Acceso abierto

Distance and Boundaries Issues in the Transition from Face-to-Face Talking Therapy to Online Therapy in the Time of Covid-19


The primary main aim of this article is to explore the changes and adjustments brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic to the therapeutic process in the transition from face-to-face talking therapy to online therapy. Online therapy sessions, once a niche, have now become the norm in therapeutic work. This, more than ever before, raises the question of the efficacy of online therapy compared to face-to-face talking therapy. A related question is how the “classical” elements of in-person therapies (especially the psychodynamic, affective and relational-based), such as: the therapeutic alliance, the therapeutic containing space, the therapeutic relationship, etc. work in the on-line setting. This article draws on a primary qualitative exploratory research carried among Romanian clients who undergo a psychodynamic type of therapy and who transitioned from face-to-face to online therapy as a reaction to the new constraints engendered by the COVID-19 pandemic and after the measures were relaxed, the transition from on-line to in-person therapy. Our focus is on how they experience online therapy compared to face-to-face therapy in terms of intimacy, therapeutic frame and efficacy, as well as on the boundaries challenged, erased and created by the switch between the two types of therapy settings.