Last updated: Thursday 5th November 2020
The Apple Tree Centre building is currently closed and we are not offering face-to-face appointments. We understand that most children have now returned to school and businesses are being encouraged to reopen, which has caused some uncertainty regarding our future plans. Because of the risks to our clients, staff and continuity, The Apple Tree Centre will continue to offer online-only appointments for the foreseeable future.
Our priority is, as always, the safety and wellbeing of the families using our service and of the therapists working for us, and for this reason we do not plan to reopen the centre until we are able to offer safe and effective therapy. It’s also important to us to be able to offer reliable therapy, so we will not reopen while there is a high risk that we would need to close again at short notice.
We are continually monitoring the situation in the light of government guidelines and public health information.
We will tell the families we are working with as soon as we are able to offer them face-to-face appointments. In order to maintain physical distancing and adequate cleaning protocols, this will happen gradually and decisions will be made on a case-by-case basis, taking into account both the risk and the benefit of meeting face to face for therapy.
We are ready and able to receive new enquiries and referrals for online therapy. Several of our therapists have availability to take on new referrals and can offer consultations to parents within a week. Please send us an email to enquire about this. You can contact us here.
On-line and Telephone Therapy Appointments
Wherever possible and therapeutically appropriate we are offering on-line sessions or telephone calls to children, young people and parents.
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. If you decide to use 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 secure and private ‘meeting’ and you can join us online. Zoom communications are established using 256-bit TLS encryption and all shared content is encrypted.
- 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. If this is not possible, we will provide an alternative venue for them to use for your session.
- 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 have written a protocol for remote appointments with children and young people, and will ensure that all parents have a copy of this and are aware of the necessary arrangements before any online appointments are conducted. We will also require you to complete and return a ‘Consent to Remote Working’ form.
- Your therapist will need to keep some notes about your meeting until we are able to access the files kept at the centre. These will be kept either on a dedicated, password protected Google Drive account (shared with the Apple Tree Centre for continuity purposes), 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). When your therapist returns to work at the Apple Tree 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.