|Author(s)||Sabrina Cipolletta, Eleonora Frassoni, Elena Faccio|
|Title||Construing a therapeutic relationship online: An analysis of videoconference sessions|
|Tag(s)||EMCA, Therapy, Videoconferencing, In Press, Professional relationships|
The aim of this study is to investigate the elements that characterize the formation of a therapeutic relationship when the sessions are conducted through videoconference. Method
Conversation analysis was used to analyse the first three counselling sessions with five clients, for a total of 15 sessions. Results
The phenomena detected in the conversational sequences dealt with the following issues: starting up (early definition of the problem, motivation to use a communication technology, and therapeutic rules), technological ruptures (interruptions and multimedia repair), environment, privacy, and going beyond videoconferencing, such as inter-session contact and moving from videoconferencing to face-to-face meetings. The analysis of relational asymmetries also highlighted the relational dominance of the therapist. A series of these phenomena could be ascribed to the online modality; other ones are common in face-to-face sessions. The frequent request to integrate online sessions with face-to-face sessions might indicate that online psychotherapy is seen as a complement to face-to-face psychotherapy more than as a substitute for it. Conclusions
The potential of online psychotherapy is still underestimated and further studies should be conducted on the specificities of the computer-mediated communication within the therapeutic relationship.