Office Policy and Clinical Forms
Risks and Benefits of Online Therapy
Online therapy is useful in that parents who are busy taking care of their children, on medical quarantine, or who currently have a child in the NICU can facilitate more easy access to a clinical resource. The NICU Healing protocol is designed to provide short-term solution-focused therapy so that parents can take the time to process their experience, to heal, and to develop a relationship with their sense of strength, which can be damaged by trauma. Online therapy has many benefits due to its convenience and the ability of a client to choose their care-provider, but it does have some limitations.
Confidentiality in Emails
While in therapy, all clients have a right to the confidentiality of their private clinical materials. Because online therapy involves the transmission of forms, communications, and information over the web, there are more opportunities for a breach of confidentiality to occur than there would be in a traditional office setting. If you choose to participate in the NICU Healing program, the initial assessment, office policies and HIPAA forms will, unless you choose not to, be transmitted over the internet. NICU Healing works hard to ensure, to the best of our ability, the confidentiality of our online interactions. Beyond the initial assessment, intake and clinical forms, NICU Healing does not rely on email as its primary form of communication, but rather, Skype.
If at any time you feel that email is not an ideal way of communicating with me because of the confidentiality risk, please contact me over the phone and we can discuss alternative ways of submitting the assessment forms for NICU Healing.
Emails including personal health information will be printed and made part of your clinical file, as our initial assessments and paperwork are provided over the internet. While we attempt to provide clients with the most confidential treatment as is possible, there are risks to confidentiality that are difficult to avoid when transmitting communication online. Keep in mind that Kara Wahlin and NICU Healing strive to equip the site with the most advanced software available and make it a priority to protect client information from third parties.
Additionally, confidentiality is brought into risk on your side, as utilizing a home computer or a work computer brings up the possibility of other third party individuals viewing confidential information. Please be mindful of your surroundings when filling out clinical forms, and be sure to x out of pages that you do not want other individuals to view. Because of the risk of a confidentiality breach, I do not recommend using a work computer to fill out our assessment forms when initiating therapy through NICU Healing.
For more information, please review my ONLINE OFFICE POLICY in full.
Building a Therapeutic Relationship Online
Online therapy has a different "feel" to it than therapy that is conducted in the clinician's office. Due to the constraints of Skype, oftentimes subtle forms of communication can be "lost" during the therapy session. For some clients this can be frustrating, and can sometimes lead to a more difficult time in building up rapport between the therapist and the client. It is important to give voice to your concerns when you are participating in online therapy, because it is only by identifying a problem that you are experiencing that we can begin to deconstruct it and to resolve it together.
Limits in Scope of Practice and Competence
I am a marriage and family therapist licensed in the state of California, by the Board of Behavioral Science (license number 53003). The limits of my license dictate that I cannot see clients outside of the state in which I'm licensed, as other states may have other requirements to provide therapists with licensure as marriage and family therapists. As such, NICU Healing's services, at this point, are only available to current California residents.
Because of the nature of the NICU Healing protocol, I do not provide my clients with clinical diagnoses, and thusly cannot employ insurance companies to help support the cost of the program for clients. Clinical diagnoses can be useful to clients who are looking to find answers as to why they are experiencing the feelings they have while going through a situation as traumatic as the NICU experience. If you feel that you have more intensive clinical needs than NICU Healing can provide, please let me know, as we can arrange to have more sessions together at the conclusion of the program, or I can provide you with referrals to therapists in your area that may be able to provide you with more intensive care.
As an MFT, I am not licensed to prescribe medication to my clients. If we determine that medication may be useful to you in your treatment, I will provide you with referrals to psychiatrists in your area that may be able to provide you with medication to treat anxiety, depression, etc. In participating in NICU Healing, you will be working on determining whether your current level of functioning is optimal, and whether you feel you need more help than only therapy can provide. Together we can determine if and how to bring in other methods of support.
Although online therapy is convenient in that you can access therapy easily and without having to come to my office, there is a challenge in that if you feel you are suicidal or could cause harm to someone else, including your child, I have an ethical and legal responsibility to report potential harm, and to provide you with a safety plan if you plan on harming yourself. At the outset of therapy we will discuss the tenets of a safety plan and what that would look like. Additionally, it is important that you mention if you are feeling these kinds of emotions while participating in the NICU Healing program, so that we can work together to ensure that you have the support and the help that you need during this difficult time.
For more in-depth information regarding specific components of NICU Healing, please review the
Other important forms for NICU Healing clients: