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HOW ARE YOU? Connection in a Virtual Age: A Therapist, a Pandemic, and Stories about Coping with Life Reviewed by Norm Goldman of Bookpleasures.com
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Norm Goldman --  bookpleasures.com Norm Goldman -- bookpleasures.com
For Immediate Release:
Dateline: Montreal, QC
Monday, August 30, 2021

 

Author: ThereseRosenblatt, PhD

Publisher: Rosetta Books

ISBN: 978-0-7953-5315-4

New York psychologist andpsychoanalyst Therese Rosenblatt is readjusting to a fresh normalamong thousands of mental health professionals.


This adaptation hascompelled most in her profession to employ a broad assortment oftelecommunication technologies to communicate with their patients,including texting, telephones, and video.  A therapist’s craftis changing and will continue to transform. Wrapped up in thesestrategies is a transformation, not only as a therapist but likewiseas an individual.

In HOW ARE YOU?Connection in a Virtual Age: A Therapist, a Pandemic, and Storiesabout Coping with Life, Rosenblatt chronicles her unsettlingexperiences as she adapts to online psychotherapy during thisextraordinary time. Many of the challenges she encounters aresurveyed, covering her personal reflections regarding her attitudesand those of her patients. As Rosenblatt notes, “we were alldealing with loss at some level during the pandemic. That sense ofloss is extending beyond the crisis. We lost a way of life. We lost asense of innocence and a uniquely American sense of invulnerability.For an extended period, we lost social and, most times, familialcontact.” 

Beginning with a newclinical situation, Rosenblatt points out that the therapy professionis now confronted with the twin issues of an actual medical threatand exclusively remote sessions. It has remodeled her work, startingfrom her patients’ first words, How are you? Before thepandemic, patients would jump right into their own stories. Now,patients wanted to know how she was at first. She wondered how sheshould respond. 

Chapter two delves intohow the pandemic has exacerbated existing needs, bringing forth newchallenges in therapy. Without disclosing her patients, Rosenblattprovides her readers with a front-row seat on how they are dealingwith such matters as loss, loneliness, isolation, overcrowding withrelatives, spouses, partners, and many challenges, such as substanceabuse. 

The third chapter examinesrefreshed approaches to therapy and Rosenblatt’s own particularevolution. These fresh approaches include billing via email, sessionlengths, predictability and endings, absence of an office, remotetherapy by phone, therapy by video. It also comprises the toll it hastaken on the therapist. 

Rosenblatt discussesvirtual therapy that functions in chapter four but does not replacein-person sessions. How do we balance the two?  In her work shewas forced to improvise, to provide extra support, to offer apandemic version of human interaction.

As she mentions, “inthese conditions of extraordinary advertsity, we all have fewerresources available to shore up our ability to cope with the extrachallenges and life in general.”

The fifth chapter examineswhere we are and where we are going? Although tele psychotherapy isnot new, it has been sped up during the Covid-19 outbreak. Essentialissues that psychotherapists must now cope with and probed in thebook are responsibility, doctors’ self-trust, and client trust. 

People worldwide arestruggling with a fundamental transformation to their way of lifebecause of the coronavirus (COVID-19). We cannot miscalculate theacute changes individuals are dealing with regarding theiractivities, routines, and facets of their everyday life during thepandemic. This has brought on a shift wherein Rosenblatt and othersin her profession are now coping with as it affects their practices.

There are many issues that psychotherapists must deal with whilepreserving the same standard of care and readjusting to the newnormal. It has been and will continue to be a substantial challengeto navigate self-care while trying to help others. As Rosenblattstates: “The pandemic has subverted the old structures, the oldnorms, and thrown open the gates to changes that were alreadyunderway, in fashion, as in therapy and so many other fields.”While there is no precedent or theory for how to proceed, therapistsneed to adapt their current structures if they are to help theirpatients.

 Norm Goldman of Bookpleasures.com

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