2021 CMSC Annual Meeting

Psychoanalytic Telepsychology with MS Patients and Their Support People

MOC02

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This is not a Research-based presentation abstract. I would like to present material based on present and ongoing experiences working with MS patients and their Support Team vis-a-vis Tele-therapy Services. Prior to the pandemic, I began working to establish a business specifically aimed at working with non-ambulatory and rurally-based MS patients for whom psychological care is both difficult to connect with and not readily available, due to ambulation challenges and lack of local providers in a given geographical area. As part of establishing this business, I have completed training and have become a Certified Tele-behavioral Health Specialist. Additionally, I am in the process of getting credentialed as an ABPP that would allow me to service said populations beyond the state of New York, where I am presently licensed. Apart from setting up this business (the name of which is currently under review by the NY State Department of Organizations), due to the pandemic, I have transitioned my entire private practice, including with individuals with Multiple Sclerosis to working on a HIPAA-compliant platform with much success. As there are certain Informed Consent requirements particular to Tele-treatment, and specifically geared to individuals who might have MS-related limitations, I now include new and necessary assessments for each session to ascertain safety, cognitive capacity, privacy, and physical ability to partake in a therapy session. As a psychoanalyst, I have always worked with all of my patients from an analytic model of care with a significant aim of attaining a more thorough level of self-awareness. This is no different with my MS population of patients. While I do incorporate some behavioral techniques into my care model, since I see the diagnosis and ongoing lifestyle of living with an unpredictable disease from a trauma-model perspective, working from an analytic frame has been and continues to be both suitable and highly useful in helping those with MS and their Support People manage and live their respective lives with this diagnosis.