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. 2020 May 22;133(1515):104-111.

Challenges of Virtual Talking Therapies for Substance Misuse in New Zealand During the COVID-19 Pandemic: An Opinion Piece

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  • PMID: 32438382

Challenges of Virtual Talking Therapies for Substance Misuse in New Zealand During the COVID-19 Pandemic: An Opinion Piece

Susanna Galea-Singer et al. N Z Med J. .

Abstract

The COVID-19 pandemic requires us to rethink how virtual approaches might work for people who use alcohol and other drugs. Are virtual clinics only suitable for clients with whom clinicians have already formed a therapeutic relationship? How well would virtual clinics work for new clients presenting to services, for clients in acute distress, and for those with complex problems? Addressing the sustained change required to maintain substance-free lives or a safe substance-use life requires robust psychotherapeutic approaches, which have traditionally been delivered through physical contact, whether they are one-to-one or group-based interventions. The challenge during this time of the COVID-19 pandemic is to deliver effective talking therapies while avoiding physical contact. How then should services continue to offer counselling and support in such an environment? How can we learn from the COVID-19 situation to deliver treatment to individuals who may have difficulties attending traditional clinic-based care, such as those in more rural areas with transport difficulties? This article focuses on identifying practical issues and providing some solutions.

Conflict of interest statement

Nil.

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