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Open AccessArticle

Provision of Psychotherapy during the COVID-19 Pandemic among Czech, German and Slovak Psychotherapists

Department for Psychotherapy and Biopsychosocial Health, Danube University Krems, 3500 Krems, Austria
Clinical and Biological Psychology, Catholic University of Eichstätt-Ingolstadt, 85072 Eichstätt, Germany
Science and Research Department, Prague College of Psychosocial Studies, 14900 Prague, Czech Republic
Olomouc University Social Health Institute (OUSHI), Palacky University Olomouc, 77111 Olomouc, Czech Republic
Psychiatric-Psychotherapeutic Outpatient Clinic, Pro mente sana, 81108 Bratislava, Slovakia
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(13), 4811;
Received: 11 June 2020 / Revised: 24 June 2020 / Accepted: 1 July 2020 / Published: 4 July 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Mental Health in the Time of COVID-19)
Psychotherapists around the world are facing an unprecedented situation with the outbreak of the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19). To combat the rapid spread of the virus, direct contact with others has to be avoided when possible. Therefore, remote psychotherapy provides a valuable option to continue mental health care during the COVID-19 pandemic. The present study investigated the fear of psychotherapists to become infected with COVID-19 during psychotherapy in personal contact and assessed how the provision of psychotherapy changed due to the COVID-19 situation and whether there were differences with regard to country and gender. Psychotherapists from three European countries: Czech Republic (CZ, n = 112), Germany (DE, n = 130) and Slovakia (SK, n = 96), with on average 77.8% female participants, completed an online survey. Participants rated the fear of COVID-19 infection during face-to-face psychotherapy and reported the number of patients treated on average per week (in personal contact, via telephone, via internet) during the COVID-19 situation as well as (retrospectively) in the months before. Fear of COVID-19 infection was highest in SK and lowest in DE (p < 0.001) and was higher in female compared to male psychotherapists (p = 0.021). In all countries, the number of patients treated on average per week in personal contact decreased (p < 0.001) and remote psychotherapies increased (p < 0.001), with more patients being treated via internet than via telephone during the COVID-19 situation (p < 0.001). Furthermore, female psychotherapists treated less patients in personal contact (p = 0.036), while they treated more patients via telephone than their male colleagues (p = 0.015). Overall, the total number of patients treated did not differ during COVID-19 from the months before (p = 0.133) and psychotherapy in personal contact remained the most common treatment modality. Results imply that the supply of mental health care could be maintained during COVID-19 and that changes in the provision of psychotherapy vary among countries and gender. View Full-Text
Keywords: psychotherapy; COVID-19; public health; fear of infection; remote psychotherapy psychotherapy; COVID-19; public health; fear of infection; remote psychotherapy
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Humer, E.; Pieh, C.; Kuska, M.; Barke, A.; Doering, B.K.; Gossmann, K.; Trnka, R.; Meier, Z.; Kascakova, N.; Tavel, P.; Probst, T. Provision of Psychotherapy during the COVID-19 Pandemic among Czech, German and Slovak Psychotherapists. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17, 4811.

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