March 20, 2020
The following article is taken from the EAP special newsletter on Covid-19. Please click here for details.
The populations of Europe and European psychotherapists are facing an unprecedented situation with the rapid spread of the Coronavirus (or Covid-19) across Europe. We are increasingly asked to “self-isolate” if infected but also to avoid direct contact with others as well as avoiding “unnecessary” travel.
This is the first time in history that psychotherapy practice is being restricted in such profound ways and we therefore find ourselves in uncharted waters. As Psychotherapists, we work with many vulnerable clients or patients whom we should not easily abandon with their problems of living, problems that may become further exacerbated by challenges arising from the Coronavirus situation in some cases.
Fortunately, the relatively recent development of “online psychotherapy” provides possibilities to continue working and supporting at least those clients/patients able and willing to engage with these new media technologies. Some of you already work online as part of your psychotherapy practice. For others, it may be a new challenge to master both the technology and the particularities of psychological spaces associated with meeting online.
In recent years, online psychotherapy has evolved as a distinct variation of psychotherapy, or perhaps even as new modality, which has rules, etiquette and techniques alongside possibilities, opportunities as well as challenges and hidden dangers. Unfortunately, good practice guidance and online psychotherapy education are still not widely available across Europe. EAP has therefore decided to publish the “work in progress” already done by EAP under the leadership of our previous EAP President Adrian Rhodes in the form of an “Interim Advice for Conducting Psychotherapy Online”. We will continue to develop this guidance document and associated electronic library, but in the meantime, this interim advise will provide much needed information and guidance to the European psychotherapy community.
In this special newsletter, we also include a collection of practical tips and ideas to consider which we hope you will find helpful:
We are currently exploring the technical issues associated with an online “question and answer” forum or blog to support exchanging ideas and best practice amongst EAP affiliated psychotherapists. We are hopeful that we will be able to set something up soon. We also seek to provide links to short online training modules that can support online psychotherapy practice. Please consult the EAP website for further updates and information on these matters: https://www.europsyche.org