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

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

Offering Psychological Services during the COVID-19 Era: Cautionary Notes about Portraits of Differences

Before beginning this analysis of differences among our respondents, we need to offer several cautionary notes—caveats—regarding the limited nature of the populations we sampled and the biases inherent in this sampling. First, the overall sample size was small. This is intended to be a preliminary exploratory study that generates hypotheses rather than definitive results. Second, it is important to acknowledge that the population we sampled is biased. Our respondents are all alumni of a specific graduate school that offered a distinctive curriculum (psychodynamic orientation). Furthermore, as we have already noted, this population tends to be made up of senior level providers of psychological services. These are not the new (or younger) providers of these services. While, as we have mentioned, these respondents are likely to bring wisdom and broad perspectives to their perspective on the COVID-19 era, they do not offer the important perspective of those who are new to the field or are of a younger age.

Finally, we must note that the population we sampled is much larger in North America, than in either Israel or Asia. While we are not engaged in any sophisticated statistical analyses, there is still an important “regression to the mean” that occurs with a larger population being sampled. This bias concerns the greater possibility for influential outliers among the smaller group being studies (in this case the Israeli and Asian respondents). A few unique ratings can influence the results obtained, while when a larger number are sampled, any unique ratings are likely to be offset by more “normative” ratings. This is one way in which to conceive of the “regression to the mean” phenomenon.

In sum, we are suggesting that the results we have already reported and, in particular, those we are reporting in the next sections of this report are intended to start a conversation rather than end it.

Offering Psychological Services during the COVID-19 Era: Portraits of Differences as Function of Nationality

We focus first on the potential differences to be found among the respondents from North America, Israel and Asia. To set a foundation for this analysis, we consider the differences to be found among these three populations regarding the kind of psychological services they deliver.

Nature of Services Being Delivered

The respondents from North America were not only the largest of the three populations. They were also somewhat more diverse with regarding to the psychological services being offered.  50% provide individual therapy, 19% group therapy, 34% organizational consultation and 56% serving as teachers and trainers. While the Israeli respondents also work in many areas of psychology, a large percentage provide group psychotherapy (83%), along with individual psychotherapy (50%). This is understandable, given that the doctoral program offered in Israel focused on group psychotherapy. A relatively small percentages of Israeli respondents provide organizational consulting (17%), while a relatively large percentage providing psychological coaching (17%). As in the case of the North American population, many of the Israeli respondents are engaged in teaching and training activities (33%) (though the percent is lower than in the North American population). Among the Asian respondents, the percentages were about the same for individual and group therapy (50%), as well as teaching and training (50%). 25% of the Asian respondents provide organizational consulting services.


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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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