Connection online….really?

Kia ora from lockdown Level 3 – not as bad as Level 4 but still seemingly taking it’s toll somewhat.

I find myself getting annoyed at the advertising about connecting with others through the use of screens and devices and I am aware of how contradictory I am going to sound as I work my way through this post. I do not want to envision a future where it is acceptable to conduct relational psychotherapy through technology – and hopefully in my professional lifespan, that won’t have to happen again. I say hope, because no one knows! No one has a crystal ball, so there is part of me resigned to the fact that I a glad I have gotten my head around HOW to use technology to sustain therapeutic relationships should the time come again. For now I am feeling grateful for what seems to be something intangible and something that cannot be communicated through a screen, that I offer in my therapeutic space. I always wondered when I was training, about these clinicians talking about what happens in that moment BETWEEN the therapist and client – what on earth did they mean? And oh my goodness I know that place so well – I miss that place being co-created in the moment with each of my clients. It feels more than a sense of trust and more than a sense of knowing someone…. it has such a rich quality to it that is only created when the meeting of the two of us occurs. In this moment, in this between moment, the felt need of being seen, heard, validated and belonging is met… finally. These needs are evident in childhood and exist even earlier when in a mother’s womb. Bruce Perry speaks of this in his work and acknowledges the importance of these relational needs and in Eric Berne’s Transactional Analysis Psychotherapy, the emphasis is on attending to these early, archaic needs. Needs that are not necessarily met online… in an authentic, safe and sincere way. We use going online to find ways of getting these needs met for sure – Facebook and other platforms to be seen, heard, validated and ‘liked’. And sadly, this can make it easier for online predators. If our needs are not met when we are young – for whatever reason – then as adults, these needs remain. They remain and they come out in behaviours, relationship choices, friendships, employment and social connections. And still as adults, we go looking online to have these needs met…. but what are we really looking for? Why do we need to know we are liked, we belong, we are approved of, we are good-enough and we are wanted? If you have a think, if these needs remain then something was missing from when you were younger…. not that YOU did anything wrong, they were simply needs you had that were not met.

If this passage strikes a cord with you, drop me a line or better still – come and see me when time allows.