ALCS COVID-19 Updates

In the midst of this worldwide Coronavirus pandemic, we remain committed to your safety and wellbeing. Here are the steps we are currently taking to do our part in containing the spread of COVID-19.
This is a dynamic and rapidly evolving situation, so as we continue to adjust our response accordingly, we will post updates here and to our social media outlets.

For COVID-19 updates, bookmark this page or follow us on social media.

May 29, 2020

To our valued clients,

We have missed seeing you in person! As our community has been opening up, we have been trying to make plans so that we can gradually re-open for in-person appointments in a way that keeps you and your loved ones safe. We are implementing new procedures to address the challenges of a small space and issues related to confidentiality. We appreciate your patience as we implement and adjust these policies. You can help us serve you better by checking this page before your appointment for new information. Currently, here are the policies that will be in place:

  • We are still conducting teletherapy sessions for those who prefer. If you have reservations about face-to-face appointments, please know teletherapy is still an option for you. Please do whatever feels most comfortable to you.
  • Not all therapists will be meeting face-to-face, and certain therapists will only offer in-person appointments on certain days. Our online scheduling portal will show which days are available for in-person sessions based on location. This is a change for those who have been doing telehealth – when selecting location, if you normally select Main Office as your location, and don’t see any appointments available for your therapist, select “Telehealth” instead. However, Telehealth is always available, even on days that reflect Main Office or Kyle. Additionally, sometimes, therapists have schedule flexibility. So, if you have scheduling concerns, please communicate with your therapist directly. 
  • Beginning June 1, we will have you sign a COVID-19 Personal Health Information release form before you come for an in-person appointment. You can access that form here and simply fill it out in your internet browser. For couples, each person would need to complete a separate release. It's helpful if you complete the form at least 24 hours before your appointment so that we can track and manage the release requirement for all clients on a given appointment day.
  • We will have the expectation that you will be closely monitoring your health conditions before your appointment to ensure the safety of others. Please do not come to our office if:
    • you have had a fever in the last 24 hours of 100F or above, 
    • if you now or recently have experienced respiratory or flu symptoms, sore throat, or shortness of breath, or 
    • if you have been in contact with anyone in the last 14 days who has been diagnosed with COVID-19 or who has coronavirus-type symptoms.  
  • There will be no fee for cancellations due to illness or suspected COVID-19 exposure.
  • We are not requiring masks and will not be wearing masks ourselves. You are welcome to wear a mask if you would like.
  • Suite 1 waiting room will be closed, and Suite 2 waiting room will only be open for one family at a time. Our waiting room doors will remain locked. Please wait in your car and watch for your therapist at your appointment time. They will come and open the door when they are ready for you. Please allow your therapist to open and close all doors to minimize contact with common surfaces.
  • Appointment times for face-to-face appointments will be slightly shorter, to allow for increased traffic flow issues. Consider using the restroom before you come to maximize the time available for your appointment.
  • Families meeting in Suite 2 will not come in the Suite 1 waiting room. Your therapist will handle administrative issues for you.
  • We encourage you to use the scheduling portal and maintain a credit card on file in order to minimize congestion in the waiting room between appointments. We will be moving soon to a staggered appointment schedule (appointments on the hour and half hour for different therapists) to reduce congestion as well.
  • Our front desk will be open for limited hours, but we encourage you to continue communicating directly with your therapist regarding schedule changes.
  • Sadly, our magazines and beverages will still be unavailable. If a cup of coffee or hot chocolate would help you settle in and you would like your therapist to make one for you (no barista training guaranteed), that is an option, provided you are willing to sacrifice the loss of time for your appointment.
While re-opening under these conditions still represents a loss of the warmth and connection we have experienced with our wonderful client base and we grieve that loss, we are still excited to see many of you face to face. And for those who feel safer in the comfort of your home, we understand and support you wholeheartedly! As we adjust, we appreciate your patience and your efforts to stay informed. We are all walking through this together - six feet apart!

