Clinical Psychology and the COVID-19 Pandemic: A Mixed Methods Survey Among Members of the European Association of Clinical Psychology and Psychological Treatment (EACLIPT)

Clin Psychol Eur. 2023 Mar 31;5(1):e8109. doi: 10.32872/cpe.8109. eCollection 2023 Mar.

Abstract

Background: The COVID-19 pandemic has affected people globally both physically and psychologically. The increased demands for mental health interventions provided by clinical psychologists, psychotherapists and mental health care professionals, as well as the rapid change in work setting (e.g., from face-to-face to video therapy) has proven challenging. The current study investigates European clinical psychologists and psychotherapists' views on the changes and impact on mental health care that occurred due to the COVID-19 pandemic. It further aims to explore individual and organizational processes that assist clinical psychologists' and psychotherapists' in their new working conditions, and understand their needs and priorities.

Method: Members of the European Association of Clinical Psychology and Psychological Treatment (EACLIPT) were invited (N = 698) to participate in a survey with closed and open questions covering their experiences during the first wave of the pandemic from June to September 2020. Participants (n = 92) from 19 European countries, mostly employed in universities or hospitals, completed the online survey.

Results: Results of qualitative and quantitative analyses showed that clinical psychologists and psychotherapists throughout the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic managed to continue to provide treatments for patients who were experiencing emotional distress. The challenges (e.g., maintaining a working relationship through video treatment) and opportunities (e.g., more flexible working hours) of working through this time were identified.

Conclusions: Recommendations for mental health policies and professional organizations are identified, such as clear guidelines regarding data security and workshops on conducting video therapy.

Keywords: blended therapy; clinical psychology, COVID-19; online therapy; psychotherapy; video therapy.

Grants and funding

The authors have no funding to report.