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The Online Setting and Body Psychotherapy


By Genovino Ferri

During the pandemic, I considered the repercussions that existed and the modifications necessary to use my time most effectively with clients in the online psycho-therapeutic setting.

Despite the impositions and limitations of our electronic settings, I considered how we most effectively, most efficiently, and most negentropically adapted to our unanticipated, new reality.

Having examined the structural variations of the online psychotherapeutic setting, enriched with psychodynamic-neuroscientific aspects, I propose an increase in the intersubjectivity and the intercorporeity in the setting from an analytical-corporeal perspective in psychotherapy. This objective can be achieved by increasing sensory intelligence centred on attention to facial expression and prosody, as well as on analytical-therapeutic bodily activations.

The psychotherapeutic setting during the pandemic can be compared to an open, complex, intelligent living system that requires a new equilibrium, a new structuring, and renewed “cerebral plasticity” to continue to exist. It is a living system that must learn to be aware of new dynamics and must re-individuate the two active ingredients representing its resilience in the setting, returning to them (the therapeutic relationship and analytical-therapeutic bodily activations), to continue being appropriate and potent, without getting lost, without becoming “de-materialised” and disorganised in gradual entropic steps or slipping into entropic vortices.

Awareness of new dynamics

We no longer inhabit the same space in the setting, there being two different locations for the analyst and for the person being analysed, which is to say that although the therapist and the patient are still present in the relationship, the reality of the distance between their two locations is evident and must be taken into consideration.

The dyadic relationship is more difficult, being filtered and reduced by having to pass through computer screens. The epidermis and contact (etymologically derived from the Latin contact us, contingere, meaning “to touch”) are missing, olfactory exchange of aromas is missing, as is the energetic field interaction of being in the same, real space, which marks the field atmosphere in the setting on the person and on their movement and, in addition, all the associated inactivity is missing.

Postural position, on an online monitor, is largely facing the other and sometimes only from the chest up, or even only from the neck up. Feeling, like corporeity, which is the foundation for intersubjective communication, sees its means of connection reduced and sees its own space in the relationship reduced in a kind of “sensory bottle-neck”.

To put it in bodily terms, feeling relies on the inter-ocular relational-space and on verbal dialogue, which, in fact, polarise online psychotherapeutic portals.

We are still spending the same time “together” as we would otherwise, although it is now pervaded by the external “time of the pandemic”, which is the new variable around the patient and therapist, obliging them to meet as analyst and person being analysed in the online psychotherapeutic setting.

To read Dr. Ferri’s complete paper, please click here


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laptop:Image by Peggy und Marco Lach-mann-Anke from Pixabay