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TECHNOLOGY ASSISTED FAMILY THERAPY SERVICES (TAFTS)

TECHNOLOGY ASSISTED FAMILY THERAPY SERVICES (TAFTS)
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Our desire is to serve your mental and relational health needs, to the extent possible, throughout the COVID-19 Pandemic. For this purpose, we have Technology Assisted Family Therapy Services (TAFTS) available to serve you during this time.

TAFTS is a form of tele-health involving the use of electronic communications. TAFTS may be used for services such as individual, couple, or family therapy, and clinical supervision. TAFTS has been used by clinicians for years and continues to grow as a mode of delivering care. There are some barriers to TAFTS compared to sitting with a therapist in the same room and may not be an appropriate means of therapy for all populations. The limitations can be addressed and are minor depending on how well the sound and video are working during the TAFTS, the level of care needed by the client(s), and the comfort level in using teleconferencing platforms.

AU MFT Center TAFTS are provided by MFT interns under the direct supervision of the clinical faculty in the Marriage and Family Therapy Program.

TAFTS Training
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Our therapists-in-training will complete 15 hours of teletherapy training to meet the requirements for the Alabama Teletherapy practice requirements.

Frequently Asked Questions
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Click on question for answer

Teletherapy is therapy conducted over a web-based video conferencing platform rather than in person. You must be in the state of Alabama to participate.

Due to COVID-19 and based on the CDC’s directives, we are currently only conducting in-person therapy for clients with extreme circumstances. This requires approval from Auburn University and the Faculty Supervisor.

If a client is received in-person, their therapist will give them a health assessment BEFORE they come onsite to for COVID-19 risk.

  • This assessment includes the following questions:
  • Today or in the past 14 days, have you had any cold or flu symptoms, such as fever, chills, cough, difficulty breathing or shortness of breath?
  • In the past 14 days, have you had contact with anyone known to be infected with COVID-19?
  • Have you taken any trips to congested locations in the past 14 days?

Once you have been assigned a therapist by calling (334) 844-4478 and speaking with a Glanton House support staff member, your therapist will call you. They will obtain your email address, walk you through important parts of our informed consent (a document agreeing to participate in therapy), intake paperwork, and the assessments that you will need to fill out before and after each session. Your intake appointment reminder will be sent to you along with a Zoom link to allow you into the session.

Zoom is a secure teleconferencing platform that enables us to conduct confidential therapy sessions. It can be downloaded as an app to any smart phone or computer and accounts are FREE.

The AU MFT Program uses HIPAA Compliant Zoom Video Communications (hereafter referred to as Zoom) to conduct all TAFTS. Zoom is a secure, easy to use cloud-based application for video conferencing that works across mobile devices, desktops, telephones, and room systems. Prior to your TAFT session, you will receive an individualized Zoom link and meeting ID number though email, along with step-by-step instructions for joining your therapy session. You will need to download the free Zoom app from the Zoom Download Center before your session. Otherwise, you will be prompted to download and install Zoom when you click the join link you received by email. Additionally, you will need access to a webcam and microphone in order to participate in TAFTS. The TAFTS through Zoom guide will include a list of tips to help ensure that service goes smoothly.

*Please Note: a supervisor may occasionally join the session but not participate. This is for training purposes. The supervisor is there to assess and help the therapist provide the best treatment for you.

Because we will need to coordinate scheduling, send web links and surveys, communication via e-mail is required. Thus, we need to make sure you are aware of the confidentiality and other issues that arise when we communicate this way and to document that you are aware of these issues and agree to them.

Please Note: E-mail messages sent over the internet by you or those affiliated with the Auburn MFT Center are not encrypted, are not secure, may be misdirected, and may be read by others. Therefore, neither your therapist(s) nor the AU MFT Center can guarantee the confidentiality and security of any information you send to anyone at the AU MFT Center. Likewise, e-mail communication sent by the AU MFT Center staff is not confidential and security of the information sent (including Protected Health Information) cannot be guaranteed.

Thus, as part of the TAFTS you are receiving at the AU MFT Center, we need permission for all your present and future AU MFT Center therapists or staff to send web links for the scheduling of TAFTS through e-mail.

Client e-mail address will not be utilized by the AU MFT Center beyond or for any purpose besides scheduling. Please note that e-mail is not a platform that will be used by therapists or staff at the AU MFT Center to answer questions or conduct therapy sessions.

You may withdraw permission for therapists to communicate with you via e-mail by notifying your therapist in writing.

Students will use their personal cell phones 1) for scheduling purposes, and 2) on the rare occasion when TAFT sessions disrupt because of technology problems or band width issues

Therapists and clients will share cell phone numbers at each session to deal with disruptions

Therapists will NOT communicate with clients via text and clients should not attempt to communicate with their therapist through text

Therapists will delete voicemails after listening

Therapists cell phones are password protected, but we cannot guarantee there will not be a breach in confidentiality

Contacting therapists through their personal phones is a temporary policy being used to facilitate TAFTS and mitigate the amount of time therapists must spend at the clinic building so as to reduce their risk of contracting COVID-19.

Once the COVID-19 epidemic has passed, therapists will no longer communicate with clients through their cell phones, they will only communicate via the clinic phone number

You will want to make sure your webcam and internet connection are in good condition.

  • We recommend the use of headphones and that you find a room where you can be alone behind a closed door, with as little distraction as possible.
  • You may also want to set up a noise machine outside of the room and put a “do not disturb” sign on the door to protect your privacy.
  • We are required by law to make therapy sessions confidential and room security is the #1 reason for breeches in confidentiality.

Your session will be limited to 50 minutes like any other session. However, this session will be used to help you become acquainted with the technology use, basic requirements to conduct therapy (e.g., room safety, safety plan, identification, and online etiquette).

  • You will need to show your therapist some form of photo-identification for the First session.
  • A safety plan will need to be developed for emergencies
  • Therapist provides a list of confidential protocols that are required for each therapy session to ensure security of content and safety.
  • You will review the informed consent with the therapist
  • You will provide information about history, contextual issues related to the presenting problem, and outline mental, relational, and physical health.

Children ages 12 and under will ONLY be seen when the consenting parent or legal guardian is present throughout the entirety of the session.

Adolescents ages 13 to 17 may be seen individually ONLY when the parent or legal guardian is present at the beginning of the session to provide consent and at the end of the session to schedule the next appointment.

Not unless they have signed the “informed consent,” and are part of services.

Once you start with therapy, you can certainly add a participant (e.g., spouse, partner, child, parent), but they need to read, understand, and sign the informed consent.

We are not allowed to conduct a therapy session with someone present who has not signed the “informed consent.”

Your therapist will either take your credit card information or give you other instructions for online payment.

Online payment should be available starting 04/03/2020.

Getting the Most Out of Teletherapy
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To get the most out of your teletherapy session, we recommend that prior to each session, you make sure your webcam and internet connection are in good condition. Make sure your volume is on.

We recommend the use of headphones and that you find a room where you can be alone behind a closed door, with as little distraction as possible. You may also want to set up a noise machine outside of the room and put a “do not disturb” sign on the door to protect your privacy. It is not recommended that children or pets be in the room, as they can distract from your teletherapy experience.

It will also be helpful to close other programs on your computer or smart phone so that Zoom runs most efficiently.