The COVID‐19 Pandemic’s Influence on Family Systems Therapists’ Provision of Teletherapy
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The COVID-19 pandemic has altered life globally like no other event in modern history, and psychological service changes to meet the resultant impacts on families have not been assessed in the empirical literature. The purpose of the current study was to examine whether family systems therapists increased their teletherapy use during the pandemic relative to prepandemic usage, and whether projected postpandemic rates would remain at the same level; further, environmental and demographic predictors of these changes were examined. In May 2020, a sample of 626 family systems therapists (58.6% women, 40.6% men; M = 57.4 years old; M years in practice = 25.5) completed a national online study assessing these variables. Results suggested that family systems therapists performed 7.92% of their clinical work using teletherapy before the pandemic and 88.17% during the pandemic. They also projected that they would perform 36.57% of their clinical work using teletherapy after the pandemic. Teletherapy uptake was unrelated to primary practice setting, provider age, gender, race/ethnicity, and practice location (urban/suburban vs. rural) but was higher for family systems therapists who reported increased supportive teletherapy policies and training in their practice setting. Organizational infrastructure and availability of training played an important role in influencing teletherapy uptake during the pandemic. Family systems therapists have a unique opportunity to deploy teletherapy modalities to meet the needs of families during the COVID-19 pandemic, and infrastructure and training to do so may facilitate that work.
author list (cited authors)
McKee, G. B., Pierce, B. S., Tyler, C. M., Perrin, P. B., & Elliott, T. R.