March 24, 2020

To our valued clients,

With Austin’s Shelter in Place order, all appointments will be conducted online until the Shelter in Place order is lifted, and the front desk will be closed.  In order to facilitate efficient communication, please communicate directly with your therapist. Therapists’ contact information can be found below:
 
Kerry – [email protected]  or 512-258-5100, ext. 100
Carolyn – [email protected] or 512-258-5100, ext. 102
Casey – [email protected] or 512-258-5100, ext. 103
Michelle – [email protected] or 512-258-5100, ext. 105
Rachelle – [email protected] or 512-258-5100, ext. 106
Hannah – [email protected] or 512-258-5100, ext. 104
Candice – [email protected] or 512-258-5100, ext. 108

To reach our office administrator (Rachel) please email [email protected].
If you do not have a credit card on file, your therapist will take your credit card information before your session. The information that will be needed is as follows:
 
Name on the Card:
Card Number: (please remember that we cannot accept American Express)
Card Expiration Date:
Card Security Code:
Billing Address:

You are all in our thoughts and prayers as we endure this situation together. We want to support you, whether you are able to schedule with us or not at this time, and we encourage you to look at our blogs for some resources for you and your family. Take care.

March 23, 2020

To our valued clients,

Thank you for checking this web page for updates to our current COVID-19 response. Our hearts are with you all as you face the uncertainty and upheaval of these rapidly changing times. Please know that even though many of you are unable to schedule with us in the office or online for a variety of reasons, we still want to care for your well-being during this season. To help you as you face the anxiety-provoking realities of our "new normal," Kerry has written a blog on dealing with fear. To help those families with children who now have more at-home time than they know what to do with, Rachelle and Hannah have written a blog with ideas for fun and meaningful activities, and with suggestions to help protect your kids' emotional well-being. During this season when you have more time together, we hope that your relationship with your kids will flourish! And for those couples who are enjoying a little "too much togetherness," Carolyn offers suggestions to help you see beneath arguments that can stem from small irritants. We hope these resources will help all of you weather these times with more resilience, and to glean all of the good (yes, there is good!) that can be gained from this trial.
Additionally, due to exposure risks within her household, Carolyn will no longer be seeing clients in person starting March 23rd. If you are a current client, you can still schedule an online session through the portal.
 
If you would like to make an online appointment, please make sure that you have a card on file or that you call before your appointment to give us your card information. Our phone system is secure and requires a password for messages to be checked, so you can leave your card information in a voicemail message with confidence that your information is secure.  Here is the information we will need you to leave in your message:
 
Name on the Card:
Card Number: (please remember that we cannot accept American Express)
Card Expiration Date:
Card Security Code:
Billing Address:
 
Thank you all for your help as we all move through this together. Take Care and Stay Well!

March 15, 2020

To our valued clients,

We hope you and your family are feeling well during this unprecedented time in our history. As you know, President Trump declared the COVID-19 status as now entering a "National Emergency," and Austin mayor Steve Adler has banned the gathering of 250 or more. With the growing concern and these recent steps taken by our government, we want to offer reassurance and to update you regarding changes we are making at ALCS in order to best care for our clients and our community.

Communication

We are posting this webpage as a means of communicating with you. Please check it often for updates, since we will post pertinent updates regarding COVID-19 as it relates to the ALCS community. Some of the changes we will be making at ALCS will require your cooperation. Please stay informed so that you can partner with us as we try to keep everyone healthy, while maintaining a high level of care for those we serve.

Cleanliness

In an effort to minimize transfer of the virus from common surfaces and decrease contact with other individuals, we will be making changes that will likely be uncomfortable to all of us at first. We have always tried to create an atmosphere of hospitality and warmth here at ALCS, with small comforts to help you feel at home and decrease anxiety for some who may find counseling difficult. You will notice when you arrive at our office that many of the comforts you have come to expect will be missing. Please know that we miss them as much as you do and that we look forward to their return once COVID-19 passes. Our goal is to keep you healthy and serve you well:
  • Our coffee bar is closed, and magazines, toys, and the candy jar will be unavailable.
  • There will be more chemicals (with their associated odors) used, as the waiting room will be disinfected between high traffic times, and common surfaces sanitized multiple times a day.
  • We will no longer be shaking hands, and items handled by clients (pens, clipboards, etc.) will be sterilized after use.
  • Community use items in offices such as blankets and throw pillows will be removed. We recognize that temperature in our offices is sometimes challenging to regulate. We invite you to bring your own blanket for your session if you desire.
  • Please allow your therapist to open and close all doors for you.
  • If you prefer to avoid the waiting room altogether and wait in your car until your session, please contact your therapist ahead of time, and they will come outside when they are ready for your session.
  • Children’s offices will need to be sanitized between sessions to disinfect surfaces touched during session, so session length will be shorter. Please be patient with us.
  • Other sessions will need to be shortened as well, to allow therapists time to make needed adjustments.

