Book Review: The Digital Age on the Couch: Psychoanalytic Practice and New MediaThe Digital Age on the Couch: Psychoanalytic Practice and New Media. By LemmaAlessandra. New York: Routledge, 2017, x + 154 pp., $130.00 hardcover, $39.95 paperback.

  • Jill Savege Scharff
  • Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association, August 2018, SAGE Publications
  • DOI: 10.1177/0003065118797050

Impact of technology on mind and relationships

What is it about?

Alessandra Lemma marries a psychoanalytic perspective on mind and body in life and in treatment with a philosophical take on self and other in the information age. In Part 1 this book, she writes about the real body and the virtual body, sexual identity formation, and desire. In part 2 she writes about technology-mediated psychotherapy, gives great examples of digital transferences and analytic process, and concludes with five pointers on how to conduct mediated therapy responsibly. Another chapter focuses on the “digital transference” of patients who use technology to invade their analyst’s privacy and preference for neutrality, express hostility and longing, and defend against rejection.

Why is it important?

This book is important because it brings a well-informed, balanced perspective to the topic of technology and treatment for emotional and mental illness. It illustrates the provision of high quality psychotherapy or psychoanalysis when the boy of patient and the body of analyst are not together in the same room but it does not proselytize for the practice of distance analysis.


jill scharff
international psychotherapy institute

I really appreciate that the clinical illustrations are of stunningly high quality.

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