Systemic practice in the time of COVID: Conversations among culturally diverse therapists
Australian & New Zealand Journal of Family Therapy
School of Arts and Humanities
The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the delivery of clinical services and education of health professionals, including family therapists. This paper distils two separate Zoom conversations between myself (as the lead author) and two eminent family therapists, Professors Maurizio Andolfi and Harry Aponte, where challenges and opportunities for the profession during and after the pandemic are discussed. Creativity and resourcefulness are two important elements therapists and educators have needed to access during the pandemic to find alternative ways to continue to provide clinical services and teaching. Most therapists have transitioned using online technology and various platforms such as Zoom and Skype; for some this has been a somewhat familiar experience, for most it has been a novel one. Key themes emerged from the conversations including the personal and professional ‘lived experiences’ of the pandemic; the financial impact on clients and students; the importance of touch for human social connection; the use of ‘self’ as an instrument of change and alternative platforms of service delivery and teaching. We reflected on what has been lost, such as the nuances inherent in face-to-face human interactions, and what has been gained, such as observing families in situ in their own environments.