Date of Award

Spring 5-22-2021

Document Type

Doctor of Nursing Practice Final Manuscript

Degree Name

Doctor of Nursing Practice



First Advisor

Michael Terry, DNP, FNP, PMHNP


Background: On March 19, 2020, the governor of the State of California, Gavin Newsom, issued executive stay-at-home order due to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic (State of California, 2020). In a private psychiatric practice in southern California treating patients with anxiety and depression, psychotherapy treatment was abruptly affected by that order. The purpose of this project was to transition from onsite to online psychotherapy visits to ensure the continuity of care and facilitate patients’ progress in dealing with mental illnesses during the COVID-19 crisis.

Aims: The proposed solution to the problem of decreased access to care during the pandemic was to continue psychotherapy in patients with anxiety or depression via telepsychiatry, thus contributing to reduced symptomatology.

Methods: Eight patients participated in the project. Outcome data were collected to assess symptoms changes and overall quality of life in patients who received psychotherapy treatment for anxiety and/or depression via telepsychiatry. The results across patients were assessed after the sixth and twelfth telepsychotherapy sessions.

Results: Mean patient health questionnaire scores (PHQ-9) decreased 58.5% at midterm and 75.5% at final tests and mean general anxiety disorder questionnaire (GAD-7) scores decreased 61.3% at midterm and 85.7% at final tests. Mean health related quality of life questionnaire (HRQoL-14) scores for unhealthy days decreased 79.7% at final tests.

Conclusions: This project calls for the need for a practice change by promoting telepsychiatry treatment as the gold standard of care for patients with mental illnesses during epidemics and other traumatic events restricting access to care.

Included in

Nursing Commons