For many of our clients, a stay-at-home or safer-at-home order is exponentially more challenging. Our clients are victims of child abuse, sexual assault, relationship violence and other traumatic experiences often living in unsafe environments and even with their offenders. As you can imagine, this makes it incredibly hard to ensure safety and privacy in the client-therapist relationship like we can when we meet in our office. But like all of us during this time, Reaching HOPE has had to adjust to ensure our clients are getting the continued level of care and support they need.
Here are three things we’ve learned on how to safely transition to tele-health.
Locate a safe space. Space where our clients can be alone and safe in their home is one of the biggest challenges. Whether it’s in a bathroom or in their parked car in their driveway, we try to help clients identify a private space to virtually meet where they feel comfortable.
Identify a safe word or gesture. You can’t always control when someone in your house will walk by or enter a room. But for many of our clients, that person could be their abuser. We have the client choose a word and hand gesture to use if their offender is in the area.
Embrace the shared experience. We’re all in this together. Our clients want to know how we personally are doing during this time, so we use that opportunity to help normalize this as a shared experience and remind them of ways we are coping through positive decisions. This could simply be getting a breath of fresh air, walking the dog or feeling the sun on your face.