provide guidance on electronic practice available on their website:
If you are in a regulated province (NS, QC, ON, NB), check the website of your regulator for any additional guidance that may be provided for your province.
CCPA cannot recommend a specific platform because technology is constantly evolving and there are so many options available. However, we are aware that many practitioners may be considering implementing electronic practice over the short term.
The College of Registered Psychotherapists of Ontario (CRPO) has suggested that practitioners visit https://ontariomd.news/. This resource includes a comprehensive list of electronic tools that were developed specifically for ‘video visits’ and other forms of virtual or remote medical practice. The list was put together by the professional association for physicians in this province – the Ontario Medical Association – and an eHealth delivery partner – OntarioMD – who are working together to support physicians in providing care during the pandemic.
Please note that CCPA cannot attest to the effectiveness or appropriateness of these platforms.
Reactions to COVID-19: Why are they important?
Many factors play an important role in how people and communities respond to illness and manage its spread.
Some people under-respond to the threat of COVID-19. These people think the danger is exaggerated. Under-responders may not practice good hygiene, and they don’t stay home if they’re sick. Under-responding could spread the infection to family and friends.
Some people over-respond to the threat of COVID-19. These people become highly anxious about the infection and may go to great lengths to keep themselves safe. Over-responding by one person seeds fear in others because fear is contagious.
What can people do to stay calm?
Listen to the advice of the municipal, provincial and national government if/how COVID-19 is spreading in your area. See the resources below.
Check trusted sources of information:
Change your habits around washing hands, touching your face, socializing and coughing.
Some degree of concern is reasonable if it leads you to be proactive and take appropriate precautions, like staying home or physical & social distancing, hand washing and sanitizing, and refraining from unnecessary travel.
Keep things in perspective by consulting sources of information that are balanced and evidence-based.
Fear is contagious. If you act frightened or engage in panic buying, then others will react with fear as well. You have a responsibility to your loved ones, friends, and the rest of the community to deal with the COVID-19 outbreak in a sensible, reasoned manner. Try to “lead by example.”
Where can I get more information?
How can I tell whether I should seek professional help for COVID-19-related stress or anxiety?
Look for warning signs such as the following:
- Persistent anxiety, worry, insomnia, or irritability.
- Needlessly avoiding social contacts to the point that you become unnecessarily isolated.
- Persistently checking your body (e.g., taking your temperature many times each day) or persistently seeking reassurance about your health from doctors, friends, family, or the Internet.
- Performing excessive or unnecessary hygiene precautions, such as wearing a facemask at home or repeatedly washing your hands when there is no need to do so.
- Abusing alcohol or drugs, or overeating, as a way of coping with stress.
- Feedback from friends or family that you seem unusually worried or stressed out.
Physical & Social Distancing
Physical or social distancing are terms applied to certain actions that are taken by Public Health officials to stop or slow down the spread of a highly contagious disease, and ensure our public health system can continue to meet the demands placed on it. Physical or social distancing is one of the most effective measures for reducing the overall speed of transmission, to protect and preserve the capacity of the healthcare system to care for severe cases. Physical or social distancing is specific to limiting physical/in-person connections. It is important to stay connected to each other through other means to maintain our connections and support one another (email, phone, and social media).
Physical or social distancing measures include limiting large groups of people coming together, closing buildings, and cancelling events. Examples of physical or social distancing measures can include: suspending classes in or closing schools, modifying hours of operations for services, changing workplace practices to allow flexible shift plans and telework, closing theatres, cancelling large scale indoor and outdoor events (e.g. sporting events, concerts, parades, festivals), and suspending or limiting transportation means.