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Telemedicine: How to keep your distance and see your counselor, too

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According to Scott Hendrickson, a Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor (L.C.P.C.) and President of Heritage Counseling Center in Plainfield, IL, the coronavirus outbreak and its subsequent requirement to limit personal interactions flies in the face of optimal mental health practice.

But, as Hendrickson notes, good mental health is learning to accept and deal with difficult situations as they arise.

"Here we all are—in this together and together we will get through it," Hendrickson said.

Accordingly, Heritage Counseling Center is now giving its clients the option of attending their sessions in person at the office, or through telehealth. Ahead of the curve, Heritage Counseling set up a secure, HIPAA compliant platform that provides clients private, face-to-face video conferencing sessions. These virtual sessions, being done via computer, tablet or phone, are now being authorized by most if not all major insurance carriers and are treated like a regular office visit says Hendrickson. So, copays, co-insurances and deductibles still apply per usual.

Of course, Heritage Counseling professionals are still at their office for those clients that prefer to see them in-person. However, there are some new protocols. Heritage Counseling is asking that anyone with coronavirus symptoms switch to telehealth visits until they are healthy again.

Also, to help clients with immediate concerns, Heritage Counseling is allowing their patients to wait in their cars instead of the office's waiting room. Counselors are texting them when they are ready and meeting clients at the door so they can go straight through to his/her offices which are being regularly cleaned and disinfected.

"As a Christian, faith-based counseling center, we believe God is with us through all of this," says Hendrickson. "He hears our prayers and provides us what we need from day to day."

For Hendrickson, who has been counseling in Illinois since 1999, Philippians 4:5-7 is a passage of Scripture he personally finds encouraging and of practical help for his own anxieties.

Those words are: "Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus."

Heritage Counseling Center can be reached at 815.577.8970 (press 1 for the intake counselor), or you can make an appointment online at: https://www.heritagecounseling.com/appointment.

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