In Bed With Your Therapist: The Paradoxical Intimacy of Online Psychotherapy

In Bed With Your Therapist: The Paradoxical Intimacy of Online Psychotherapy

by Anastasia Piatakhina Giré & Joseph Burgo, PhD

Psychotherapists Anastasia Piatakhina Giré and Joseph Burgo, who conduct therapy with clients around the world over Skype, share about the unique aspects of being let into the intimate spaces of their clients homes.
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Online Therapy

When engaging in psychotherapy by Skype or other video conferencing system, clients will often keep their appointment even when they feel too sick or fragile to attend school or go to work. They reach out to their online therapist from the comfort of home, sometimes wrapped in blankets in a cozy chair, sometimes lying on a couch.
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Anastasia Piatakhina Giré  &  Joseph Burgo, PhD
Anastasia Piatakhina Giré was born and raised in Saint Petersbourg (Russia), and, before moving to Paris, lived and studied in Italy, Great Britain and Spain.

Her experience of evolving abroad, together with her multicultural marriage and trilingual family, makes her particularly sensitive to the sort of issues experienced by people living in a different country than that of their origin, or those who are part of a mixed couple. Life away from home and family brings along quite specific psychological challenges. An expat herself, she is passionate about fellow travelers. As a writer, she has been writing scenarios since 2006 for television and cinema, and has always felt fascinated by people’s stories.

Joseph Burgo, PhD, has practiced psychotherapy for more than 30 years, holding licenses as a marriage and family therapist and clinical psychologist. He earned his undergraduate degree at UCLA and his masters and doctorate at California Graduate Institute in Los Angeles. He is also a graduate psychoanalyst and has served as a board member, officer and instructor at a component society of the International Psychoanalytic Association. He is the author of Why Do I Do That? Psychology Defense Mechanisms and the Hidden Ways They Shape Our Lives (New Rise Press, 2012) and The Narcissist You Know: Defending Yourself Against Extreme Narcissists in an All-About-Me Age (Touchstone, September 2015).

He currently writes the popular blog, After Psychotherapy, where he discusses personal growth issues from a psychodynamic perspective. Working with clients all over the world, he also practices face-to-face video psychotherapy on a secure internet platform.
This article caused some significant concerns for me. First, there appears to be HIPPA violations with the use of Skype, which is not a secure medium. Online services can help clients, who otherwise could not receive service, have access. However, therapists need to strongly consider the ethical implications of the technology they use and ensure that they are investing in appropriate safeguards. Second, I found the statement "At first glance, Lisa seemed to have everything a woman of her age could wish for: two grown children, a supportive husband, and a very exciting hobby" to be sexist. As if the only things a woman could want is a husband, children, and a hobby. Holding this view and perspective is damaging to female clients.
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