Returning to the Office

Returning to the Office

Curt and Katie chat about the considerations for reopening offices closed during shelter in place orders. We talk through the specific logistical, clinical, and legal and ethical elements of the decision-making process for those who shifted to telehealth in response to the pandemic.

It’s time to reimagine therapy and what it means to be a therapist. To support you as a whole person and a therapist, your hosts, Curt Widhalm and Katie Vernoy talk about how to approach the role of therapist in the modern age.

In this episode we talk about:

  • The importance of therapists assessing their own needs prior to returning to in-person work
  • The proposed phased reopening of California
  • The unique elements of different practices that might impact your timing (logistics, populations treated, coordination with other clinicians in the same space, etc.)
  • Clinical considerations for how therapy is delivered during this time
  • The challenge of managing a waiting room
  • Ideas how to apply recommendations from the CDC or WHO to a therapy office
  • Systems to put into place, policies to consider (especially related to employees and wage replacement for ill workers)
  • How to communicate with your clients
  • The need to identify what boundaries you will hold and how you will address them clinically
  • The ability to have these conversations ahead of time, the additional time you can use to move back to the office, if you decide to
  • Telehealth insurance reimbursement – ideas and advocacy recommendations
  • Shortening the work week, using your office for as few days as possible, staggering shifts in group practices
  • Removing items that don’t need to be in the waiting room or any other spaces
  • ADA accessibility that decreases contact with door knobs
  • Cleaning protocols
  • HEPA filters – mixed feedback and things to think about
  • Requirements for clinicians and clients to stay home if sick, to wear a mask if entering the building
  • Waiving late cancel fees for illness, or strong recommendations for shifting to telehealth in those situations
  • Potential liability if taking temperatures of clients, other ideas, etc.
  • Physical distancing, keeping telehealth going when possible, contactless sessions
  • Tracing contacts – the ability (or mandate) to disclose who has come to your office
  • Updating your office policies and consents
  • Strategically planning for reopening an office

Resources mentioned:

We’ve pulled together resources mentioned in this episode and put together some handy-dandy links. Please note that some of the links below might be affiliate links, so if you purchase after clicking below, we may get a little bit of cash in our pockets. We thank you in advance!

The Phases for Reopening California

CDC Resource Page

Recommendations from CDC

CDC Guidance on Cleaning and Disinfecting

Recommendations from WHO

Recommendations from OSHA

Therapy Reimagined 2020:

Therapy Reimagined 2020 Conference: Speakers!!

Therapy Reimagined 2020 Call for Sponsors

Relevant Episodes:

The Viral Episode

Confidential Communications

Connect with us!

Our Facebook Group – The Modern Therapists Group

Get Notified About Therapy Reimagined 2020 (and TR2019 Virtual Conference)

Our consultation services:

The Fifty-Minute Hour

Who we are:

Curt Widhalm is in private practice in the Los Angeles area. He is the cofounder of the Therapy Reimagined conference, the CFO of the California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists, an Adjunct Professor at Pepperdine University, a former Subject Matter Expert for the California Board of Behavioral Sciences, and a loving husband and father. He is 1/2 great person, 1/2 provocateur, and 1/2 geek, in that order. He dabbles in the dark art of making “dad jokes” and usually has a half-empty cup of coffee somewhere nearby. Learn more at:

Katie Vernoy is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, coach, and consultant supporting leaders, visionaries, executives, and helping professionals to create sustainable careers. Katie, with Curt, has developed workshops and a conference, Therapy Reimagined, to support therapists navigating through the modern challenges of this profession. Katie is also President of the California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists. In her spare time, Katie is secretly siphoning off Curt’s youthful energy, so that she can take over the world. Learn more at:

A Quick Note:

Our opinions are our own. We are only speaking for ourselves – except when we speak for each other, or over each other. We’re working on it.

Our guests are also only speaking for themselves and have their own opinions. We aren’t trying to take their voice, and no one speaks for us either. Mostly because they don’t want to, but hey.

Stay in Touch:

Our Facebook Group – The Modern Therapist’s Group


Voice Over by DW McCann

Music by Crystal Grooms Mangano

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