members' only event
remote therapy webinar - technologically mediated psychoanalytic treatment during the pandemic: how it’s changed us and how we make it work
Presented by Gillian Isaacs Russell, Ph.D. and Todd Essig, Ph. D.
Providing a safe space, an intimate and empathic connection, and continuity is at the core of what we do with our patients. How to do this during the COVID-19 pandemic is no small challenge. The spaces in which we work, the way we think about safety, how we think about and immerse ourselves in patients’ inner worlds, and how we provide continuity have all been radically altered. This webinar will be a chance to think together about these issues by exploring the clinical gains and losses subsequent to our rapid, near-total conversion to tele(mental)health and the ongoing challenge of enduring this change in the face of uncertainty and loss.
Before the pandemic, psychoanalytic clinicians were grappling with how to make informed decisions about using technology for patient care. We had the leisure to examine emerging research in neuroscience, virtual reality, human-computer interaction, and communications theory and then let that inform our thinking. However, forced by COVID-19 abruptly to adopt technologically mediated treatment as the safest way to practice, clinicians have immediately moved treatment, supervision, and classes online. With no transition period, no choice, and no clear path forward, the move to distance treatment and training has left many feeling uncentred, unprepared, and vulnerable.
In this free webinar, Gillian Isaacs Russell, author of Screen Relations: The Limits of Computer-Mediated Psychoanalysis and Psychotherapy (Karnac, 2015) and Todd Essig, currently co-chair of APsaA’s COVID-19 Advisory Team, will share their thoughts about how to make informed decisions while leading a discussion of the impact on clinicians of pandemic-based screen-mediated treatment. They will explore differences between screen relations and actual presence; how those differences influence clinical processes and outcomes; and what concepts, skills, and strategies can be developed to help make remote treatment work. Finally, they will engage a discussion of what might happen, once it is safe to do so, when we re-emerge into a very different post-pandemic world.
Members are requested to watch Todd Essig's youtube video "Emergency Conversion to Telehealth: Making it Work" in advance, to put our discussion into context.
Gillian Isaacs Russell, Ph.D. is a psychoanalyst in private practice. She is a member of the British Psychotherapy Foundation, the British Psychoanalytic Council, the American Psychoanalytic Association, and the International Psychoanalytical Association. Her book, Screen Relations: The Limits of Computer-Mediated Psychoanalysis and Psychotherapy, was published by Karnac Books (Routledge) in 2015. She has served on the editorial board of the British Journal of Psychotherapy and is currently on their reviewing panel. She recently co-edited with Todd Essig a special issue of Psychoanalytic Perspectives on psychoanalysis and technology.
Dr. Russell writes, speaks and teaches internationally on technology and its impact on intimate human relationships, particularly in psychoanalytic treatment. She currently serves on the COVID-19 Advisory Team for the American Psychoanalytic Association. She practices in Boulder, Colorado, USA.
Todd Essig, Ph.D., is Training and Supervising Psychoanalyst at the William Alanson White Institute. Widely known as a pioneer in the innovative uses of mental health technologies, he publishes and lectures widely. He has served on editorial boards for Contemporary Psychoanalysis and JAPA and recently co-edited along with Gillian Isaacs Russell a special issue of Psychoanalytic Perspectives on psychoanalysis and technology. In the aftermath of 9/11 he was Board Chair for the NY Disaster Counseling Coalition (NYDCC) providing free mental health care to first responders and their families. He recently accepted an invite to be Co-Chair of APsaA’s COVID-19 Advisory Team. He also writes “Managing Mental Wealth” for Forbes where he covers the intersection of technology, psychology, and culture. His practice is in New York City where he treats individuals and couples, almost all of whom (used to) come to his office.