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Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, mental health services have had to offer psychological therapy via video with little time to prepare or mitigate potential problems. Identifying the barriers, benefits and training needs highlighted by clinicians may support the effective delivery of care.
Changes in the mode therapy sessions were delivered in during 2020 were assessed in two high-volume psychological therapies services. Sixty-six therapists completed a survey about their experiences of delivering therapy via video.
The lockdown in March 2020 precipitated a dramatic shift from face-to-face to telephone and video-delivered sessions. Most clinicians (89%) found video-based sessions acceptable. Barriers to effective delivery included technological issues, problems with online platforms, and feeling more tired after sessions. Benefits included generalised learning from behavioural work, improvements in efficiency and in the therapeutic relationship, particularly in comparison with telephone-based sessions. Tutorials and support guides were recommended to maximise use of sessions via video.
Video-delivered therapy was liked by clinicians and preferred to telephone-based sessions. Issues with platforms, internet connections and access for patients need addressing, local troubleshooting guides, video-based tutorials and greater support for low-intensity therapists to maximise uptake of video sessions where appropriate, may be beneficial.