Practitioners' perspectives on preparing for and delivering remote psychological support in Nepal, Perú and the United States during COVID-19

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date



Psychology and psychotherapy




coronavirus/COVID19; mental health; psychological intervention; telemedicine


INTRODUCTION: The COVID-19 pandemic has propelled a global paradigm shift in how psychological support is delivered. Remote delivery, through phone and video calls, is now commonplace around the world. However, most adoption of remote delivery methods is occurring without any formal training to ensure safe and effective care. OBJECTIVE: The purpose of this applied qualitative study was to determine practitioners' experiences of rapidly adapting to deliver psychological support remotely during COVID-19. DESIGN: We used a pragmatic paradigm and applied approach to gain perspectives related to the feasibility and perceived usefulness of synchronous remote psychological support, including views on how practitioners can be prepared. METHODS: Key informant interviews were conducted remotely with 27 specialist and non-specialist practitioners in Nepal, Perú and the USA. Interviewees were identified through purposeful sampling. Data were analysed using framework analysis. RESULTS: Respondents revealed three key themes: (i) Remote delivery of psychological support raises unique safety concerns and interference with care, (ii) Remote delivery enhances skills and expands opportunities for delivery of psychological support to new populations, and (iii) New training approaches are needed to prepare specialist and non-specialist practitioners to deliver psychological support remotely. CONCLUSIONS: Remote psychological support is feasible and useful for practitioners, including non-specialists, in diverse global settings. Simulated remote role plays may be a scalable method for ensuring competency in safe and effective remotely-delivered care.


Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences