Face-to-Face, Online (Video \ Voice over Internet) or Phone to Phone Sessions? ...

 

With rare exceptions, Irish supervisors and psychotherapists are face-to-face practitioners. However, the current COVID-19 guidelines stipulate that we should socially-distance and stay at home unless we are providing an essential service that cannot be provided from home. The function of the "stay at home" requirement is so that we all radically reduce our contacts to the barest minimum possible. This means that face-to-face therapy or supervision even from a home-based location is not in keeping with the national guidance. The other key COVID-19 guidance is that we should only work face-to-face if it is as part of an essential service. Whilst both psychotherapy and supervision are very important services, they are not normally characterized as essential. A small number of supervisors and psychotherapists may be part of a frontline essential service and conceivably could work face-to-face, but this is very rarely the case.  And whilst in very rare cases the life of a client may be at very considerable risk if they cannot have psychotherapy, even here video or phone therapy would most probably work. It is difficult to conceive of any situation where face-to-face supervision would be justified under the current COVID-19 guidance.

With only the rarest of exceptions, psychotherapists and supervisors have a social duty to socially distance and to work from home in a non-face-to-face mode. The possibilities for continued practice include video or voice over internet (voip) applications, the use of mobile phones for end-to-end video or voice calls, or the use of landline phone calls. IAHIP have explicitly excluded the use of any forms of digital text, chat, or IM for psychotherapy. The same may apply to supervision. There are special considerations that arise for video and audio (VOIP), mobile and landline forms of therapy and these will be discussed on other pages under the COVID-19 Supervision & Therapy tab above.