Brandeis Counseling Center holds confidential Zoom appointments

October 16, 2020

Brandeis counselors have been holding confidential Zoom appointments either at their desks at the Brandeis Counseling Center (BCC) or from home, according to BCC Director Amy Scobie-Carroll. 

“We often use headphones so that even if someone were to enter the room, the sound could not be heard,” Scobie-Carroll told The Hoot in an email. “Many staff use sound machines not only at the BCC but outside their “office” room at home.”

All staff were required to go through a multi-hour training on providing telehealth when the campus went remote in March, according to Scobie-Carroll. She said that the training covered many topics and emphasized how to make sure that telehealth is secure and private.

“Staff routinely explain confidentiality to students and make sure there is a good plan for both the student and the counselor,” Scobie-Caroll said in the email. “It has gone remarkably well so far. We hear from most students they are finding telehealth to be acceptable, and sometimes we even hear that students prefer it.”

The university arranged for counselors to have a Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) compliant version of Zoom. The BCC announced that they would provide confidential counseling, group therapy, and psychiatry over the “confidential Zoom platform,” on Aug. 31.

“We have had some situations in which students have had difficulty finding a private space to be on zoom, so we have worked with students to help them find a location,” said Scobie-Carroll. “Once in a while there may be a disruption such as a dog barking nearby, or an internet problem. Usually both the student and counselor are able to adapt and find a solution. 

The BCC will be following the recommendations of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the American Psychological Association, by continuing to care for our students through telehealth services whenever possible, according to their website. 

“Overall, I’d say the adjustment has gone well, and thanks to telehealth we are able to continue to provide services safely and effectively,” said Scobie-Carroll.

The BCC will continue to provide urgent care appointments at 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. EDT Monday-Friday, according to the BCC website. Students who are interested in individual or group therapy call the front desk at 781-736-3730 Monday-Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and for urgent needs, they can call the front desk to be connected to the 24/7 answering service and an on-call clinician.   

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