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

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

There was also an increased sense of isolation and loneliness among many of their clients.  53% or the survey respondents identified this challenge as being “often” present and 17% indicated that isolation and loneliness were predominant issues in their work. The other major area of increase as a result of the virus was the experience of depression (53% of the respondents indicating “often: but only 4 % indicating “predominant”). Other challenges were less often rated as prevalent. The fear of becoming infected with the virus, fear of illness in general, and confusion about /loss of life purpose being often rated as “rarely” occurring among their clients.

Finally, there were several challenges that produced highly disparate ratings These included challenges associated with loss of control and/or authority. We will see if this is a challenge that is most often found among those seeking organizational consulting assistance. There are also two challenges that are associated with the potential “up-side” of the COVID-19 experience. We wanted to offer the possibility of positive as well as negative virus-related outcomes. As one might expect, there was great disparity of ratings by our respondents regarding these more positive outcomes. There were major differences in ratings among respondents regarding new opportunities for growth and/or new life directions, as well as ratings regarding clients finding hope, empowerment and/or new vision of the future in the midst of COVID-19 challenges. There are many ways to frame experiences of the COVID-19 era—some of them more positive than others.

Service-Related Impact of COVID-19 on those Providing the Psychological Services

We asked our survey monkey respondents to reflect on their own psychological services regarding such “nuts and bolts” issues as number of clients being served and income received during the era of the virus. We found minimal COVID-19 era change for most of our respondents. They were seeing the same number of clients – no more and no less in most instances. There was small (20%) and moderate (20%) increase in number of clients being served for some of our respondents and even a high level of increase for about the same number of respondents (21%). However, 39% of our respondents indicated no increase. An even greater percent of our respondents (57%) indicated that there was no decrease in number of clients being services—though 11% did indicate a major decrease. These results suggest that there was rarely the collapse in services being provided (as has so often been the case in many other areas of human service). The virus apparently produced a sustained need for psychological services.

In the midst of this sustained request for psychological services comes the matter of finances. Were there many changes in level of income for our respondents? Very few respondents indicated either an increase in income (54% indicating no change) or decrease in income (62% indicating no change). We did find that a small number of respondents (13%) indicated a significant decrease, but only 7% indicated a significant increase. There was an impact for a small number of providers of psychological services, but not for many of our respondents. We will look into differences regarding shifts in income (as well as number of clients being services) as we exam responds and create portraits for specific geographic regions and areas of service being provided.


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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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