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Field Notes: COVID-19 and the Provision of Psychological Services

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[These field notes are provided as a first, preliminary rendering of a landscape and portrait of the impact which COVID=19 had during 2020 on those providing psychological services in three countries or regions of the world. Assisted by my colleague, Dr. Varda Silberberg, we gathered a limited sample of data via a Survey Monkey and written comments associated with this survey. A final, more selective and reserved statement regarding our findings is to be found in a chapter (originally presented in Hebrew) that will be included in an upcoming book edited by Dr. Silberberg. The preliminary notes to be offered in this essay are intended to inspire – perhaps even provoke—a much more extensive study. While I wish to acknowledge the important contribution made by Dr. Silberberg to this report, I also need to acknowledge that the reflections and conclusions reached in this field report represent only my own contributions and do not necessarily represent the reflections and conclusions that would be made by Dr. Silberberg.]

The COVID-19 virus clearly had an impact on all walks of life throughout the world over the past two years. The set of interviews conducted by Varda Silberberg in Israel and the presentation of findings from a study of the virus’s impact in the United States by me suggests that the impact was felt among those providing psychological services in these two countries (and we proposed in many other countries).

In order to gain a better sense of the nature and extent of this impact in the United States, Israel and other countries (in both North America and Asia), we prepared a brief, Internet-based survey (using Survey Monkey) that offered a set of six questions regarding the impact, as well as an open-ended question invited respondents to “describe one important lesson” that they have taken from grappling with the COVID-19 challenge. This survey was sent to all members of the PSP Global Community (graduates of The Professional School of Psychology—a graduate school serving human service professionals throughout the world).

We received a total of 49 responses to this survey—which was a surprisingly large number given the short time interval we imposed and our reticence about bothering our busy colleagues with a second or third request for their participation. We had anticipated 20 to 30 responses, so find the level of support for this project to be quite gratifying. Given the small sample size and nature of ratings being requested, we have produced only basic descriptive statistics (frequencies of responses to each option) and have identified this essay as a preliminary field report that is being further refined by Dr. Silberberg and myself for final presentation in the book edited by Dr. Silberberg.

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