Psychology in a Time of COVID: Engaging Four Tiers of Care

Psychology in a Time of COVID: Engaging Four Tiers of Care

William Bergquist offers a brief overview regarding the challenges and opportunities for psychologists during the time of COVID. The field of psychology – like most other human endeavors will never quite be the same given the massive, global impact of COVID-19 – and the prospects of many more pandemics in the near future. Here is the recorded overview:


An outline of the presentation made by Dr. Bergquist follows:

Psychological Impact of COVID

  • Anxiety
    1. Diffuse anxiety What triggers our Amygdala: good/bad, strong/weak, active/passive
    2. An enemy that meets all three criteria for being nasty: intentions (indifferent to our welfare), strength (very powerful) and activity (very active throughout the world)
  • Isolation
    1. Loss of social support
    2. Loss of meaning (work, leisure)
    3. Disruption of family structures and dynamics
  • Societal Unrest
    1. Unclear and inconsistent policies: we have never confronted something like this before (the old models of warfare don’t work)
    2. Anxiety and isolation exacerbate existing fissures in the societal structure; polarization (hard to focus energy on an elusive enemy like COVID; easier to find a more tangible enemy in existing society
    3. Perfect storm in most countries: pandemic, climate change, social injustice and socio-economic disparity
  • Authoritarianism/Centralization
    1. Rational: need coordinated efforts in combatting the virus – even international coordination versus diffuse and inconsistent, even contradictory policies and procedures.
    2. Irrational: Address the first three challenges with an escape from freedom toward greater control (regression to a primitive tribalism and search for reassuring authority

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About the Author

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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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