Pandemic Response: Current Practice Standards

These are the practices I will maintain during the current phase of reopening.

To: Our Valued Clients

Re: “New normal” practice standards

During BC’s Phase 2 Restart Plan, your counsellors are committed to working as a team to help keep you, ourselves, and our surroundings as safe as possible. Below is a list of the practices we will maintain during our current phase of reopening.

  1. Each client will be emailed a copy of these practice standards by their counsellor prior to attending in-person counselling sessions.
  2. Combined in-office use will likely increase over time—provided the curve remains flat, and the counselling team deems it reasonably safe.
  3. No counsellor or client will enter the counselling space if they have developed flu-like symptoms and have not been cleared by their family doctor, nurse practitioner, or a nurse (via calling 811).
  4. Clients will not bring non-clients to the reception area or counselling office. In the event that clients arrive with non-clients, the counsellor will reschedule the session.
  5. Clients are asked to use bathroom facilities before coming to sessions. (When necessary, counsellors will let clients in and out of washrooms, and sanitize high touch surfaces, such as washroom and office door handles, before and after washroom visits.)
  6. Clients are encouraged to wait in their cars or outside rather than the reception area whenever possible.
  7. Clients are asked to take the elevator up and the stairs down, if possible, to help regulate the flow of traffic and reduce opportunities for virus transmission.
  8. In order to maintain a safe physical distance, a maximum of 4 clients will be allowed in the reception area at one time. Clients are asked to wait in the hall, while maintaining a physical distance of 6 feet if, upon their arrival, they find there are already 4 clients in the reception area.
  9. Clients who need to wait in the reception area are strongly encouraged to put on a clean cloth mask prior to entering the space, in order to help protect others. Counsellors may also wear cloth masks when in common spaces, including halls, kitchen, and reception area.
  10.  Masks may be removed in individual counselling offices, provided a physical distance of 6 feet can be maintained.
  11. Sanitation supplies—rubbing alcohol and hand sanitizer—will be available to clients and counsellors, and used before and between sessions to sanitize hands and high-touch surfaces.
  12. Counsellors will use the kitchen sink, and soap and water, to wash hands between sessions and after drinking or eating. They will spray down sink faucet and tap handles with rubbing alcohol after use. (Clients will not be permitted to use the office kitchen.)
  13. Counsellors will arrange furniture, where possible, to maintain a physical distance of 6 feet. When this is not possible, counsellors will employ a barrier between themselves and clients, such as a cloth mask or a Plexiglas shield (either mounted or worn by the counsellor).
  14. Clients and counsellors who develop flu-like symptoms may cancel without 24-hours’ notice.
  15. Counsellors will schedule clients 15 to 30 minutes apart, to support the aim of having fewer people in the combined office space at any given time.
  16. Before commencing in-person counselling, clients will be required to sign an understanding of risk and release of liability form.

Our team will continue to meet regularly as BC’s pandemic and government guidelines evolve.

Thank you for your cooperation and understanding.

These practice standards were developed in coordination with Perspectives Counselling & Associates. The will be updated from time to time and as appropriate.

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Provincial legislation protects the privacy between client and counsellor including any material written or spoken in counselling or consulting sessions. This information is not released unless the client provides written consent. Additionally, confidential information is kept in accordance with the ethics and standards of the British Columbia College of Social Workers. It is understood that there are exceptions to these standards that include:

  • The therapist/counsellor has a duty to report to the RCMP and the Ministry for Child and Family Development (MCFD) or the designated child protection services if the therapist/counsellor has reason to believe a child is at risk of harm or neglect.
  • The therapist/counsellor has a duty to report to the proper authorities if they believe that a client is at risk of self-harm.
  • The therapist/counsellor has a duty to report to the proper authorities if they believe that or is told of harm or potential harm to a third party has occurred or will occur.

The therapist/counsellor has a duty to share information under a subpoena to the courts of British Columbia or Canada.