COVID-19 (Coronavirus) updates

Last updated: Friday 20th March

 

The Apple Tree Centre is now closed for face-to-face appointments. We are doing our best to contact everyone who has appointments booked to make appropriate arrangements, but please be aware that this will take some time. If you have an appointment more than a week into the future, we request that you don’t contact us now to ask for updates as we are still formulating plans for the future, and appointments within the next few days need to take priority.

 

On-line and telephone appointments

In some cases, where face-to-face appointments are not possible, it will be appropriate for us to offer the alternative of an on-line session or telephone call. We are working hard to put this in place as quickly as possible, and will offer you this option if it is suitable as an alternative to cancelling appointments.

There are a lot of considerations in relation to offering online counselling and therapy, and this will involve some changes to our usual ways of working. Because the therapist, the client or both might be self-isolating in their own homes, if you decide to access this service, you will be agreeing to some changes to our confidentiality arrangements:

  • We will use a video-conferencing service to provide the link. We are recommending ‘Zoom’, a service which is used by a lot of therapists, because it doesn’t require you to create an account – we send you a link to a ‘meeting’ and you can join us online. Zoom also uses SSL and AES (end-to-end) encryption to provide a high level of security.
  • Your therapist will use their own computer in their own home. We ask therapists to ensure that their computers are encrypted and free from viruses, and that they are able to call you from a private room where your meeting cannot be overheard.
  • You might also be in your own home, and will need to think about whether it’s possible for you to have as much privacy as you need for your appointment.
  • We are in the process of writing a protocol for remote appointments with young children, and will ensure that all parents are aware of the necessary arrangements before any online appointments are conducted.
  • Your therapist will need to keep some notes about your meeting until they can next come into the centre. These will not have your name on, and will be kept either on paper (if your therapist has a secure place to store them), or on your therapist’s securely encrypted computer or removable storage device (eg USB stick). The next tine your therapist comes to the centre, they will transfer all the records into your file and delete their own copies.
  • Your therapist will need to access your contact details from their home in order to set up the appointment.
New referrals

We are still receiving new enquiries and referrals for therapy. To give us some time to reorganise our service, we are unlikely to arrange any new appointments until after the Easter holidays. If you are contacting the centre for the first time, please bear with us if we do not respond as quickly as usual.