Benjamin Aldes Wurgaft Reviews the Distance Cure

01 Jan, 2022

Benjamin Aldes Wurgaft Reviews the Distance Cure

Hannah Zeavin's new book The Distance Cure: A History of Teletherapy is reviewed by Benjamin Aldes Wurgaft in Book Forum!

From the review:

The Distance Cure concludes with a short and powerful portrait of teletherapy during the COVID-19 pandemic, an era whose defining features are distance and a need for cures, not only a vaccine for the virus but also a remedy for the pain of isolation. Early in 2020, teleconferencing became invaluable and omnipresent—the same applications used for work and play and therapy. Shortly after the pandemic began, my own psychoanalyst closed his physical office altogether. Now I recline, pick up the phone, and summon myself to a red couch that no longer lies under a window in Berkeley. I began my treatment on that couch nearly twenty years ago, and I can still remember how novel it was to lie down like that, to drop the customary postures of productive adult life. Freud said only a little regarding its necessity, but I still think that the couch is an admirable framing device, part of what makes psychoanalysis unlike anything else. My own resistance, I joke to myself, found its match in the resistance of that rather firm couch. And yet the phone is an admirable framing device too, isolating the relationship between analyst and patient to a narrow channel, all attention hanging on the voice. Data’s abdomen swings opens like an antique telephone cabinet, and we get symbolism that is no less true for being so obvious: self-knowledge always requires some form of mediation or dialogue, even within the self, and our modern age has given us many mediating tools.

Read the full review here!