The Disrupted Frame – What are the Therapeutic Implications of Working Online?
Saturday 17 October 2020 - A Live Webinar
With Dr Pierre Cachia, Professor Alessandra Lemma and Dr Jill Scharff
- Includes a recording of the event with access for a year (14 days post the event)
- Bookings close at 9.00am BST Wednesday 14 October
Today’s panel will consider the implications of holding the psychotherapy session in cyberspace – something that most psychotherapists have, however reluctantly, adjusted to during the pandemic. Many have expressed regret at the loss of embodied contact, the familiar physical rhythm of the sessions and the lack of access to non-verbal cues.READ MORE...
Yet, while this shift from the embodied to digital encounter appears to involve significant losses, practitioners have also discovered unexpected forms of connection through the quasi-cinematic intimacy with the other. These, and other interesting phenomena arising from changes to the frame of therapy, the felt-experience of the relationship and its therapeutic potential will form the core of this discussion.
It’s important to note that we are preparing this October event in June 2020. We can’t predict where our therapy practices will be located when it happens. Nonetheless, much will have been learnt about the significance of the location of psychotherapy, and its frame – and explore what might happen (or perhaps what has already happened) when therapist and client are able to meet once again in person.
12:00 BST (07.00 EDT)
Professor Alessandra Lemma
Psychoanalysis Behind the Screen: Some Personal Reflections
Where once mediated psychoanalytic therapy and psychoanalysis were regarded as a deviation from the established analytic setting that raised concerns and skepticism, the recent pandemic has made it the only “safe” way to practice. In this seminar, Alessandra will draw on her practice as a psychotherapist and psychoanalyst to consider the importance of the embodied setting and the implications of this for mediated therapy. In particular, she will share some thoughts about why, despite its significant differences from the in-person setting, technically mediated therapy can work. To this end she will outline a schematic model that aims to capture what she thinks she does with her patients when she works remotely.
Dr Pierre Cachia
We Lose Some and Gain Some – Towards an Appreciation of Remote Treatment
The experience of lockdown in the management of pandemic risk has pushed, at times skeptical therapists, to experiment with online work. Many lamented the loss of contact, an impoverishment of the transference and lack of access to non-verbal cues. Pierre will discuss these losses but then move on to illustrate how an appreciation of the additional materials made available through the online frame allows for enriched reflection. The screen has served as a mirror of humanity’s experience for decades, and a sensitive reading of the images digitally transmitted to our virtual meeting rooms greatly benefits the therapeutic process. Our appreciation of the relational dynamics in the therapeutic encounter, whether this be between therapist and patient, or the family or couple being seen online, is central to our work. The screen serves as a reliable vehicle-container which we need to attend to in a manner that moves beyond a simplistic attempt at replicating the face-to-face consulting room. The importance of thoughtful consideration of the psychology of cyberspace, as well as the technological infrastructure required to support online therapy, will be highlighted. Pierre will draw on his experience in leading and supervising Tavistock Relationship’s Online Clinical Service over the past four years and, more recently, supporting the transfer of the Institute’s main clinic to online delivery in response to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Dr Jill Scharff
Pros and Cons of Teletherapy
COVID-19 has pushed us out of our consulting rooms and into technology mediated settings. Even those of us most attuned to issues of confidentiality and internet security, and the impact of too much screen time on the brain, are forced to adapt. Concern for continuity of care is one driving force, but professional associations are also urging clinicians to practice from home, where they shelter-in-place, and regulatory bodies are relaxing laws that have been in force to prevent telemedicine and telepsychotherapy. In these physically distant times, telediagnosis and teletreatment may be the patient’s only option. As long as we mourn the loss of the familiar, the tried and true established setting for our work, and frankly recognise the pros and cons, we can embrace teletherapy and make it work. Jill Scharff will discuss and illustrate the pros and cons in work with individual adults and children, couples and families, the impact on therapists and patients of moving from comfortable office to home environment, and what we can do to make the best of it. She will conclude by imagining what it will be like to return to the consulting room, and how to determine what is best for each patient.