Skip to main content Skip to main navigation menu Skip to site footer
Research Articles
Published: 2020-04-30

Psychological and psychotherapeutic assistance during the COVID-19 pandemic: current challenges

Kryvyi Rih state pedagogical university, Department of practical psychology
Department of Psychosomatic Medicine and Psychotherapy, Bogomolets National Medical University
COVID-19 pandemic mental health psychological assistance psychotherapy

Abstract

Introduction. It has been confirmed by a number of empirical studies that the outbreak of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) significantly affected the psychological well-being and mental health of the world population. Timely and effective psychological and psychotherapeutic support in this special period is in high demand. Therefore, the analysis of an actual experience of practitioners, their requests and difficulties in the patients’ management is needed.

Goal. To analyze the requests and challenges faced by psychologists and psychotherapists in the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic, and to review strategies on how to address based on the global experience.

Methods. According to the purpose, an anonymous online survey for mental health professionals from Eastern Europe was conducted on March 14-16 2020 and analyzed. Based on the obtained results, a literature review and systematization of practical recommendations for psychologists and psychotherapists regarding the COVID-19 pandemic were conducted.

Results. Respondents (n = 145), predominantly women (90.3%), with work experience from 1 to 27 years (M = 8.1, SD = 6.02), were psychologists and psychotherapists in private practice (77.9%) or employed and in professional organizations. The majority (75.2%) reported that they were considering what modifications in their professional practice organization due to coronavirus disease should be implemented, and 35.9% had already implemented some changes. These were 1) a readiness to change the therapeutic setting (frequency of sessions, on-line); 2) reconsider the financial arrangements; 3) and request for additional knowledge, practical recommendations or supervision.

Conclusions. The inevitable changes due to the pandemic situation cause corresponding modifications in the organization of psychological and psychotherapeutic support. The main task of these modifications is to maintain the stability of therapeutic setting and to guarantee the availability of necessary assistance to patients in such difficult conditions as quarantine, financial losses, inability to meet face-to-face etc. Practitioners rely more on their own experience in the implementation of necessary changes, but highlight the urgent need for additional training and guidance from the professional community, including in the supervision.

Full-text of the article is available for this locale: Українська.

References

  1. Duan L, Zhu G. Psychological interventions for people affected by the COVID-19 epidemic. Lancet Psychiatry. 2020;7(4):300-2. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/S2215-0366(20)30073-0 PMID: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/32085840
  2. Wang C, Pan R, Wan X, et al. Immediate Psychological Responses and Associated Factors during the Initial Stage of the 2019 Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) Epidemic among the General Population in China. Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2020;17(5):1729. DOI: https://dx.doi.org/10.3390%2Fijerph17051729 PMID: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/32155789
  3. Qiu J, Shen B, Zhao M, et al. A nationwide survey of psychological distress among Chinese people in the COVID-19 epidemic: implications and policy recommendations. Gen Psychiatr. 2020;33(2):e100213. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1136/gpsych-2020-100213 PMID: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/32215365
  4. Dai Y, Hu G, Xiong H, Qiu H, Yuan X. Psychological impact of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) outbreak on healthcare workers in China. MedRxiv. 2020. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1101/2020.03.03.20030874
  5. Liu S, Yang L, Zhang C, et al. Online mental health services in China during the COVID-19 outbreak. Lancet Psychiatry. 2020;7(4):17-8. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/S2215-0366(20)30077-8 PMID: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/32085841
  6. Shigemura J, Ursano RJ2, Morganstein JC2, Kurosawa M1,3, Benedek DM2. Public responses to the novel 2019 coronavirus (2019-nCoV) in Japan: Mental health consequences and target populations. Psychiatry Clin Neurosci. 2020;74(4):281-2. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1111/pcn.12988 PMID: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/32034840
  7. Huang Y, Zhao N. Generalized anxiety disorder, depressive symptoms and sleep quality during COVID-19 epidemic in China: a web-based cross-sectional survey. MedRxiv. 2020. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1101/2020.02.19.20025395
  8. Brooks SK, Webster RK, Smith LE, et al. The psychological impact of quarantine and how to reduce it: rapid review of the evidence. Lancet. 2020;395(10227):912-20. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/S0140-6736(20)30460-8 PMID: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/32112714
  9. Chen Q, Liang M, Li Y, et al. Mental health care for medical staff in China during the COVID-19 outbreak. Lancet Psychiatry. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/S2215-0366(20)30078-X PMID: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/32085839
  10. Liebrenz M, Bhugra D, Buadze A,Schleifer R. Caring for persons in detention suffering with mental illness during the Covid-19 outbreak. Forensic Science International: Mind and Law. 2020;1:100013. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.fsiml.2020.100013
  11. Park SC, Park YC. Mental Health Care Measures in Response to the 2019 Novel Coronavirus Outbreak in Korea. Psychiatry Investig. 2020;17(2):85-6. DOI: https://doi.org/10.30773/pi.2020.0058 PMID: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/32093458
  12. Xiang YT, Yang Y, Li W, etal. Timely mental health care for the 2019 novel coronavirus outbreak is urgently needed. Lancet Psychiatry. 2020;7(3):228-9. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/S2215-0366(20)30046-8 PMID: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/32032543
  13. Zhang J, Wu W, Zhao X, Zhang W. Recommended psychological crisis intervention response to the 2019 novel coronavirus pneumonia outbreak in China: a model of West China Hospital. Precis Clin Med. 2020;1(1). DOI: https://doi.org/10.1093/pcmedi/pbaa006
  14. Xiao C. A Novel Approach of Consultation on 2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19)-Related Psychological and Mental Problems: Structured Letter Therapy. Psychiatry Investig. 2020:17(2):175-6. DOI: https://doi.org/10.30773/pi.2020.0047 PMID: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/32093461
  15. Morganstein J. Coronavirus and Mental Health: Taking Care of Ourselves During Infectious Disease Outbreaks. Washington: American Psychiatry Association Blog; 2020. URL: https://www.psychiatry.org/news-room/apa-blogs/apa-blog/2020/02/coronavirus-and-mental-health-taking-care-of-ourselves-during-infectious-disease-outbreaks
  16. Red Cross. Remote Psychological First Aid during the COVID-19 outbreak Interim guidance. Copenhagen: International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies; 2020. URL: https://pscentre.org/?resource=remote-psychological-first-aid-during-the-covid-19-outbreak-interim-guidance-march-2020
  17. World Health Organization. Mental health and psychosocial considerations during the COVID-19 outbreak. Geneva: WHO; 2020. URL: https://www.who.int/docs/default-source/coronaviruse/mental-health-considerations.pdf
  18. Center for the Study of Traumatic Stress. Coronavirus and Emerging Infectious Disease Outbreaks Response. Bethesda: Uniformed Services University; 2020. URL: https://www.cstsonline.org/resources/resource-master-list/coronavirus-and-emerging-infectious-disease-outbreaks-response