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

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

However, none of these respondents reported that increased anxiety was a “predominant” issue for their clients, and 20% indicated that increased anxiety was “rarely” an issue. 10% of the organizational consultants indicated that increased anxiety was never an issue for those clients they were serving. Apparently, increased anxiety was to be found everywhere—though not with all the clients being served by the organizational consultants or those doing psychological training and teaching. Increased anxiety seems to have been particularly prevalent in the group psychotherapy sessions as well as the personal psychotherapy sessions. This appears also to be a major issue being addressed in training and teaching sessions by our survey respondents.

The clients being served by our respondents tended to come to their sessions with at least some fear regarding being infected by the virus—though this fear was less prevalent or intense than the challenge of increased anxiety. Among those providing personal therapy, there were 4% indicating that fear of infection was never an issue for their clients and 54% who indicated that this was “rarely” a concern. 33% indicated that this fear was “often” identified, and 8% indicated that fear of infection was a “predominant” concern. A similar pattern of dispersed ratings was found among those providing group psychotherapy. 8% indicated that fear of infection was never an issue for their group clients and 40% indicated that this was “rarely” a concern. 31% indicated that this fear was “often” identified. It is of particular interest that 15% of the group clients indicated that fear of infection was a “predominant” concern.

This pattern of dispersed ratings was replicated by our training and teaching respondents. Once again, 8% indicated that fear of infection was never an issue for the people they were serving and 54% indicated that this was “rarely” a concern. 33% of our respondents indicated that this fear of infection was “often” identified. 4% of their clients indicated that fear of infection was a “predominant” concern.  A pattern of dispersion was also recorded by our organizational consultants—though at a lower level than for the other three populations. 11% of their clients indicated that fear of infection was never an issue and 67% indicated that this was “rarely” a concern. 22% of our organizational consultant respondents indicated that this fear of infection was “often” identified by their clients. However, none of their clients indicated that fear of infection was a “predominant” concern. Our respondents seem to differ to a fairly large extent regarding their perceptions of the fear expressed by their clients about becoming infected—or the dispersion of ratings might reflect the wide range of reactions of their clients regarding the threat of infection (replicating widely documented diversity of reactions among those living in many countries during the COVID era).

We turn to the third and fourth challenges facing the clients being served by our respondents. The third challenge concerns an increased sense of isolation and/or increased loneliness. While this challenge was frequently identified by their clients, the ratings were a bit lower for those offering organizational consulting services. Among the personal therapists, this challenge was sometimes “rarely” identified (13%) and more frequently identified as “often” by clients (54%). Our personal therapy respondents identified the challenge of isolation and loneliness as “predominant” 33% of the time. The “never” rating was checked by none of our personal therapy respondents. “Never” was also never checked by our respondents doing group therapy, and, like those doing personal therapy, 23% of our group therapy respondents were witnessing loneliness and isolation as “predominant” among 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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