Field Notes: COVID-19 and the Provision of Psychological Services
Given that we find a diversity of psychological services being provided in all three national populations of respondents, we can assume that any differences found among the three group of respondents is not primarily related to differences in the type of service being offered by these respondents. We turn now to these differences, with our attention being directed first to the experiences of the clients being served.
Similar issues were reported in most cases by all three populations regarding the challenges faced by their clients. However, the issues were rated in somewhat different ways by these three groups concerned fear among clients of becoming infected or infecting other people. In this case, the “often” category revealed some interesting differences. There were rather high ratings among the Asian and Israeli raters, with 50% rating this fear as often having an impact on their clients. By contrast, only 25% of North American respondents rating this fear as often having an impact on their clients.
This fear of infection seems to have been of greater concern for those Asians and Israelis seeking psychological services than for those seeking these services in North America. It is interesting to note that the more general concern regarding illness among their clients was rated as “never” by some of the North Americans (28%) and some of the Israelis (16%)—but never by the Asian respondents. This general concern about illness among Asian clients might have been minor, but it apparently has always been present (just as is their concern about infections).
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. 38% of the Asian respondents and 24% of North American respondents rated this item as “often” or “predominant”, whereas none of the Israeli respondents rated it at one of these two higher levels.
Conversely, when it comes to issues associated with control and authority, 67% of Israeli respondents indicated that this is “often” a challenge for their clients, whereas 25% of North American and 35% of Asian respondents considered this to be “often” a challenge for their clients (though it should be noted that 13% of Asian and 6% of North American respondents identified issues of control and authority as being “predominant.”
Some differences also seemed apparent when the focus turned to the upside of COVID-19 for clients. The three populations aligned in different ways on their ratings of the two positive items. First, both the Israeli and Asian 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. 50% of the Israeli ratings were placed in the “often” category and 16% were in the “predominant” category. Similarly, 50% of the Asian ratings were placed in the “often” category and 12% were placed in the “predominant” category. By contrast, only 25% of the North American respondents rated growth as “often” being engaged, and just 9% rated the opportunity for growth as “predominant.”