Dr Elizabeth Cotton’s research into COVID-19 responses

Published in 2017, The Future of Therapy’s research indicated that 30% of mental health workers are self-employed, mainly in counselling and psychotherapy (Surviving Work, 2017). The majority of self-employed interviewees were worried they could not earn enough to live, particularly if they were below 55 years and didn’t have a life of service to the NHS and pensions behind them. 

Given the current climate and what we now see is happening during this pandemic to counselling and psychotherapy roles, it is more important than ever that our profession engages in research. There are multiple ways of doing this but perhaps the easiest is by simply consenting to be a research participant and share your experiences of work during the coronavirus pandemic. 

Elizabeth is conducting 3 surveys and I have shared the introductions she provides alongside a direct link to those surveys.

Survey 1 – Your Finances

There is a lot more research to do about what is happening in the light of the new financial package for self-employed workers. How are you surviving? Are you managing to earn money working online during the crisis? What will happen after the crisis in relation to opportunities for paid work? Are you having to access Universal Credit?


Survey 2  Employee Assistance Programmes

Now that therapeutic services are only offered online there has been a sudden expansion of EAP work in the mental health sector. 

This survey is aiming to get an up to date picture of what is happening within the EAP sector – particularly in relation to hourly rates and working conditions. 


Survey 3 – Your Mental Health

This survey has been set up to get a picture of the impact of Coronavirus on mental health and therapeutic services. From job loss to redeployment, if you work in mental health we want to know what the impact has been on you and what you think the long term impact will be.


Your responses are to all surveys are completely anonymous. Survey responses will be collated by Dr Elizabeth Cotton from Surviving Work www.survivingwork.org and will be reproduced open access for distribution on social media with the aim of generating debate and lobbying in defence of wages and working conditions in the sector.

We look forward to hearing the results of these important surveys.

Written by Tara Shennan

References: Surviving Work. (2017). Future of Therapy. Surviving Work. http://survivingwork.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/11/Future-of-Therapy-Summary.pdf.