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

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

While 4% of the training and teaching respondents indicated that isolation and loneliness was “never” a challenge for those people they were serving or “rarely” a challenge (24%), they tended, like our two therapy populations, to rate this concern as “often” a challenge (56%) and even a “predominant” challenge (16%). The ratings for our organizational consultants clustered around the two central categories. None of these respondents thought that isolation and loneliness was “never” a challenge for their clients, but they also never thought that this challenge was of “predominant” concern. 40% rated this challenge as “rarely” present, and 60% rated this challenge as “often” apparent among their clients (thus tending to align them with the other three populations regarding the observation that loneliness and isolation were often found during the COVID era).

The fourth challenge (depression) is understandably more frequently considered to be an issue for those doing therapy than for those working in organizational settings. 71% of those doing personal therapy indicated that depression was “often” a challenge, and 8% of our respondents indicated that this was a “predominant” challenge for their clients. There were no ratings of depression as “never” found among their clients, and only 21% of the respondents indicates that this challenge was “rarely” presented. Similarly, none of the group therapy respondents checked “never” and only 15% checked “rarely.” A rather large percent (85%) indicated that depression will “often” a challenge for those clients they are serving in a group setting, and 23% indicated that this was a “predominant” challenge.

Both those providing organizational consulting and those providing either training or teaching indicate that they are less likely to encounter depression among those people they are serving—yet there was still some evidence of depression. 30% of the organizational consultants indicate that depression was “never” found among their clients, while 40% indicated that depression was “rarely” an issue. None of our organizational consulting respondents thought that depression was a “predominant” issue for their clients.

Among those providing training and teaching there were 12% who indicated that depression was “never” an issue for those they serve, with 28% rating depression as “rarely” an issue. At the level of “often” and “predominant”, the trainers and teachers tended to fall in their ratings between the therapist and consultants. 56% of this fourth population of respondents indicated that depression was “often” a concern for their clients, while 4% indicated that this was a “predominant” concern. Tt appears that depression was of greater concern for those doing individual or group therapy than for those doing organizational consulting or offering training or teaching. However, depression was still to be found in all four areas of psychological service—perhaps this was especially the case during the COVID-19 era.

The next two challenges are of a more existential or organizational nature. Are there differences, therefore, in the ratings of our respondents given their area of service. The first of these challenges concerns confusion about or loss of life purpose. We do find that our personal and group therapists tend to cluster in the middle two categories when rating this challenge. 63% of those doing personal therapy rated this challenge as being “rarely” presented by those clients, while 25% rated this challenge as “often” being presented. Only 4% indicated that this “never” was presented and only 8% rated this as a “predominant” challenge. Similarly, 62% of those offering group therapy rated this challenge as being “rarely” presented by those clients, while slightly more than those doing personal therapy (38%) rated this challenge as “often” being presented. None of the group therapy respondents indicated that this “never” was present and nine rated this as a “predominant” challenge.

Most of the organizational consultants rated confusion and loss of purpose as never occurring (40%) or as rarely occurring (50%). There was an outlier effect with 10% indicating this challenge as “predominant.” The rating of those doing training and teaching was quite dispersed. 24% said this was “never” a challenge, with 44% indicating this was “rarely” a challenge. Another 20% indicated this was “often” a challenge, and even 12% indicated this was of “predominant” concern. As one might anticipate in asking respondents to reflect on something as elusive as confusion and loss of life purpose, the ratings were diverse—though this clearly was an issue for some clients receiving psychological services during the COVID-19 era.

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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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