In accordance with the recommendations of the Center for Disease Control (CDC) and the State Government of New York related to restrictions on gatherings of people, we at the Center for Cognitive and Dialectical Behavior Therapy (CCDBT) have decided to enact our contingency plan for DBT Skills Group. This contingency plan has been in development since news of the COVID-19 issues arose.
UPDATE: As of March 17, 2020 at 9:00PM, we will not be on site in our CCDBT offices in accordance with requests from local and state governments. CCDBT has full capacity to continue with all aspects of our Center via remote access and videoconferencing, including individual sessions, family sessions, DBT Skills Groups, and Intake Appointments.
DBT believes that skills are the foundation of building a life worth living. We think it is critical to keep skills training in our lives during this trying and confusing time. And DBT skills and mindfulness may be even more important to us now, to help us manage the fears and emotions that we are all feeling about the changes going on around us.
However, given recent events, and the closings of group outings, schools, universities and general meetings, we have had to be creative in finding ways to sustain our DBT group program.
We have partnered with the Zoom Video Conferencing platform, due to their HIPAA compliant privacy encryption, to be able to hold our DBT groups and individual sessions by Video Conference. Please stay home and log in to the group (or individual sessions/family sessions/intake appointments) from there.
***Starting on March 16, 2020, we will hold all DBT groups via Zoom until clearance has been given to resume group meetings of this type. This webpage describes the CCDBT plan. As a result of our ability to provide interactive groups in this way, no groups or skills will be missed or skipped, and we will be able to keep to our schedule and our curriculum plan. Barring other unforeseen events, this plan will ensure that your learning of DBT skills and your DBT graduation will not be slowed or held back.
UPDATE: As of March 17, 2020 at 9PM, clinical services of all types will use Zoom videoconferencing (or phone sessions), including Individual sessions, family sessions, DBT Skills Groups (Zoom only) and Intake Appointments (Zoom only).
Please discuss using Zoom for your individual sessions with your individual therapist. You may also wish to discuss options for sessions over the phone. We want to collaborate with you to find ways to sustain the good focus your therapy, especially during these emotion filled, stressful, and anxious times.
- LOG ON: Prior to your group or individual session start time, you will receive an email with a link to the specific Zoom Meeting for your DBT group and time, allowing you to “attend” group from home. If you are in one of CCDBT’s Family DBT Skills groups, you will log on ONCE as a family. (Note: To keep a better organization to this complex process, we will not be able to accommodate switches to other groups at least for the time being.) Your group will all receive this link. More specific instructions on how to join the Zoom meeting can be found HERE. There will be no specific charge to you for this video conferencing. While standard DBT Skills Group rates will apply, CCDBT will cover all Zoom costs to host these video DBT groups (Note: CCDBT will not be responsible for your internet costs or your cell phone costs).
- WHAT YOU WILL SEE: The Group Leaders will be on video on your computer screen and will be able to show the handouts and/or whiteboard just like on our group room televisions. The first week, group members/families will be able to see other group members’ videos. If the technology and effective participation allows, we will continue this plan.
- PROTECT YOUR PRIVACY. Although the Encryption of the video signal and data are HIPAA compliant, we request that you add an additional step to protect your privacy by creating a pseudonym (a fake name) to log on to the video conference (or just use your initials only). That name/initials will be visible on the screen, i.e., each leader and each family will have one “box” on the screen. The leaders’ “boxes” will have a video images of the leaders. The individual clients’ boxes (or families’ boxes for Multifamily Adolescent DBT Skills Groups) will have video that can be turned on or off by the leader. The group leaders will mute/unmute group members’ audio, which will allow group members to be able to talk to the group. Group members will be able to hear each other talk. To protect and uphold confidentiality of all clients, please do not record the screen or the audio in any way.
- WAYS TO LOG IN. There are three ways to log on to CCDBT’s Zoom DBT Groups:
- If you have a webcam on your laptop or computer, just use that computer. The video and audio will then work through Zoom. You will be able to see the screen with the group leaders on video (and any handouts they share on the screen). Click “Use Computer for Audio” when you see that prompt.
- If you have an iPad, you can download the Zoom Cloud Meetings App and it will work the same as a computer. You will be able to see the screen with the group leaders on video (and any handouts they share on the screen). When the leaders unmute your audio, you will be able to speak and be heard by all participants. You will be able to hear the leaders and any other participants who are unmuted by the leaders (one by one to maintain organization).
- If you DO NOT have a webcam on a laptop or desktop computer, you will want to “log in” twice, once to see the leaders on video (using a computer) and once for audio (using a phone). If you log on to a computer that does not have a webcam, microphone, or speakers, you will still see the leaders, but will not be able to speak to them or hear anyone talk. So, while keeping that video on the computer screen, you would ALSO call a phone number that will be provided for that specific video conference (and put it on speakerphone for you or your family for Multifamily DBT Skills Group) so you can do the audio part through the phone.
- WE SINCERELY REQUEST THAT WE ALL STAY MINDFUL. We request that everything we are learning about mindfulness be applied to our time in our video DBT group. Please stay one-mindful, i.e., please stay off your phones, please do not get up and down (except for an extreme need), please do not have side conversations with your family. Please do ALL have your DBT binders with you and make a special effort to have your DBT Homework written down. Please be ready to answer questions when called upon to do so, just like in our usual in-person groups. Our hope is that this innovative and creative method will stay as close as possible to our usual groups and how we usually teach and interact, even as it allows us to protect ourselves and our families from illness.
NOTE: You will be receiving additional emails related to CCDBT services by Video Conferencing.
We ask for your patience and your Distress Tolerance skills. Coping Ahead would suggest to us that there will be hiccoughs and glitches that may occur in this process. We will try to work these issues out during group as well as we can and will collaborate with you and your family to make lemonade out of lemons in any way we can do and need to do. Thank you.
Additional information about the Zoom HIPAA compliant platform is available upon request or by visiting the Zoom HIPAA pdf on the Zoom website.