The arrival of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has confronted us with a global and unprecedented challenge of community-wide psychological distress alongside reduced access to therapeutic services in the traditional face-to-face format, due to the need to self-isolate. This previously unimagineable set of circumstances provides a unique opportunity, and indeed an imperative, for videotherapy to fulfil its potential in addressing mental health and well-being needs from a distance. Historically, the uptake of videotherapy has been hindered by psychotherapist expectations of inferior therapeutic alliance and outcomes, in spite of considerable research evidence to the contrary. Research suggests that videotherapy provides a powerful pathway for clients to experience enhanced opportunities for self-expression, connection and intimacy. This more neutral therapeutic ‘space’ provides clients with multifarious opportunities for self-awareness, creative experience and collaboration, with potentially a greater sense of agency over their own experience. This paper explores ways in which videotherapy can lead to a revitalisation of the concept of the therapeutic relationship, in order to meet the challenges associated with COVID-19. A number of specific considerations for videotherapy adaptations and etiquette in the midst of COVID-19 are described.
- telemental health
- therapeutic alliance