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Therapy in the time of COVID

It has now been about a few months since COVID-19 disrupted our daily lives. With the implementation of social distancing, PPE and closed offices, counseling has been moved from the intimacy of a closed office to the remote use of phones and computers.  Zoom and FaceTime have become our ongoing methods of doing business.  While at first it felt disappointing and somewhat awkward, now it seems there are distinct pluses and advantages to engage in remote therapeutic work.  

While many therapists were trained to keep our personal identities very separate, now some of those boundaries are more blurred.  While it would still be ideal to meet ‘in person’, privacy through interviewing remotely is in fact assured.  Now we can see a part of where a client lives and they in turn become aware of our homes with some of our own touches.

For the most part, I have experienced this as enhancing the client/therapist relationship.  The ambience has become much less formal and more relaxed. A dog or cat might enter the room for either party and inject some humanity into the ongoing discussion.  Yet, by the same token, there can be unplanned interruptions, such as the ringing of a landline, a siren emanating from a window, or the sounds of other people within either home.  

We are no longer limited to an exact day and time for scheduling our appointments.  Our clients don’t have to worry about coming at lunch or after work. They don’t have to worry about driving or commuting to the office. The biggest adjustments seem to be that clients sometimes now have to find creative ways to meet for their sessions so as to not have their significant other, their children or other family members hear their conversations with me.

Nevertheless, I have experienced these as quite manageable.  In other words, despite the absence of previously pure, uncontaminated sessions, these changes do not seem to weaken the experience for the therapist or the client. Hopefully, we will be richer for the experience.

Originally  posted: June 1st, 2020

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