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

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

Impact on Clients

While the nature of services being provided does make a difference, we found that similar issues were being reported in most cases by all three national populations regarding the challenges faced by their clients. An important question can be posed: are these issues found to be prevalent in a broader sample of clients being provided with psychological services in these three nations? What about in other regions of the world? Anxiety was elevated for clients in all three nations as a result of the COVID-19 challenge. The presence of anxiety in the Covid experience has been researched by many researchers since the beginning of 2020 (a short summary of several projects can be found in Silberberg, 2020). An important question should be addressed concerning the type of feelings being addressed in therapy, coaching and consulting sessions around the world. In seeking to address this question we offer the following point of inquiry:

* Are anxiety and other emotions presented in a different way and to a different extent by those offering psychological services in different nations and/or in different service areas?

Fear among clients about becoming infected or infecting other people revealed some interesting differences among the three national populations. There were rather high ratings among the Asian and Israeli respondents, while lower ratings were offered by the North American respondents. We would identify this as a point of inquiry to be further explored in a multi-culture research:

* Is fear of infection a greater concern in some nations and cultures, and among those seeking psychological services in some service areas than for those seeking these services in other nations, cultures and areas?

There were several intriguing differences between our three populations regarding COVID-related challenges for clients that were less tangible that those concerning health. Increased confusion among their clients about or loss of life purpose was more often identified among North American and Asian respondents than among Israel respondents. Conversely, when it comes to issues associated with control and authority, Israeli respondents were more likely than North American or Asians to indicate that this is a challenge for their clients. Surprisingly, concerns about control and authority did not appears to be of greater concern for those receiving organizational consulting services. A point of inquiry is warranted:

* Are there significant national, cultural or service area differences regarding the extent to which life purpose and control/authority are threatened by pandemic viruses?

On the more positive side, we found that both the Israeli and Asian respondents, as well as the nontherapeutic services area respondents, indicated that their clients are likely to have found the virus to offer an opportunity for their own growth and/or movement in new directions. By contrast, a much smaller percent of the North American respondents and some of those providing therapeutic services rated growth as being engaged. The North American and Asian populations, however, indicated that many of their clients have found hope, empowerment and/or new vision of the future in the midst of COVID-19 challenges. A point of inquiry emerges from these interesting differences:

* Are there significant differences across nations, cultures and/or service areas as to the opportunities for growth, hope, empowerment, and vision of the future among those clients facing the COVID-19 challenge?

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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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