Hi everyone, I wanted to update you all regarding the health precautions and therapy options while our community and nation responds to the spread of COVID-19. As our local schools begin to close MTW is adjusting best meet the needs of clients while also doing our part to “flatten the curve.” Also, at MTW, we like having plans. 😊
This week, 3/16/2020 – 3/20/20 I will be transitioning most clients to online appointments. I will be in touch with each client and together we will make a plan to ensure continuity of services within the current understanding of best practices. If you have not heard from me – reach out – 608-466-6411.
What we are doing:
- Maple Tree Wellness is following the overarching health advice of social-distancing when possible, rampant hand-washing, and has increased the frequency of cleaning the therapy office, therapy toys, waiting room, and door knobs.
- Maple Tree Wellness offers online “telehealth” appointments through Doxy (if you don’t know, it’s like a HIPAA compliant Skype or FaceTime. If we decide to meet via Doxy, please meet me "here" https://doxy.me/mapletreewellness
- Preparing for online sessions:
- Our time together will feel much like our regular in-person meetings.
- You will need a phone or laptop with an internet connection. Doxy.me is accessed through a regular web browser.
- Please arrange to be in a quiet, private area. If you are an adult that may mean we “meet” in your home or car. Earbuds often help with sound and privacy issues, as does a fan or noise machine placed outside of the room you are in.
- If the session is planned to include a young child, you may need to help position your phone or laptop so that the child and I can see each other for at least part of the session.
- If the session is planned to include a school aged child or adolescent, please consider how your child will be offered privacy within your home for some or all of the session.
- If the session is for a child, it would be very helpful if you can have a few items available paper/markers/crayons, a few stuffed animals or puppets, a fidget or playdoh/putty, and a few toys that your child enjoys. I'll have some toys on my end as well.
- Please know that the current literature and evidence shows that online counseling sessions have the same efficacy as in-person sessions for children and adults. It may feel a little funny at first, but you will adjust.
- Currently, I am certain that the following insurances reimburse for telehealth: WEA, Medicare, Quartz, BCBS, Medicaid, and Tricare If your insurance is not on this list, please contact your insurance directly by calling the number on the card, or reach out to me and we will sort something out. I have spent hours on the phone clarifying health insurance policy and lobbying state government officials to push for a faster rule change to allow telehealth session reimbursement by other insurances including Wisconsin Medicaid. At this point, the need for social distancing is so important that I would prefer to hold a telehealth session if you are able and we will sort out the billing and reimbursement later
What you can do:
- If you are feeling scared or anxious, take a breath. One simple technique is called square breathing. Visualize your breath traveling along a square. As you follow the instructions to inhale, hold your breath, or exhale, count slowly to three on each side. Try it now. Inhale up the first side of the square. Slowly count one, two, three. Hold your breath across the top. One, two, three. Exhale down the other side of the square. One, two, three. Then hold your breath across the bottom. One, two, three. After a few minutes of this you should be feeling calmer and more centered.
- If you are feeling flooded or panicked, try to notice the environment around you. Here’s an exercise to try: 5: Acknowledge FIVE things you see around you. It could be a pen, a spot on the ceiling, anything in your surroundings. 4: Acknowledge FOUR things you can touch around you. It could be your hair, a pillow, or the ground under your feet. 3: Acknowledge THREE things you hear. This could be any external sound. If you can hear your belly rumbling that counts! Focus on things you can hear outside of your body. 2: Acknowledge TWO things you can smell. Maybe you are in your office and smell pencil, or maybe you are in your bedroom and smell a pillow. If you need to take a brief walk to find a scent you could smell soap in your bathroom, or nature outside. 1: Acknowledge ONE thing you can taste. What does the inside of your mouth taste like—gum, coffee, or the sandwich from lunch?
- And finally, if you are feeling scared or worried, do something else. Move your body: go for a walk, run or bike ride or do some exercise at home. Find something creative to do: color, knit, or cook something in the kitchen. Start a new project: start seeds, organize a drawer or cabinet, or call a friend. Remind yourself of what you can do rather than focusing on what we don’t know or can’t control.
- Remember, we will get through this.
Lauren Gourley, LCSW ~ 608-466-6411 ~ Maple Tree Wellness, LLC