Telepsychotherapy in the age of COVID-19: A commentary

Felix Inchausti*, Angus MacBeth, Ilanit Hasson-Ohayon, Giancarlo Dimaggio

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

This is a commentary on 15 articles addressing some of the major emergent challenges in provision of mental health services during the COVID-19 pandemic crisis, offering telepsychology as a viable and elegant solution to maintaining psychotherapy within and after the pandemic. The papers in the special issue both build on existing telepsychotherapy initiatives and offer rapid responses to the early phase of COVID-19. Two papers explore the relative effectiveness of in-person supervision and telesupervision, proposing telesupervision as a feasible alternative; and extending practical considerations to maintain effective clinical care in training settings while implementing telepsychology. Ten papers address technological challenges, with recommendations to create, enhance, and optimally configure telepsychotherapy services for clients across the mental health spectrum from common mental health problems, clinical high risk for psychosis, high risk for suicide, posttraumatic stress disorder, and family intervention. Turning to process, two papers explore psychotherapists' attitudes toward online psychotherapy and their use of technology in practice. Finally, one paper addressed system considerations, describing the development of a virtual partial hospital program for acute psychiatric patients stepping down from inpatient hospitalization. We discuss the key themes emerging from this corpus of work, linking these themes to the current state of evidence regarding the mental health response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Crucially, the value of this special issue goes beyond the current crisis, enabling psychotherapists to be better prepared for physical distancing situations that they may face in the future.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)394-405
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Psychotherapy Integration
Volume30
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2020

Keywords

  • commentary
  • coronavirus
  • COVID-19
  • psychotherapy
  • telepsychotherapy

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