Some of my clients are requesting for in-person /face-to-face sessions. I am not comfortable with this as the pandemic situation is quite bad in our area. How should I explain this to the client so that I can continue to help them without meeting them in person? Or should I refer them to others who are having sessions in person? What would be the best way to help the client?
First of all, try to understand why these clients are insisting on in person/ face to face sessions. Do they have some reservations about the use of technology (e.g., concern about breach of confidentiality, privacy, and the like), do they find it difficult to use video conferencing facilities (e.g., due to poor internet connectivity, not having proper gadget or not very comfortable in using these technologies), do they feel the lack of emotional connect with the therapist or any other such issues? Each client may have her/his own reasons for insisting on face-to-face sessions. Once you identify them, you can assess how far those issues can be addressed. For example, if the individual finds it difficult to use the video conferencing facilities, you can explain her/him the process in a stepwise manner. Also, I assume that you are seeking informed consent for the sessions and that the consent form explains all the issues related to the use of technology in conducting therapy sessions in an objective and simple manner. After exploring all these issues and discussing with the client, if the client still keeps insisting on face to face sessions and if you feel that it is not safe for you, I feel that you should explain all your concerns objectively and decide accordingly.
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