How we’re handling our practice during COVID-19

Managing our practice right now is an unfolding process. How do we coordinate our efforts with others in the profession when most of the time we’re working one-on-one with clients? How do we consider the risks and benefits of our actions during this time? For ourselves, our clients, and on behalf of the larger circles we live within, from neighborhood to herd?

To close or not to close?

We’ve employed a mixed ‘strategy’ of having clients cancel as each appointment nears and of canceling sessions ourselves. We’ve been taking it a few days at a time, rather than making a bolder decision to close outright for several weeks to a month. For our circumstance, that’s been workable. I also know of practitioners who have decided to simplify the process by closing for an extended time. Either way works.

It’s most important to understand that this is all of us exercising our boundaries. Our work is best offered and received within a mutually safe relationship. In this we’re a bit different from some HCPs; we have an unusual degree on interface — physical, temporal and emotional — with our clients. So it has to feel right for all involved.

Opening up again: when and how?

I think this will be an interesting and possibly more complex set of decisions. Here’s how I’m thinking about it at this point:

• Making myself available to those whose need is great
Next week, I’m going to see people who are in high need. As alternative health care providers, we can remain open. Whether people’s concerns are long standing or reflect their experience during C-19 time, our work can help: decreasing aches/pains, increasing relaxation and sense of well being, and supporting the immune and autonomic nervous systems. Offering our clients a sense of well being while supporting their health through touch is the heart of what we do.

• Being more vigilant about the practice space
Wiping down surfaces, washing sheets with hottest water, wearing masks if we have any concerns about our health or theirs. (Given the shortage of surgical masks, this week, the CDC has expanded its recommendation to include cloth/homemade masks.)

• I’m getting better at not touching my face
But that has been a hard one for me! So I continue to adjust my habits. I’m sitting on my hands while listening, instead of putting my hand under my chin or touching my closed mouth.

• I’m getting clearer with clients about my needs (though by this point, most people are on board): “If you’re sick, at all, please stay home. Let’s reschedule.”

• Seeing fewer clients in a day than I was before
Touching people in distress, anxiety and fear takes a toll on us. During this time when anxiety is raised, it’s especially important for us to take care of ourselves — even more than usual. Walks, breaks, play, time off, nutrition, sleep, whatever helps you stay balanced and healthy: please do it, and do it some more!

That’s it for now. In a few weeks, we’ll all know more. Take care til then!