Tele-analysis: the use of media technology in psychotherapy and its impact on the therapeutic relationship

A growing number of approaches in psychotherapy make use of internet- and other media-based interactions

Christian Roesler

2017

Scholarcy highlights

  • A growing number of approaches in psychotherapy make use of internet- and other media-based interactions
  • This paper discusses the impact on the therapist-client relationship of using media technology and gives an overview of the current state of the debate
  • It is suggested that the technical conditions of internet-based interactions produce new forms of social relationships that differ significantly from face-to-face-interactions and that unconscious, nonverbal cues get lost
  • The loss of nonverbal cues has implications for psychotherapy in general and especially for the treatment of patients who have difficulties relying on a secure therapeutic relationship
  • Emotional security in interactional relationships is transmitted to a much greater extent by nonverbal cues than by verbal content; psychoanalytic methods are specialized to refer to this level of interaction
  • Two alternative scenarios are discussed based on the psychoanalytic theories of Winnicott and Lacan: the risk of an illusionary, idealized image of the other and the possibility that cyberspace can be used for psychological development as a transitional space

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