Field Notes: COVID-19 and the Provision of Psychological Services
At the other end of the scale, we find that respondents often identified an upside when rating their COVID-19 experience. 45% indicated they “often” find that the virus has opened opportunities for growth and new directions. 23% indicated that the virus had a “major impact” with regarding to these opportunities. Similarly, when asked if they were finding open, empowerment and/or new vision of future in the midst of COVID-19 challenges, our respondents indicated that this “often” (43%) was the case, or even that they have been impacted in a major way (17%) by this open door to empowerment and a new vision of the future. Virtually no one (less than 1%) indicated that the virus had no impact regarding these new vistas of growth and opportunity. Apparently, many of those in the PSP Global Community who completed our survey found a way to frame the challenges of COVID-19 as inspiring rather than depressing. They might have been anxious and fearful about infection but could move beyond these potentially debilitating experiences.
Potential Future Alterations in Provision of Psychological Services
Given the optimism to be found in the ratings of some survey respondents, it is appropriate for us to end this summary of the general survey results by identifying areas in which this optimistic framing of the virus might be focused. First, and most importantly, there was a general acknowledgement by many respondents that they will be using new strategies when working with their clients. 41% indicated that they would be using new strategies “quite often”, while another 43% indicated that they would use new strategies “a little bit.” There will not be major changes, but there definitely will be some changes for most of our respondents.
Responses to another item in the survey suggest that these new strategies are often related to the at least occasional provision of psychological services from a distance (using Zoom or some other communication technology). 49% of the respondents indicated that they are increasingly (“quite a bit”) making use of digital technologies. 28% even indicating that this is a “major shift” in their provision of psychological services. Only 4% indicated that their services are not at all impacted by the necessity (or desirability) of the new digital technologies. While we did not specifically ask, new strategies also might have been adopted to address the pressing challenges of anxiety and isolation (that we identified in reporting on the question regarding client experiences).
There are several areas where minimal change or no change is likely to take place in the psychological services being provided by our survey respondents. First, very few respondents indicated that they would charge more or charge less for their services. There apparently is also little inclination to shift direction of their work to more personal services or to more group-bases services. They also are not intending to shift directions to more organization-based services. In all cases (fees, shifting directions), less than 18% of the respondents indicated that they are likely to shift “quite a bit” or engage a “major shift” in the direction of their work. In general, most of our respondents want to stay put with what they are now doing—but are adding more technology in their provision of psychological services.
Exploring Differences in Survey Responses
We have now offered a landscape rendering of the world in which our respondents are likely to have been living during the COVID-19 era and the world in which they are likely to live in the near future. While these general findings are of value, we are fully aware that there are major differences to be found among our respondents (and all members of the community that provides psychological services around the world). We need to complement our general landscape rendering with some more specific portraits of those providing these services. While we won’t be offering individual portraits of each respondent, we can determine in a very preliminary way if there are differences in the ratings of respondents from different continents and if there are differences in ratings by those providing different kind of psychological services. We turn now to an exploration of these potential differences.