Rapid Adoption and Implementation of Telehealth Group Psychotherapy During COVID 19: Practical Strategies and Recommendations

Ajeng J. Puspitasari, Dagoberto Heredia, Melanie Gentry, Craig Sawchuk, Bernie Theobald, Wendy Moore, Michael Tiede, Christine Galardy, Kate D Schak

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Behavioral health services have been tasked with rapidly adopting and implementing teletherapy during the SARS-CoV-2/COVID-19 pandemic to assure patient and staff safety. Existing teletherapy guidelines were developed prior to the pandemic and do not capture the nuances of rapidly transitioning in-person individual and group-based treatments to a teletherapy format. In this paper, we describe our approach to quickly adapting to a teletherapy technology platform for an intensive outpatient program (IOP) guided by cognitive and behavioral modular principles for adults with serious mental illness. A review of existing guidelines was conducted and the staged approach for teletherapy implementation (Muir et al., 2020) was selected as the most appropriate model for our organizational context. We describe the most pertinent implementation strategies and report our preliminary findings detailing the feasibility of IOPs delivered via telehealth. This model of rapid teletherapy implementation offers practical clinical guidelines for administrators and clinicians seeking to transition traditional in-person behavioral health services to a teletherapy format.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)492-506
Number of pages15
JournalCognitive and Behavioral Practice
Volume28
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 2021

Keywords

  • COVID-19
  • group psychotherapy
  • serious mental illness
  • teletherapy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology

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