Psychologists in Demand During the Pandemic

What’s New in Psychology?

Psychologists in Demand During the Pandemic     

Jim Windell

            If you are a psychologist treating clients, you may be well aware of the demand for your services. It is likely that more people are coming to see you for treatment for anxiety and depression – even if you have a strictly telehealth practice these days.

           The American Psychological Association (APA) refers to the soaring number of people seeking clinical services during the COVID-19 pandemic as a “mental health tsunami.” For you personally, it may seem like a boon – until you recognized you couldn’t possibly keep up with the demands and you yourself began to be aware of symptoms of burnout.

           If this all sounds familiar, you’re not alone. According to a recent news release from the APA, 84% of psychologists who responded to a survey and who treat anxiety orders, along with 72% of those who treat depression reported an increase in demand for treatment this year. Last year at this same time, the comparable rates were 74% and 60%, respectively.

           “[The findings] highlight what we have been saying since the early days of the pandemic — we are facing a mental health tsunami,” said Arthur Evans Jr., APA’s CEO. “We need to continue to support treatment via telehealth, and we must invest in screening, prevention, and innovative interventions to expand access to various levels of care.”

           The latest survey by APA included more than 1,100 psychologists and was conducted between Aug. 30 and Sept. 17, 2021.

           “As more people seek treatment for mental health conditions, the demands on psychological practitioners have increased,” Evans said in an APA press release. “Like many other health care providers, psychologists are feeling the pressure.”

           Compared to last year, nearly twice as many psychologists who participated in the survey (62%) said they had received more referrals this year than last, and 68% of those with a waitlist said it had grown longer since the start of the pandemic.

           As a result, many psychologists are struggling to meet the needs. Forty-one percent said they were unable to meet the demand for treatment; an increase from 30% last year. The percentage who said they felt burned out also rose, rising to 46% from 41% last year.

           As expected, many psychologists have switched to telehealth, and 96% of those surveyed continue to provide at least some services remotely. In 2021, only 4% have resumed seeing clients totally in person, but 50% have adopted a hybrid approach of seeing some patients in person and some remotely. According to the APA, this suggests a slow progression back to the office.

           And how are psychologists coping?

            Attempting to deal with the increased demands, 77% of respondents said they were maintaining a positive work-life balance, up from 66% last year. Sixty-four percent said they practiced self-care, compared to 55% last year.

           To read the American Psychological Association news release, find it with this link:



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