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

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

What about potential changes in the client populations being served? Only in the case of a shift to more personal services were a majority of responses indicative for both the Asian and Israeli practitioners of some change. The pattern of responses regarding a shift to more group work was similar to those for a shift to more personal services. A fairly large percent of both the Asian and Israeli respondents indicated shifting toward group work, while this category was chosen by none of the North American respondents. Though none of our respondents seems to be moving most of their work to organizations (unless they are already organizational consultants), we did find that a few of the North Americans and Asian respondents indicated that this could be a “major shift” for them in the near future as a result of the virus. None of the Israeli respondent anticipate a major shift. Our final, ninth point of inquiry concerns the presence or absence of shifts in the clients being served. Are there major shifts among any of our three populations regarding their delivery of personal, group or organizational services as a result of the COVID-19 challenge?

Offering Psychological Services during the COVID-19 Era: Portraits of Differences as Function of Type of Psychological Service Provided

With our attention shifting now to differences that might be found between respondents who are offering various kinds of psychological services, we must be much more selective concerning the challenges on in which we focus, for the sample size in each of the five service areas is smaller than was the case regarding nationality. [Note: we are not considering the “psychological coaching” area for there were few respondents in this area and those who did respond were always included in at least one other area]. We begin as was the case with national differences, by looking at items concerned with client experiences.

Client Experiences

Virtually all of those providing therapeutic services reported that their clients experienced quite a bit of anxiety as a result of the virus. Many of those providing personal therapy reported that their clients “often” reported increased anxiety (77%) and even 9% indicated that increased anxiety was “predominant” among their clients. Only 14% of those offering personal therapy indicated that increased anxiety was rarely an issue, and none reported increased anxiety as never an issue. Slightly higher ratings were reported by those providing group therapy, with 92% reporting that their clients often reported increased anxiety and 8% indicating that increased anxiety was a predominant challenge.  Once again, none of the group therapists indicated that increased anxiety was never an issue for them.

The results were more mixed among those providing training and teaching. 4% indicated that this was never an issue for their clients, while 13% indicated that increased anxiety was “rarely” an issue. On the other hand, like those providing therapy, 70% of the trainers and teachers reported that increased anxiety was “often” reported by their clients, and 13% indicated that increased anxiety was a predominant issue for those people they were serving. The organizational consultants reported just as often (70%) as the other three service providers that increased anxiety was “often” a concern for their clients.


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About the Author

William BergquistWilliam Bergquist, Ph.D. An international coach and consultant in the fields of psychology, management and public administration, author of more than 50 books, and president of a psychology institute. Dr. Bergquist consults on and writes about personal, group, organizational and societal transitions and transformations. His published work ranges from the personal transitions of men and women in their 50s and the struggles of men and women in recovering from strokes to the experiences of freedom among the men and women of Eastern Europe following the collapse of the Soviet Union. In recent years, Bergquist has focused on the processes of organizational coaching. He is coauthor with Agnes Mura of coachbook, co-founder of the International Journal of Coaching in Organizations and co-founder of the International Consortium for Coaching in Organizations.

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