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COVID-19, Counselors, and Clients: Working remotely in mental health field

Companies across the U.S. are urging workers to stay home and work remotely. But, how does this work if you're a counselor whose clients rely on meeting with you?

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. —

Companies across the U.S. are urging workers to stay home and work remotely. But, how does this work if you're a counselor or therapist whose clients are relying on being able to meet with you?

    We met up with one counselor whose "day at the office" is now completely different because of COVID-19.

Meet Monretta Vega, a counselor who's normally working at Huntsville Psychotherapy and Counseling Services. But, because of the threat of COVID-19, her office is closed and now she works from home. 

Monretta Vega tells our reporter, “We cannot stop treatment, we cannot stop therapy.” 

She says she never saw all this coming. Vega adds, “I’m adjusting, as everyone is. You know, it is definitely an adjustment period. But, I am so thankful that technology has offered us the opportunity to still provide services.” 

About 40 percent of adults in the U.S. have been in therapy. So, there's a large portion of the population that still needs to communicate with their mental health professionals.

Monretta Vega says, nothing is going to stop her from being there for her clients. She and her co-workers at Huntsville Psychotherapy and Counseling Services are using creative ways to support their clients during this time. Vega says, “There are HIPAA compliant (of course) websites and, Skype, online, basically. Apps that we can use that kind of help us still keep in contact. So, a lot of things are face-to-face, just via webcam.”

She adds, some are overwhelmed by the threat of COVID-19 and all the changes put in place as a result. Vega says, “In times like this when anxiety is high and there is an epidemic, we really want to make sure that we are still able to provide those resources and offer coping skills and stress management skills. 

She also says working from home can be a huge adjustment for anyone. But, she's advising her clients to think productively when their at home, even after they "clock out". Vega says, “ Let’s plan and let’s see how we can utilize this time when we are social distancing and we are kind of at home a little bit more and working remotely.” 

We don’t know when these changes will end. That’s why Vega says these sessions are more crucial now than ever to keep up. She adds, “This is so much more than just a therapy session. You know, you want each individual to know that you are passionate about what you do and that you do care.” 

But, Monretta Vega says she’s ready to support her clients every step of the way. 

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