An exploration into the nuances of conducting psychotherapy using video conferencing technology

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Keeney, Roxane
Issue Date
MA in Psychotherapy
Dublin Business School
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Psychotherapy conducted online using video conferencing software is becoming an increasingly popular option for both clients and psychotherapists. The Coronavirus pandemic (Covid-19) has forced the profession at large to become acquainted with this mode of practice overnight, as seeing clients face to face has not been permitted during a countrywide lockdown, from March to June 2020. However, specific training for working online with video is not currently being covered by the majority of psychotherapy training courses in Ireland. The core aim of this research is to address specific nuances of working in this way from experienced practitioners that could have a potential impact on the therapeutic encounter and its’ processes. This qualitative research paper aims to identify these nuances and explore their implications for video psychotherapy practice. It attempts to serve as a guide and support to practitioners who decide to, or indeed have to, conduct their sessions over video. Six psychotherapists who have experience of conducting their practice both with face to face sessions, and over video, have been interviewed for the purpose of the research. Thematic analysis has been used to identify patterns and meanings within the data set. Subsequently, three key themes have been highlighted relating to this topic; (i) The challenges of introducing video technology into the psychotherapeutic space, (ii) Managing the nuances of the cocreated space over video, (iii) The requirement for psychotherapeutic modifications and flexibility. This research suggests that there are challenges that are unique to this way of working, yet also that there are instances where this way of working is proving to be successful, if the therapist is able to adequately modify their therapeutic techniques to its unique set of demands.