Department of Family Therapy Dissertations and Applied Clinical Projects

Date of Award

2021

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Family Therapy

Department

College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences – Department of Family Therapy

Advisor

Anne H Rambo

Committee Member

Ronald Chenail

Committee Member

Carol Messmore

Abstract

Mental health professionals have been required to make a transition to delivering services using technology during the COVID-19 pandemic. The non-profit agency participating in this study had already listed on its strategic plan the delivery of teletherapy. In 2020, due to the pandemic, the agency decided to expedite the delivery of teletherapy services. This study explored the experiences of the agency’s team, to determine what worked well while making this transition, as well as future dreams regarding the delivery of teletherapy. Appreciative inquiry was used as the method of data collection. Findings indicated the agency’s clinicians found keeping a positive attitude themselves, receiving support from clients, and equal funding for teletherapy as for in person services on the part of the funders, were key to making the initial transition (Discovery phase); that agency clinicians considered that sustained outreach to both publicize and educate about teletherapy to clients and other community agencies had already proved helpful and is in need of more expansion (Dream phase); and that long term, agency clinicians would like to keep using teletherapy even after the pandemic (Design phase), with improved technology and additional training about teletherapy for both clients and clinicians (Destiny phase). The findings of this study may provide a foundation for other agencies that are in the process of transitioning from in person to virtual services.Keywords: COVID-19, teletherapy, non-profit agency, appreciative inquiry.

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