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Emails, Texts & Beyond: Communicating Analytically In the Digital Age

  • Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy Study Center 80 5th Avenue, Room 1408 New York, NY, 10011 United States (map)


It’s a wondrous new world! Technology gives us unparalleled abilities to connect. Technology adds a level of efficiency and convenience that makes life so much easier, both in and outside of therapy.  

On the other hand, when is a request to plug a phone charger in our outlet based in “reality”? When is it a disguised sexual request-- or assault? How do we feel about being digitally available to patients when they have a brief piece of news to report? What happens when it’s not so brief and it’s late Saturday night? Can patients perhaps express things by email that need to be said but that cannot safely be said in person because it would make them feel too vulnerable? Would it be useful if they could express rage without fear of immediate in-person reprisal? Or might it be a shortcut that interferes with the crucial work of analyzing resistance? Would it be helpful for us to watch that video of the patient’s child’s first steps? Would it be an enactment, or no? How about learning that the patient is pregnant, or has cancer, or wants to end treatment, that comes through in a text? What is the effect on the therapist? How do we view these contacts psychoanalytically? And how do we deal with them in the room?

This workshop will provide a forum to grapple with the myriad dilemmas posed by our patients’ as well as our own use of email and texts  as they impact the treatment situation. Participants are invited to bring in struggles with incorporating (or resisting) the use of texts, email and devices in treatment.

This talk has been approved by New York State for 2 hours of Continuing Education Credit for LMSWs and LCSWs