AOH is going online
2020 has been quite the year right? COVID-19, with both the legitimacy of the illness itself AND the illegitimacy of all the fear-based responses surrounding our city, nation, and the world, has changed the way many business are running--if they are even able to continue running. Anchor of Hope has felt the impact of this pandemic as many of you have as well which has forced me to look inside, take my own advice around facing fear and getting out of my own comfort zone, and consider new and innovative ways of delivering a high standard of care AND find a way to grow and expand through a decimated marketplace. Many of you also know that we were trying to expand our location in Airdrie and were desiring to build a new property in Airdrie, however, due to rising costs and the financial impact that Anchor of Hope sustained over the past 5 months, we unfortunately had to cancel our build plans and have decided to relocate to a much cheaper market outside of the Calgary / Airdrie area which saved us considerable resources. This decision will open up growth in an entirely new market and preceded the only conclusion we were left with -- GROW online.
Oh Look! Hello FEAR!!
Yes, even I am battling some of my own fears with this decision. Here's some of the thoughts running through my mind even as I type this newsletter....
In reflection, I do believe that I can satisfy the concerns within my heart and my hope is that each of you will TEST this with me. Become the detective once again and avoid judging or pre-judging (prejudice) what you feel the online experience will look like and let's continue our journey together, one step at a time, at a pace that each of you will set. This being said, I have also begun the process of screening potential clinicians who are passionate to build Anchor of Hope with me who can remain within the Alberta marketplace and can offer each of you the face to face experience if you cannot handle the online experience.
These online-only changes will start taking effect mid-August and will continue this way until my move is completed and my new office is setup. My website and all contact information will remain the same and the online booking system will continue to allow each of you the flexibility to select the best session times that work for your schedule. For those who have not already experienced a Zoom (virtual) session with me, when you book a virtual session, the link to the meeting room will be included in the confirmation email when you book and it is a simple 1-click process to be admitted into the virtual room with me.
Okay... So Now What??
Glad you asked! There are a couple of things that are being done on my end and a few things that could also be done on your end to improve your online experience. I am currently looking into having a physical location (set up similar to my existing office) with a video link permanently installed in that room to give clients the chance to still leave the home and come to a private and quiet location for their session. More to follow on this when the details are finalized. For those who will opt to remain at home, here are a couple things that can be done to improve the quality of the online experience:
1) MINIMIZE distractions! Turn off televisions, podcasts, etc. Also, if you would have normally had a babysitter for our sessions, continue that good habit so that the kiddos are not interrupting our session.
2) Treat this as you would a normal session with me. Get dressed, complete your morning routine, and eat before joining the Zoom meeting, find a comfortable place to sit, engage, and participate (preferably not in pajamas or in bed).
3) Invest is a simple webcam and microphone so that your computer screen can be used for our Zoom session.
4) If this is not possible, consider installing Zoom on your iPad/tablet or laptop or other larger-screened device to enhance the online experience.
5) If none of these are options, a smart-phone can be used; however having a small phone tripod (check out Amazon) or a way of leaning your device against something will free up your hands for note taking, interaction, etc.
6) Regular phones can also be used if video options are just not realistic and I am more than comfortable conducting telephone counselling sessions if this is all we have access to.
I have been honored and privileged to work alongside every one of you and I hope this transition will be a "see you soon" instead of a "goodbye." Your questions are welcomed and you can always email us with any concerns and I will do my very best to answer everything in a timely manner. I value being in your circle and I look forward to growing online with you all very soon.
Clinical Role Model: Patch Adams. Specialist RN working exclusively in mental health since 2011. Genuine, holistic approach, and motivated by change and impact in the lives of those he walks alongside of.