Care

While these changes will seem less warm and inviting than usual, please know that our hearts are the same: we want you to feel welcome and safe here. These changes in cleanliness are meant to care for your best interest, and we will all adjust together. Please help us by staying informed (checking this page before your appointment for updates), doing your best to cooperate with new procedures, and maintaining your own healthy habits as recommended by the CDC. Please be patient with us as we try to care for you well and to protect those among us who are the most vulnerable. During a season of uncertainty, change, and loss, we want to be a source of security, comfort, and hope for you. Now more than ever, our community needs the strength and hope that ALCS has to offer, a strength that comes from a Sovereign Father who is the source of Abundant Life.

During this season, part of caring for you well may be to offer you sessions by video or phone. While this is not optimal therapeutically, for some it may be the best option. Should you prefer this option, you can have your session online through a service called Doxy.me. You do not need to download anything. Please email your therapist, and they will send you a link. When you click it, it will take you to the website for the session. Doxy.me is fully secure, HIPPA compliant, and made for telemedicine. See the bottom of this page for a flyer with more information on Doxy.me.

It has always been our policy not to charge the late cancellation fee in cases of illness. However, if you have any reason to believe that you could pose a risk to others, please cancel your appointment or arrange for a phone or video session. While we ask that you be as thoughtful of your therapist’s schedule as possible, we will not charge you a late cancellation fee if you are concerned that you could be a potential risk.
 
While we know these times can be upsetting and easily trigger anxiety for some, we want to help you navigate this time with wisdom, discernment, and understanding. Here are some of our suggestions for keeping your mind and heart healthy during this time of illness.
  • Be careful who you are listening to for information about COVID-19. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the World Health Organization are your best sources. 
  • Be careful how much news you watch or listen to during this time. While we all want to be informed, focusing too much on the news can create an unhealthy and unhelpful stress and anxiety level that can actually reduce your immune system's effectiveness in fighting disease. 
  • Take the precautions that are suggested, and plan and prepare as you can, but remember that your Heavenly Father is the source of your provision. You will face tomorrow’s challenges with tomorrow’s grace and tomorrow’s strength. (Stay tuned for a blog by our director for more on this topic!)
  • Remember others during this time. Our Lord was passionate about protecting and caring for the weak and the vulnerable, and nothing makes our own cares look smaller than giving and looking after others. At a time when we are all facing challenges, kindness goes a long way.
  • Be intentional about how you will use this time. When you are past this crisis and looking back on it, what things of value would you hope to have pursued? Spend energy increasing your awareness of unhealthy control in your life and practice a peaceful surrender to God. Go for a walk during this spring season and be carried away from stress with fresh fragrances of blooming plants and beautiful shades of green as new life begins to sprout. Pursue these present moments and move away from anxious thoughts by reminding yourself that the One who gave you your first breath, gives you each one. Then, notice your breathing as you walk…just notice it, don't worry about changing it. Spend the extra time these restrictions give you to have more connection with your spouse and children. Use phone calls and video options to stay connected to family that live further away. Take time to read a book that will move you forward with your counseling goals or one that you have been wanting to read for a long time. And spend time in prayer, asking God to help you have His perspective and to bring the good He desires from this evil situation.

We all have to face the realization that there are many things in this world and in our relationships that we cannot change. COVID-19 is a new disease and a potential threat to our health, but it need not be to our hearts. Our hearts have faced many possible threats and we have learned to release our anxiety and be empowered without obsession. Take care of yourselves and allow ALCS to continue to offer help in a manner that best suits your needs. We look forward to connecting with you in person, with a phone call, or with a video screen.

Doxy.me How-To