In this remarkable book Ricardo Carlino (2011, Karnac books) argues that psychoanalysis not only can be applied in a different way from the classical freudian setting, but also courageously tracks the deep meaning of the changes and the paradigms implied in the use of contemporary technologies in this field.
For distance psychoanalysis he means together with a considerable part of the contemporary community of analysts, all those different frames that imply that patient and analyst are not in the same room, but somehow distant in the space. For instance, when we deal with a telephone session, a skype session, with or without the use of the camera, or email exchanges, as well as an entire analysis or a psychotherapy started or continuing using these technologies.
As in the best psychoanalytical tradition he starts to investigate these new methods considering the resistances that they may encounter, specifically among the colleagues themselves. A first reaction could be: how can you do something that not implies direct contact? How can you work when you don’t see or feel the patient? These defensive questions, he argues, imply that we tend to take a certain distance from these new technologies as we are not used to them, they differ from an already established “long” tradition. All these reactions do not honor the classical spirit of psychoanalysis which on the contrary involves and favors our capacity to be open and not judgemental to the new and to the unknown, to explore it and in a way to force our mind to work and understand deep meanings of new situations.
As a second important step with a deep philosophical knowledge he shows how the virtual space of the skype or telephone session is not more virtual than the assumption of the real space in a room where two persons encounters their personalities in the classical analytical frames. In fact what is more real or natural in a situation where a person lay on a couch giving his or her back to another human being? Bion said ones that no other animal on earth would allow this position. I leave you to read this intriguing philosophical and sensible digression on the virtual and non virtual space of analysis and of skype or telephone sessions.
I wish to quote Horacio Etchegoyen himself (past President of the I.P.A. International Psychoanalytical Association) in his comment on the book: (…) in this new setting (…) the analytic system with a patient free associating his/her occurrences, together with an analyst who listen in silence and communicate his/her interpretations has remained unaltered. Although the modus operandi has changed, the spirit of the analysis remains tha same as always.
Have a good reading!