In the eighth episode of the It’s Complicated podcast, we discuss online therapy during COVID.
For decades the development of telecommunication technologies has opened doors to promising new horizons in psychotherapy by removing boundaries such as distance and accessibility. By getting on a video call or even a text message conversations, a client and therapist can engage in practice together regardless of their physical proximity. The implications (and applications) here are vast and exciting but just as any new major development in any field, there is much research still to be done and numerous variables to be considered.
Since COVID, therapists of all types have taken their practices online and while many might feel it’s less than perfect, some are discovering that this major change in context and format has the potential to bring about new vantage points and considerations.
In this episode, I speak to It’s Complicated co-founder and clinical psychologist Johanne Schwensen who says that “of course, there are some things that will be lost by doing online therapy, but there are also visual things that are gained. I get insight into their apartments – areas of their life that I wouldn’t have access to and wouldn’t think of asking about. Maybe they have a cat that is really important to them that I would otherwise not have heard about. But, all of a sudden, it face-bombs our video call.”
I explore these changes and what it has meant for therapists and clients alike as they’ve adapted to our new global circumstance. Besides my conversation with Johanne Schwensen, I speak with Aleksandar Dimitrijevic, a psychoanalyst based here in Berlin, who take on a more critical stance.
He says: “Is this kind of work ideal? No, I don’t think it is. But that doesn’t bother me so much as long as there are clients who find it helpful. To me, that is the more important loyalty.”
You’ll also hear a conversation with Barbara Hilton who speaks on her experience seeing a therapist remotely and the importance of finding a therapist who speaks your native language, even if you see them remotely.
“When you’re live in a foreign country, or you have very specific issues, it can be quite beneficial to be able to find a therapist that fits your specific needs. If you live in a city where they don’t speak your language, you can see a therapist from home through online therapy,” she explains.
Finally, we’ll hear from Daria Kyrilova who shares her story of moving from in-person sessions where she was addressing PTSD, to working online in the wake of COVID.
She says: “Because I often get quite self-conscious when talking about tender or personal topics, even in front of someone I trust, knowing that someone isn’t looking at me, but just listening and holding space is actually quite comforting.”
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