Lockdown: Distance therapy can have benefits


During the Covid-19 lockdown, the treatment of physical health was a priority. As the psychological wellbeing has not been a subject treated by the state, in France like in most countries, the psychologists did their best to treat their patients anyway. And it looks like therapy online was not always a bad solution. This could even have advantages.

Guillaume Casez is a fifty years old psychologist with a degree in Gestalt Therapy. This therapeutic approach focuses on the constant interaction of the human being with his environment. Normally, the therapist does his consultations in Puteaux, in the suburbs of Paris. « My therapeutic approach is based on meeting », says Guillaume. He liked to see his patient face to face to develop a real relationship of intimacy and trust.

During the lockdown, Casez was forced to adapt his therapy to the new situation and started to see patients online. « I am not convinced that this is the best thing to do, but let’s just say it was better than nothing », claims the therapist. So it was more like a compromise than a real solution.

But in some cases, it looks like this has been effective. « I think a few of my patients became slightly more open to conversation. Some of them were very shy and being at home in their environment helped them to feel more comfortable », says the psychologist. « However, I remain convinced that it can only work with people you’ve already seen, at least once to establish a first real contact », adds Guillaume.

For the therapist, the idea of moving to online consultations only as for general medicine is not acceptable. It has to be an alternative in the case where there is no other option. And that’s what Nina Theron, a 22 years old student in Paris, thinks too. During the lockdown she spent so much time studying, locked in her room. In the beginning, it was not a big deal but after a month, she started to feel lonely. Teachers who were supposed to help her were difficult to reach and she was disappointed not to be able to go to the library with other students.

A naturally anxious person, she began to feel very stressed and the more the days passed the worse she felt. « I needed someone to help me. I needed interaction. », says the young girl. She finally decided to contact a psychologist and had an online appointment. « I hated it. I felt like I was confiding in my screen. Sometimes I even wondered if he could hear everything I was saying to him », adds Nina. She did not want to do another session and went to see another therapist at the end of the lockdown.

written by Chiara Kahn