Hope in Corona Times in Israel

Hope in Corona Times in Israel

“Squills Bloom in Dry Soil” (Ilan Sharif)

Abstract

This work was conducted as a phenomenological study to summarize the current issue entitled The Psychological Aspects of Corona Times in Israel. Seven themes were identified in an analysis of the three articles and eight interviews in this issue. A model, based on grounded theory principles, was developed on the basis of these seven themes and their interrelations among them, specifically the interrelations among the emotional aspects of the Corona experience, the intense use of technologies, and the challenges facing practitioners and clients.

The model highlights how —despite these challenges, and sometimes as a response to them — new opportunities are emerging on both on the individual and the societal levels, offering some hope in these dark times. The model that summarizes this study and the issue as a whole present a conceptual framework for gaining understanding and planning research and practice during the current Corona times in Israel, and that is also applicable to future similar crises.

Introduction

In March 2020, the World Health Organization (WHO) published a document on the psycho-social aspects of the Covid-19 outbreak. This important publication acknowledged the mental stress of health care workers, team leaders, and the general population, and encouraged people to take special care of their physical and mental well-being and to initiate communications with other people who might be in need, as much as possible. Like many other places, Israel has been suffering from the Covid pandemic since February 2020, and little research has been conducted on the various psychological implications of this crisis.

The purpose of this paper is twofold: It offers a conclusive closure to this issue of the Future Professional Psychology (FPP) entitled The Psychological Aspects of Corona Times in Israel, and proposes an interpretive integration of the contributions contained in this issue. At the same time, it aims to open horizons for future research.

Dr. Varda Silberberg

The first section introduces the basic conceptual framework comprising four theoretical foundations that seem to be fundamental to psychological practice in Israel in the context of the Covid-19 pandemic. The Covid-19 pandemic extensively transformed life on many levels, affecting individuals, families, communities, countries, and even humanity. In this study I will refer to these changes as a crisis, and therefore the first theoretical foundation is ‘coping with crisis’.

Since this paper focuses on Israel, the second foundation is the political situation in Israel, as unfortunately political considerations play an integral role in influencing institutional decisions, public trust, and public opinion and debates. The third and most important foundation refers to individuals’ fear, stress, and anxiety and other emotional reactions to the pandemic: These were already addressed in the WHO publication mentioned above and, of all aspects of the Covid-19 crisis, have attracted the most attention in the professional literature. The final foundation addresses technologies, especially in view of the widespread use of virtual communication platforms, and technology’s potential to change the world after the pandemic has ended.

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About the Author

Varda SilberbergDr. Varda Silberberg is the founder and general manager of the Ziv Institute for Organizational Development (OD) and an expert in change OD processes, integrating organizational strategy, organizational culture and ethics. She is a senior management consultant with extensive experience leading organizational change and growth projects in major companies in Israel and abroad, and has been consulted on sensitive corporate issues that intertwine systemic, individual, and interpersonal dimensions of organizational operations. Varda has a PhD in organizational ethics, and has taught numerous courses in the field of organizational psychology, and has developed and headed several graduate programs. In the last three years she was the dean of Israeli doctorate students at the Professional School of Psychology in California. Dr. Silberberg was the chair of the Israeli Association for Organizational Development and has trained and supervised many generations of OD consultants in Israel.

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