Will technology replace human contact?
Recently I read a post from a psychotherapist making a strong case for Skype to Skype sessions between a client and his/her psychotherapist as being as effective as in person, in office visits. He/she stated the transference relationship that develops is just as strong as in person.
This so troubles me. In an age when everyone is texting, e-mailing and not communicating in person the quality, intimacy and struggles that need to be addressed in an individual and in relationships can only be addressed in person.
One’s training involves observing nuances, body language, subtle changes in ones’ affect, tone etc. A proper transference cannot develop with a boundary set through technology. We have numerous conscious and unconscious barriers in relationships with people. The unconscious being our defense mechanisms.
The key agent of change is the ‘corrective emotional experience’ that evolves over time between a client and a therapist. Issues of core trust cannot be worked through on an emotional basis if people aren’t seen in person. Perhaps one can have interesting intellectual interchanges but the painful areas of ones’ history effecting ones past and present will not properly be attended to.
There are many misunderstandings that arise when people text, e-mail or Skype. Having had some Skype sessions with some of my clients that I’ve seen for long term therapy I’ve noticed how these sessions contribute to barriers already a part of the persons problem they wish to address. Particularly when ones’ objected relatedness is poor. By this I mean ones’ difficulty connecting, attaching, allowing on to get close to another human being.
The use of technology cannot replace human contact.