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

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

It is when we turn to the organizational consultants that we find the rather big differences. 50% of the organizational consultants indicated that there would likely be only “a little bit” of change in the use of technologies, whereas only 4% of the individual therapists and none of the group therapists suggested that there would be only “a little bit” of change for them. The trainers/therapist did sometime (24%) choose “a little bit”—but this was much lower than the 50% choice of this second lowest rating by the consultants. It should be noted that the other half of the organizational consultants did chose one of the two higher ratings: 40% chose “quite a bit” and 10% chose “major shift.” It seems that technologies are an important source of change for many of those providing psychological services—it was only a matter of some respondents who provide organizational consultation indicating that this not likely to be a major change for them. This might either be because they are already making extensive use of technologies in their consulting work, or because they do not see technology as being an answer to the new challenges that they face in providing psychological services as a result of the COVID-19 impact.

There were two other issues where some differences were noted among service area respondents. First, while there were minimal differences regarding the probable future increase in fees being charged, there were some differences when it comes to reduced fees. The organizational consultants were adamant about not charging less for their work. 100% indicated “no change.” While respondents in the other three areas were also inclined not to increase their fees (69-76% indicating “not at all”), there were some respondents among those offering individual therapy who checked either “a little bit” (17%) or “quite a bit” (8%). An even higher percent of the group therapists indicated either “a little bit” (23%) or “quite a bit (8%). Among those providing training or teaching, there were 12% who indicated “a little bit” and another 12% who indicated “quite a bit” when considering future reductions in the fees they charge. Could this relate to increased use of digital technology and fewer in-person engagements?

The final issue to be addressed was the potential shifting of direction in the type of services being provided as a result of the virus. The organizational consultants were most likely to indicate a change in direction. While 40% of the consultants indicated “not at all” regarding change in direction, another 40% indicated “a little bit” of change. 10% indicated “quite a bit” of change and the final 10% indicated that this could be a “major shift” for them. While this highest rating was provided by only one of our respondents, it would be of value to determine if this is more widespread among organizational consultants. Is this an important shift in the field for those providing psychological services as they encounter the changing nature of organizations with which they work? Are there changing needs for consultation that are being identified by the leaders of 21st Century organizations?

The other three populations of service area respondents tend to share a perspective regarding shifts in the direction of their work. Most of the respondents in all three areas indicated that a prospective shift was “not at all” part of their plans for the future (56-78%). Only a small percent in any of the three service areas indicated “a little bit” of shift (17-32%). There were a few of those providing individual therapy who are considering a “major shift” (4%), as was the case with those providing training and teacher (8%), while 10% of those in training/teaching indicated that there was “quite a bit” of a chance for shift in direction.

Thus, we find that most of the respondents to our survey are pretty set in their ways, though there are quite a few organizational consultants (60%) who are considering a shift, and a few respondents doing individual therapy (4%) and training/teaching (12%) who are contemplating some shifts. None of those doing group therapy indicated that they are considering “quite a bit” or “major shifts”. Perhaps, engagement in group psychotherapy is now firmly established in all three of the regions we have surveyed (North America, Asia, and Israel). COVID-19 seems to have had little impact on how group therapy is being conducted among the people we surveyed.


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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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