ICP Presents: Treatment via Technology During the Pandemic

Treatment via Technology During the Pandemic:

                             The Challenges of Maintaining Attunement

A Workshop with Gillian Isaacs Russell, PhD 

Saturday October 10, 2020

1:00-4:00pm PDT

2.75 CMA/CE Credit Available


*This program will take place via Zoom Webinar.*


Can a highly effective therapeutic process occur without physical co‐presence?  What happens when we reduce our therapeutic relationships to two dimensions bound by a screen or joined by a cable?  Five years after the publication of her book, Screen Relations: The Limits of Computer-Mediated Psychoanalysis and Psychotherapy (Karnac, 2015), the Institute of Contemporary Psychoanalysis is pleased to welcome Gillian Isaacs Russell, PhD, as she takes a second look at these and related questions in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic.  At the time of Screen Relations’ publication, Dr. Russell’s aim was to look at the process of therapeutic treatment via technological mediation in order to help people make informed decisions if they decided to use technological mediation. This was still just a choice for all of us until March of 2020, when it suddenly became an abrupt and unprepared-for necessity for most of us.

In this presentation, Dr. Russell considers the relevant issues through a multidisciplinary lens, including neuroscience, informatics, and psychoanalysis.  What happens to free association, evenly suspended attention, and reverie when working by phone or online?  What is the impact of the loss of the consulting room as a containing physical space for both clinician and patient, as well as the loss of the relationship between place and time that this entails?  And how can we maintain a focus on transference and countertransference in the presence of the threat of illness and death?  A discussion by Robyn Sewitz, PsyD, LCSW, along with consideration of clinical vignettes provided by ICP members and candidates, will bring Dr. Russell’s concepts home, as we strive to maintain affective attunement to our patients even as we rise to the occasion of the pandemic and the challenges it presents to our contemporary psychoanalytic world.


  1.  Explain what is meant by “co-presence” in clinical psychoanalytic work.
  1.  Identify two aspects of the psychoanalytic clinical process that are impacted when engaging in technology-mediated treatment.

3.  Describe two strategies for maintaining affective attunement when working remotely with patients.


1:00-1:05pm    Welcome and Introduction, Christina Emanuel, MFT, PsyD, Moderator 

1:05-1:45         Treatment via Technology During the Pandemic, Gillian Isaacs Russell, PhD 

1:45-2:00         Discussion of Dr. Russell’s Presentation, Robyn Sewitz, PsyD, LCSW 

2:00-2:20         Q&A with the Audience 

2:20-2:30         Break 

2:30-3:10         Discussion of Clinical Vignette #1 

3:10-3:50         Discussion of Clinical Vignette #2 

3:50-4:00         Final Q&A with the Audience 

4:00                 Program Concludes


Please note that each registration entitles only one person to watch the presentation; each person viewing the presentation is expected to register individually.  Our ability to provide this online programming service depends upon your willingness to honor this expectation. 

                                                      REGISTER HERE




Gillian Isaacs Russell, PhD, is a UK-trained psychoanalyst. She is a member of the American Psychoanalytic Association, the International Psychoanalytical Association, and the British Psychoanalytic Council. Her book, Screen Relations: The Limits of Computer-Mediated Psychoanalysis and Psychotherapy, was published by Karnac Books in 2015. She serves on the editorial board of the British Journal of Psychotherapy and recently co-edited a special issue of Psychoanalytic Perspectives on psychoanalysis and technology. Dr. Russell writes, speaks and teaches internationally on technology and its impact on intimate human relationships, particularly in psychoanalytic treatment. She currently serves on the COVID-19 Advisory Team for the American Psychoanalytic Association. She practices in Boulder, Colorado.

Robyn Sewitz PsyD, LCSW (Discussant), has been in private practice in Encino, California, for nearly 30 years, where she works with adolescents and adults in individual and couples therapy.  At the Institute of Contemporary Psychoanalysis, Dr. Sewitz is a Training and Supervising Analyst, faculty member, former facilitator of the Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy Program, and current chair of the Candidate Progression Committee.

Christina Emanuel, MFT, PsyD (Moderator), is a psychoanalyst and psychotherapist in private practice in Pasadena, California.  She is a Training and Supervising Analyst and member of the Board of Directors of the Institute of Contemporary Psychoanalysis, where she is also Chair of the Program Committee.  She is also a member of the Board of Directors of the International Association for Relational Psychoanalysis and Psychotherapy, where she is Chair of the Webinar Committee.  Christina writes, teaches, and presents about autism, disability studies, and relational psychoanalysis.

Disclosure of Commercial Support and Conflicts of Interest: No one in the planning or presentation of this activity has any relevant financial relationships with a commercial interest to disclose.

Continuing education certificates are awarded at the end of the event, after evaluations have been submitted. The instructional level of the content is intermediate to advanced, building upon participants’ foundational knowledge and allowing participants to integrate knowledge and skills into their practice or other professional domains.

You will be notified of the Zoom Webinar login instructions prior to the conference date and CE procedures at the commencement of the program.

Refund Policy: Refunds will be given less a $25 administrative fee provided that the request is received in writing by October 3, 2020. No refunds will be given after this date.

Special Accommodations: ICP will endeavor to meet the special accommodations of any participant. Please email requests two weeks prior to event to [email protected].

Grievances: Please contact the ICP office at [email protected] or (310) 207-8441 with any grievances.

For any questions please contact the ICP office at (310) 207-8441 or [email protected].




The Institute of Contemporary Psychoanalysis (ICP) is approved by the American Psychological Association to sponsor continuing education for psychologists. The Institute of Contemporary Psychoanalysis maintains responsibility for this program and its content.

The Institute of Contemporary Psychoanalysis (ICP) is a continuing education provider that has been approved by the American Psychological Association, a California Board of Behavioral Sciences recognized approval agency.

This program meets the qualifications for 2.75 hours of continuing education credit.
The Institution of Contemporary Psychoanalysis (ICP) is accredited by the California Medical Association (CMA) to provide continuing medical education for physicians.