The Digital Age on the Couch: Psychoanalytic Practice and New Media

Author(s) : Alessandra Lemma

The Digital Age on the Couch: Psychoanalytic Practice and New Media

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The Digital Age is on the couch. Working today, it is essential that clinicians understand the world we live in. The transition from an industrial economy to an information economy impacts not just the external structure of society and commerce, but also the internal psychic economies of our brains and, inevitably, how clinicians conceptualize the analytic setting in which they practice as therapists and analysts. The Digital Age on the Couch seeks to understand more about how new technologies interact with the prerogatives of an individual's internal world, how they may alter psychic structure itself in fundamental ways and the implications this may have for the individual's functioning and for the operation of society. This book attempts, from the perspective of a working clinician, to make some sense of this.

The impact of mediation via technology and the consequent disintermediation of the body represent central themes throughout, as they impact on the experience of embodiment, on the 'work of desire' and on the way new media influences psychoanalytic practice. New media offer opportunities for increasing accessibility to mental health care including psychoanalytic interventions. However, this requires a sophisticated understanding of how to best create and safeguard the analytic setting. Alessandra Lemma here guides the clinician through an exploration of the limitations and risks of mediated psychotherapy, illustrated with clinical examples throughout. The Digital Age on the Couch offers an accessibly written guide to combining existing psychoanalytic theory and practice with the challenges presented by digital media. It will appeal to psychoanalysts, psychoanalytic psychotherapists and counsellors.

About the Author(s)

Alessandra Lemma is the Unit Director, Psychological Therapies Development Unit, Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust, and the Clinical Director of the Psychological Interventions Research Centre, University College London. She is a Fellow of the British Psychoanalytical Society. She is Visiting Professor, Psychoanalysis Unit, University College London, and Honorary Professor of Psychological Therapies at Essex University. She is the Regional Editor (London) of the International Journal of Psychoanalysis and General Editor of the New Library of Psychoanalysis book series (Routledge). She has published several books and papers on psychotherapy, psychoanalysis, the body, and trauma. Alessandra Lemma is also a Winner of the Levy-Goldfarb Award for Child Psychoanalysis.

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