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Distance Counseling

Information about Distance Counseling Services  

  
We are pleased to have the opportunity to serve you. The Carruth Center for Psychological and Psychiatric Services (CCPPS) provides confidential counseling, psychiatric and case management support for currently enrolled students.   
  

Distance Counseling  

So that we better serve our students in the context of the COVID-19 health crisis, CCPPS will temporarily provide distance counseling via telephone or secure video conferencing to currently enrolled WVU students who meet the eligibility criteria for distance counseling services. 

Due to professional licensing laws, CCPPS counselors may only provide ongoing therapy to those who are currently in the state of WV (and in states that have changed their related licensing laws). Additionally, this service is available to students assessed as being appropriate for this form of counseling. If a student is not eligible for this form of counseling, CCPPS counselors will provide referrals to appropriate services.   
  
In order to begin services with CCPPS: please call 304-293-4431 to schedule an initial appointment. You will briefly speak with a clinician who will help to determine appropriate services and provide more information about your care.   
  
The initial consultation will be provided via phone and will enable a clinician to better understand your needs to connect you with appropriate services. They will also provide you with guidance in navigating your presenting concerns. You may be referred to telehealth counseling or other services in your home community. If telehealth counseling at CCPPS is identified as the best clinical option, you will be scheduled with a CCPPS counselor.   
  
Telehealth may initially start with telephone visits. It will be important for you to discuss the confidentiality limitations that are inherent in any intervention that takes place on the phone and to agree to the risks that these may pose. Most clinicians and students will choose to transition to virtual sessions utilizing Zoom.  As of this time, Carruth clinicians are operating out of their own homes and will take all necessary precautions to protect your confidentiality for any services provided. 
  
Telehealth sessions may initially feel a bit different than in-person sessions. Video communication may lack some visual or audio cues that on occasion may result in   
misunderstanding. Should this happen, it is important to assume that your counselor has positive regard for you, and to check out your assumptions with your counselor. This will reduce any unnecessary feelings of discomfort.    
Video conferencing counseling sessions are held via Zoom Healthcare, a secure and confidential video conferencing platform. You will sign in with your Zoom app, but the therapist’s Zoom enhances your security and confidentiality. It is recommended that you sign on to your account at least 5 minutes prior to your session start time. You are responsible for initiating the connection with CCPPS via the provided software link and your identified password at the time of your session.   
  

Limitations of Distance Counseling  

Distance counseling should not be viewed as a substitute for face-to-face counseling or medication by a physician. It is an alternative form of counseling with some differences from traditional counseling. For example:   
Due to the use of technology, video counseling may have disruptions in service and quality of service.   
If you are having a crisis, acute psychosis, or suicidal or homicidal thoughts, video counseling might not be appropriate for your needs. 

Expectations for Distance Counseling

Please note that your appointment may be rescheduled if expectations for telehealth are not met, including (but not limited to):

  • You do not have a stable, reliable internet connection.
  • You are not able to access the THS appointment from a safe, private location.
  • You do not have access to headphones.
  • You are not physically located in West Virginia during the THS appointment.
  • You are interrupted during the THS appointment such that confidentiality cannot be guaranteed and safeguarded.
  • You are under the influence of a mood- or mind-altering substance.
  

Emergency Management for Distance Counseling  

So that CCPPS is able to get you help in the case of an emergency and for your safety, the following measures are important and necessary:   
Your counselor will need to know the location/address in which you will consistently be during counseling sessions and will need to know if this location changes. They will ask for your location during every session.     
Your counselor will request that you identify someone, whom you trust, to give your counselor permission to contact should a situation occur in which your counselor believes you to be at risk. You, and/or your counselor, will verify that this emergency contact person is able and willing to go to your location in the event of an emergency, and if your counselor deems necessary, call 911 and/or transport you to a hospital. You will also provide the name/location of the nearest Hospital Emergency Room.   
  

Backup Plan in Case of Technology Failure  

The most reliable backup is a phone. Therefore, it is recommended that you always have a phone available, and that you provide your counselor with your phone number.   
If you get disconnected from a video conferencing session, re-start the session. If you are unable to reconnect within ten minutes, please call your counselor.   
  

Scope of Service and Eligibility  

CCPPS provides short term and crisis counseling services for all eligible students, without regard to race, color, religion, sex, gender, sexual orientation, national origin, disability, or veteran status. If it is determined by the clinical staff that an individual’s needs exceed the scope of service or expertise available at CCPPS or that your needs cannot be adequately met by   
participating in distance counseling, we will assist you to identify an appropriate referral to meet your needs. CCPPS does not pay the costs of therapy or community resources/treatment services to which you may be referred but will help you navigate the insurance coverage process.   

Confidentiality  

Confidentiality is essential to your counseling progress. Our counselors are clinicians who are ethically and legally bound to maintain your confidentiality (except for the exceptions provided in the informed consent). A written and/or electronic record (date, time, nature of meeting) of your contacts with CCPPS will be maintained in a secure manner.    
All telehealth sessions will be provided behind a closed door. All video conferencing correspondences will occur through Zoom Healthcare, which is encrypted to the federal standard.   
  
To schedule a THS triage appointment or for questions give us a call at 304-293-4431.  

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