Updated: Mar 16, 2020
Austin STRONG's response to the COVID-19 concerns
In these uncertain times, we know that transparency is important in order to continue to create an atmosphere of safety.
Safety is a core value here at Austin STRONG: Relationship Building Center and we wanted to share with you some of the precautions that we have taken to protect your safety, as well as the safety of our clinicians. We would like to share them with you for your peace of mind, but also to ask you to help support our efforts to keep the safety of our office as protected as possible.
ENVIRONMENTAL SAFETY TIPS
Here are the new protocols that we have implemented for our clinicians. When our clinicians open the office in the morning and close at night, these are the precautionary measures we take:
Disinfecting door knobs, light switches, hall chair handles, toilet flush handles, and handicapable bars in the bathrooms with Lysol wipes.
Wiping down all surfaces in the office itself (desk, side tables, lamp cords etc.) with Lysol Wipes
Offering hand sanitizer (as available) in the office itself and ensuring antibacterial soaps are available in the bathrooms.
We know how important your connection with your therapist is, but until this situation is stabilized, we will no longer offer or accept handshakes or hugs. (We can do "air high-fives" though!)
Please wait in your cars until your session time. We are asking our clinicians to keep sessions on schedule (50 mins) so that there is a 10 minute buffer between clients. This way each family/couple/individual can enter and leave the office without coming into close contact with others.
We will be waiving cancellation fees through the end of the month, but please continue to give your therapist as much of a 24 hours notice as possible.
If you are feeling ill, please take care of yourselves and help keep us safe by proactively rescheduling your session to a later date.
ONLINE OPTIONS: RELATIONAL SAFETY protocols
We want to continue to be available for your mental and relational health needs during this time so we have asked all of our clinicians to complete their Telehealth training as soon as possible. It is important for us to be able to provide you with the relational safety of knowing you can continue to have a connection with someone who will be there for you throughout this situation.
**We are currently offering Telehealth sessions on a case-by-case basis, so please reach out to your clinician individually to discuss options.**
BODY SAFETY TIPS
Here are some other tips for keeping your body safe during this time (shared from WHO).
HANDS Wash them often
ELBOW Cough into it
FACE Don't touch it
FEET Stay more than 3ft apart
FEEL sick? Stay home
EMOTIONAL SAFETY TIPS
Stress and anxiety are common reactions to uncertainty. If you are feeling heightened stress and anxiety, know that you are not alone. Reaching out for connection is a common response to feeling stressed and it can be hard during this time when the recommendation is to distance from other people. However, here are some ways you can practice good emotional hygiene while still keeping your body safety in mind.
Check in on old friends via phone or skype --finding connection with loved ones is a great emotional balm in times of stress.
Practice your meditation--meditation helps quiet the mind and nervous system. It is a good way to self-soothe. Connecting inward is still connecting.
Pick up journaling--if you haven't had time to journal, now is a good time to start keeping track of the thoughts and feelings that are coming up for you. Freewriting (writing on any topic for 30~60 seconds) is a way of unlocking and processing your own emotions.
Connect to nature --if you are somewhere you can take a walk or garden without putting yourself in a crowd, nature is a calm and soothing environment. Vitamin D from the sun is a mood booster, and moving your body is also a great way to help with emotional processing.
Cuddle with your animals --another way of connection is to connect with beloved tiny friends. Petting and stroking an animal will also help to downregulate your nervous system.
Things are continuing to develop so if any new changes occur, we will address them as they come. If you have any questions or concerns please don’t hesitate to reach out. We are here for you. We will get through this time together.
Thank you, and be well!
For updated alerts and information about COVID-19, please visit the Center for Disease Control (CDC) website: https://www.cdc.gov or the World Health Organizations' (WHO) website https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019/advice-for-public