Today, all of us are extended, in some way, into the digital world. Whether it is something as banal as having an email address or a smart-phone, to something more complex like activities on social media (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn), we find that this technology has serious implications for ourselves and our clients. As psychotherapists, we are particularly sensitive to the consequences of digital technology as we experience them in relation to our own choices and those of our clients – not to mention how these technologies are used between therapist and client. There is also the issue of the therapeutic frame being threatened by the way technology has the potential to expose us while at the same time making us “contactable” between the traditional boundaries of the therapy session.
Whether you are an active user of social media or not, you are still “online” if you use email to communicate with clients, engage with the odd Skype session, have a website, or are searchable on Google. In the context of this, we need to better understand the impact of online relating on our clients and ourselves in relation to attachment, intimacy, immediacy, dependency, distraction, and the capacity to be alone. It is also crucial that we use our psychotherapy thinking to understand how this impacts our work.
Through both experiential exercises and theoretical models, this workshop will guide therapists and counsellors to better understand issues which may arise in their relationships with their clients as well as their role and responsibilities in the face of the digital world.
Dr. Aaron Balick is a UKCP registered psychotherapist and supervisor. In addition to his clinical work, he is an honorary senior lecturer at the Centre for Psychoanalytic Studies at the University of Essex. Aaron is interested in applying psychological thinking to social media and technology: research that has culminated in his book "The Psychodynamics of Social Networking: Connected up instantaneous culture and the self". For more than a decade Dr Balick has contributed psychological and mental health content for the BBC (online, radio, and television) and continues to do so across a variety of media.