Provision of Remote Psychotherapy during the COVID-19 Pandemic

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Published Nov 4, 2020
Elke Humer Thomas Probst

Abstract

The outbreak of the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) creates strong challenges not only for mental health but also for mental health care services. The measures necessary to combat the rapid spread of the virus have created severe barriers to accessing face-to-face psychotherapy in personal contact around the world. As direct contact with others should be avoided when possible, adaptations in the therapeutic settings are necessary. Therefore, remote psychotherapy became a valuable option to continue mental health care during the COVID-19 pandemic. The present article reviews recent studies on the transition to remote psychotherapy during the COVID-19 pandemic. Studies conducted in Austria, the Czech Republic, Germany and Slovakia revealed a strong increase in psychotherapy provided via internet or telephone during the pandemic as compared to the months before. Several differences emerged with regard to country and gender, while the therapeutic orientation was of minor importance. In central Denmark referrals to psychiatric services declined considerably during the lockdown, whereas in a psychotherapy program at a public hospital in Massachusetts a switch to remote psychotherapy even reduced the number of missed appointments. Results imply that the supply of mental health care could not sufficiently be maintained in all countries during the COVID-19 situation and that measures are required to further facilitate the provision of mental health care during and after the pandemic.

How to Cite

Humer, E., & Probst, T. (2020). Provision of Remote Psychotherapy during the COVID-19 Pandemic . Digital Psychology, 1(2), 27-31. https://doi.org/10.24989/dp.v1i2.1868

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Keywords

psychotherapy, COVID-19, remote psychotherapy, telephone, internet

Section
Spotlight-Communication