Guest Editor: Jennifer L. Callahan
Delivery of psychotherapy has rapidly changed as a function of physical distancing recommendations by the World Health Organization that aim to slow transmission of COVID-19 during a global pandemic. A consequent need for rapid infusion of psychological science into care delivered via telepsychotherapy has emerged. As an international journal with global reach, the Journal of Psychotherapy Integration (JPI) has responded to this need with an expanded special issue devoted entirely to the topic of telepsychotherapy in the age of COVID-19. This issue brings together empirical findings, substantial grant-funded projects, national-level task forces, and/or international collaborations to inform the response of psychotherapists as they seek to provide high-quality care under new and uniquely challenging circumstances. Within this editorial, the body of work reflected across this special issue is viewed through a lens of psychotherapy integration and within the context of internationalization. Readers are also directed to a recent collection of JPI articles that focuses on transformations to the person of the psychotherapist in response to significant, life-altering experiences. Finally, JPI’s resolve to continue addressing emergent pandemic-induced issues is affirmed with a new call for articles aimed at infusing high-quality scholarship to inform psychotherapy with those facing economic insecurity or deep poverty.
At the time of writing this introduction, COVID-19 has infected millions and killed hundreds of thousands in what is expected to be the first of multiple waves of disease outbreaks (World Health Organization, 2020b). Most forecasts do not anticipate highly effective treatment(s) or vaccine(s) in many countries until at least 2021, and eradication anytime soon seems unlikely. COVID-19 is highly contagious even before symptoms emerge, and efforts to mitigate exposure risk and contain outbreaks largely center on individuals physically distancing themselves from one another (World Health Organization, 2020a). Already, health disparities related to risk of exposure, mortality, and/or access to testing and care are becoming evident (van Dorn, Cooney, & Sabin, 2020). As such, we can reasonably expect a long-term transformation in the field of psychotherapy to intermittently accommodate periods or regions of sustained physical distancing requirements.
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