Distance is dead!
I was having an emotionally-charged psychotherapy session with a foreign couple when the woman partner told me she’s moving back to her home country. She could not bear the infidelity of her man. We were both disappointed. Sessions had been going well, but incomplete. No significant momentum yet.
Then, a few days after, she phoned me. She thought of a practical alternative – session via Skype. This provided her hope and continuity, which she needed a lot during that time. It’s like face to face too such as in traditional sessions. The medium of video and voice conferencing through Skype then became instrumental for her eventual healing and stabilization – personally and relationally.
We do live in a different time now. With the fast rise of Internet and technology, psychotherapy and other mental health services have been moving in with the times. For the final sessions with this hurting couple, we did meet in person again, which felt like a more appropriate way to end the sessions.
Both the couple and myself felt “upbeat” and at ease. Such seemed to be a reflection of our Skype sessions at processing issues and maintaining therapist-patient relationship. We commented that our face to face sessions did not feel that much different from our previous Skype sessions.
Overall, I think that being able to continue our sessions via Skype was incredibly useful for both the patient and me. Distance was no longer an obstacle to heal. In both my and the couple patient’s opinion the therapy had been successful. Skype played a role in this.
The use Skype and other modern forms of distance communication technologies could improve access to psychotherapies for people living in remote areas or foreign countries. It’s helpful to those who are busy traveling or working, those housebound, disabled, or bedridden. In my observation and opinion, the role of online therapy delivery is going to expand and is likely to continue to do so due to people’s needs and our changing times.