The Bravo Counseling Group, LLC and Email

Picture1

The Bravo Counseling Group, LLC and Email

The Bravo Counseling Group, LLC takes your privacy seriously. As you likely know, emails are not a secure form of communication. Emails are, however, extremely convenient. While The Bravo Counseling Group, LLC would like to make your counseling experience as convenient to you as possible, in order to protect your confidentiality, we have created some restrictions on how we send and receive information.

Regarding email: Our email address will be changing from LauraPeddieBravoLMHC@gmail.com to Laura@TheBravoCounselingGroup.com. This change will occur in order to utilize a business email account with a HIPAA business partner agreement with the email provider, which is Gmail/Google. (If you would like to read more about HIPAA, you may visit this website: http://www.hhs.gov/ocr/privacy/).

If you desire to schedule and reschedule appointments via email (or text message), you are welcome to do so. We simply require a release of information form in order to be able to provide this for you. Remember, you control your information including if and how it can be shared. Emails or texts which simply schedule appointments do not require encryption, but they can be encrypted if you would like.

If you love the convenience of email, and if you do not mind if your emails are not 100% confidential, you remain able to send private information to The Bravo Counseling Group, LLC, however, you will need to fill out a special release of information form for this. According to The Person Centered Tech, http://www.personcenteredtech.com/, clients are able to choose to disregard HIPAA if that is their choice. The Bravo Counseling Group, LLC, however, cannot disregard HIPAA (and HITECH) changes, without a release of information and documenting the client’s wishes. That means you may email your confidential information to The Bravo Counseling Group, LLC, but, The Bravo Counseling Group, LLC cannot respond in kind. The Bravo Counseling Group, LLC must use encryption when sending emails which contain confidential information.

Using encryption is fairly simply. If you use Gmail, for example, you would need to open your Gmail email account in Google Chrome. Google Chrome provides free encryption. Additionally, your counselor will have to ask you a question which only you would know the answer to. It is also recommend to make this question and answer tricky, for example: “What is your favoriate color?” and your answer may be the city you were born, i.e. “Orlando.” Before sending confidential emails back and forth, you and your counselor will work out some questions and answers that only you would know. Likewise, if you want to encrypt your confidential information before sending to your counselor, you and s/he will need to work out a question and answer so that s/he will be able to unlock your email.

In sum, The Bravo Counseling Group, LLC wishes to provide you the most convenient counseling process possible, along with doing the utmost to protect your confidentiality.

If you have any questions about The Bravo Counseling Group, LLC and email, please do not hesitate to contact us at 407-222-6239.

The Bravo Counseling Group, LLC Christmas & New Year’s Hours

new year

Greetings! May each of you enjoy a wonderful Christmas and New Year!

While I’ve spoken with many, this is a reminder that The Bravo Counseling Group, LLC will be open Monday, 12/23/13, and then closed for vacation 12/24/13 through 1/5/14. Appointments are already filling up for the second week of January, 1/6/14, and if you would like to schedule, please feel free to leave a message on the office phone: 407-222-6239 and your call will be returned on Monday, 1/6/14.

As a reminder, The Bravo Counseling Group, LLC is not a provider of crisis services. If you are in crisis, please call 911.  If you feel you are not in “crisis” but strongly desire someone to talk to, you may call The National Suicide Prevention Hotline 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year: 1-800-273-TALK (8255) Here is their website: http://www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org/

Merry Christmas!

Laura Peddie-Bravo, LMHC, NCC

Owner

Three Tips for Dealing With The Boston Tragedy

Driving hoambulenceme with my child in the back seat, I learned something terrible had happened in Boston. I choose not to tune into local new stations due to graphic content, but I did pull my car over and checked the news on my Iphone. What I read was horrifying; critical wounds, dismemberment, and death in an instant after two bombs exploded in a heavily crowded area near the end of the Boston Marathon.

What does one do in the face of such horror?

First of all, if you find yourself deeply upset by this event, do not turn on the news coverage today. You already know what happened; and right now, no one knows any more. The details will come out eventually, but be patient and stop seeking news, and, by all means, do not look at the photos. They will only upset you more.

Secondly, know that while there was great horror and tragedy, there were also great heroics. Many people rushed towards the chaos to help victims. People who were spectators became engaged, ripping off their own clothing to make tourniquets for the wounded. In the midst of unthinkable pain and agony there was also amazing love, kindness, compassion, and bravery – things which we are so thankful for in our fellow Americans.

Third, hug your loved ones. Forget the worries of the day, the bad traffic, the parking ticket, the late fee, the spilled drink, or stain on the new carpet. It all pales in light of today’s tragedy. Let’s focus on our loved ones, hold them tight, and be thankful we are together.

There are many more ways to deal with trauma, and for more information, contact your counselor, spiritual adviser, the Red Cross, NAMI, or your local physician.

Resources:

http://www.NAMI.org

The Red Cross: http://www.redcross.org/find-help/disaster-recovery/recovering-emotionally

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs: http://www.ptsd.va.gov/public/index.asp