Non-Traditional Office Space Alternatives
Posted by Katie Civiletto on November 1, 2016 10:30 AM EDT
There are a number of reasons that Give an Hour clients and providers may be unwilling or unable to meet in a traditonal office setting. If you are a provider who is in need of a creative solution, or if you are a provider who has experienced meeting in alternative settings, we invite you to share your questions and comments with our network.
Not All Providers Have An Office
Give an Hour providers come to volunteer with a myriad of experience and personal careers. Not all of our providers work in a private practice setting; some work in positions that do not offer clinical meeting space. Give an Hour often receives emails from mental health professionals who would like to maintain their license after retirement for the express purpose of assisting Give an Hour clients. In addition, some providers work in public positions (such as state or federal employment) but are fully qualified to assist Give an Hour clients as they are needed. In October 2016, Give an Hour staff asked providers in our Reserve Component Program to share with us some helpful feedback and advise they have for providers who do not have access to traditional office space. Below is their responses. If you would like to include your thoughts please do so in the comment section of this article or email them to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Give an Hour Provider- A. Brooke Fox, LPC, NCC
"I have been meeting with clients in the community at local libraries. I have found that most community libraries have "meeting rooms" available for non-profit purposes, that you can book ahead of time (most of the time you can book online on the library's website and view which dates/times are available). As long as you state that you are using the space for non-profit purposes, they are happy to let you use their space free of charge. And the great thing is, you are able to have a confidential space available to you and your client. The only tricky thing I have run into (sometimes) is that if your client only likes to book their sessions week to week (i.e. not the same day/time each week), the meeting room space may not always be available on a week's notice (I give this disclaimer to my clients, and explain this is a shared space with the community). Therefore I try to pin down a day/time that works best and will book out the meeting room for the entire month, if possible. You can cancel 24 hours in advance if needed."
Give an Hour Provider- Barbara C. DeLeone, MEd, CRC, LPCC
"I can contribute to the discussion about office space for counseling. Certainly nothing beats the privacy of an office, where sound machines, CD, radio can be used to keep sessions private. I have heard from clients about other counseling offices where sessions could be completely heard from the waiting room. Client privacy is paramount! Though I have an office, some of my work, minimally including Give an Hour, requires me to travel to people who are not able to travel to my office. In these cases, libraries are our allies, in most cases. I have used libraries as meeting places all over northeast Ohio. Some libraries are buggers, but most allow use of their private study or private meeting or conference rooms to most who ask. At times, library staff ask if money is being exchanged as part of using their meeting space. Library staff should not be told that counseling is taking place because that is a violation of client privacy. Sometimes, rooms need scheduled prior to the meeting and others are first-come, first-served. At the very least, a library may provide a quiet area for quiet talk, but that is always a last resort since clients' privacy is always of primary concern. I have met clients at their homes but rarely. If the situation was ideal, it could be considered but a provider must feel safe and privacy must be maintained at a home, as well. Fast-food or other restaurants should not be considered, with exceptions, though I am aware it is done. There is a McDonald's in Youngstown, OH that has not one, but two completely private meeting rooms, apparently open for anyone. I have had completely private client meetings there. However, most restaurants are noisy and others may hear private information."