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Jonathan is a counselling psychologist in a private practice in London. He works across different models, depending on the client’s needs – a pluralistic approach. That said, his practice and orientation is informed by psychoanalysis/psychoanalytic psychotherapy.
I scaled back my work at the beginning, believing/hoping it would be a matter of only a few month’s disruption and we could return to the status quo swiftly. I have been reluctant to take on new clients in this environment but naturally the longer the uncertainty continues the less helpful this approach becomes.
The topic of “traditional” face-to-face therapy, compared to zoom etc, has been topic of discussion well before the lockdown. In addition to this, social media is changing the way we relate to ourselves and others, and so there may even be a feeling that psychotherapy “ought” to be done remotely via zoom etc and that “technology” is indeed the way forward to deliver psychotherapeutic care.
Social distancing under lockdown means perhaps only remote therapy is possible. But I am worried about the direction of travel -in general, and particularly considering social distancing. I believe we need to re-establish actual psychical encounters – both in life and in psychotherapy. Dis-embodied/virtual encounters are not the way forward.
Most of us can adjust and make do with Zoom. For established clients it is acceptable but regrettable. But for indepth psychology interventions and more serious distress, Zoom session may not/won’t help very much. In general, there will be types of clients who will not benefit from Zoom-only sessions. Face to face sessions in a safe environment is still possible – but it is disrupted by social distancing and this needs to be acknowledged and discussed.
By Ellie Giardina
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