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

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

Impact on Services Being Delivered and Those Delivering These Services

When we turn to the impact of the virus on the psychological practices being offered by our survey respondents, we find that some of the North American and Israeli respondents, as well as those providing therapeutic services, report seeing more clients, whereas very few of the Asian respondents or organizational consultants reported an increase. The perceived impact of the virus on our respondents’ effectiveness yielded several interesting differences. The Asian respondents and organizational consultants were not quite as confident regarding their effectiveness as were the North Americans, Israelis and those p0roviding therapeutic services. The Asian ratings were quite dispersed. By contrast, many of the Israeli respondents indicated that they have become more effective. Ratings of the North Americans resided somewhere between the Israelis and Asian.

We pose an important point of inquiry regarding the self-perceptions and realities of our survey respondents regarding effectiveness:

* What are the differences, if any, across nations, cultures and service areas regarding adaptivity or “agility” (a now popular term)—in responding to new challenges? Can the differences really be defined in terms of effectiveness or are they a matter of perception and self-efficacy?

We also studied the extent to which our respondents experienced their own anxiety as a result of the virus. All our Asian respondents indicating that anxiety was a concern in their own personal life, whereas the North American respondents often regarded their person concern about increased anxiety as nonexistent or minimal. The Israelis were even less inclined to view anxiety as a personal concern. Things shift when our respondents rate the extent to which increased isolation and/or sense of loneliness becomes a concern. It is the Israeli respondents who frequently rate this as a concern, whereas the Asian and North American respondents were less likely to rate this as a concern. We did not find any major differences regarding the impact of COVID-19 on practitioners as a function of their service area. Our point of inquiry concerns the challenge of the COVID-19:

* What are the differences, if any, across nations, cultures and service areas for practitioners in the fields of psychology, facing the COVID-19 challenge in their personal lives, (in terms of anxiety, isolation and self-mental health), and how does these differences affect their perception of effectiveness?

We found in analyzing the survey data that while some of the Israeli respondents identified major negative challenges in their life resulting from COVID, they also frequently indicated greater opportunities for growth and new directions than did our North American or Asian respondents. We can identify a proposition for further research:

* Was the virus viewed in quite different ways by those who provide psychological services of various kinds in different regions of the world? If there are reported differences, do they result from the actual experiences with which each respondent had to deal in their own life or is it a matter of how these experiences are framed and engaged?

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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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