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This is part of a continuing series of posts from conversations with Lisa Maechling Debbeler, JD, MA, LPCC about the nature of being a therapist/analyst in a time of quarantine. We began talking on Saturday March 21, 2020 at the beginning of the shut down and are continuing to talk weekly. We were both continuing to work and trying to see as many of our clients/analysands as possible through Zoom or other virtual methods. We were both finding this both unexpectedly and expectedly difficult and wanted to share our experiences with colleagues and friends that we respect.


Lisa sent me a link to some long-term qualitative research being done by analysts who have been doing Teletherapy prior to the Covid 19 crisis. One of the issues they raised was whether Teletherapy brought an experience of banality into a sacred experience.

What makes our work sacred?

For me it is the times when I and my client or analysand experience the flow of healing that is beyond one ego talking to another ego. It seems that the connection or the field between the two of us opens a channel to something larger than either of us could have brought into the room. We experience the presence of the numinous. In Kabbalah or Jewish mystical tradition, this flow is called Shefa which can be translated as divine emanation or flow. Perhaps a analogous term more familiar in mainstream culture might be Grace.

In general, therapists and even analysts don’t talk a lot about this experience perhaps because it is so beyond our control but also because it is beyond language. By definition it is hard to talk about. At the same time, I would argue that without the presence of the numinous/Shefa/Grace there is no deep healing. With it there is sometimes change that seems miraculous or inexplicable.

Blog Posts COVID-19 Pandemic Current Events Davidson, Adina Essays

This is part of a a continuing series of posts from conversations with Lisa Maechling Debbeler, JD, MA, LPCC about the nature of being a therapist/analyst in a time of quarantine. We began talking on Saturday March 21, 2020 at the beginning of the shut down and are continuing to talk weekly. We were both continuing to work and trying to see as many of our clients/analysands as possible through Zoom or other virtual methods. We were both finding this both unexpectedly and expectedly difficult and wanted to share our experiences with colleagues and friends that we respect.


From Lisa, citing an episode of the podcast This Jungian Life:

The Quarantine/Stay-at-Home order is like the beginning of an alchemical transformation of the ego being broken down. It’s the beginning of a process of relativizing all our usual ego activities to something greater, fearful and not-fully-knowable.

As Jungians we tend to take a very optimistic view of the relativization of ego. We see it as a step in the path toward wholeness. Ego needs to see its proper (small) place in psyche in order for our conscious self to relate to the Self. This process of understanding our egoic limits is put into the context of growth and development.

I see this growth-oriented relativization of ego happening at times in myself and with my analysands even in this moment of uncertainty, fear and loss. I can sense (and my analysands report) moments of spaciousness and a larger peace that seems more available in all the time and quiet we have during quarantine.  I feel the important and valuable things – such as family conversations, the friendship of my life-partner, religious and secular ritual, creative work – in my bones. They strike my more-than-usually-open and vulnerable heart and easily bring me to tears. This can be framed as a solutio (the alchemical stage of dissolving a material into its constituent parts) process. Some of the ego defenses have been dissolved by the time-honored methods of being quiet and alone, terror and sadness. This dissolving opens space for an awareness of the larger realities.

Blog Posts COVID-19 Pandemic Current Events Davidson, Adina Essays

These are some notes from a conversation with Lisa Maechling Debbeler, JD, MA, LPCC about the nature of being a therapist/analyst in a time of quarantine. We began talking on Saturday March 21, 2020 at the beginning of the shut down and are continuing to talk weekly. We were both continuing to work and trying to see as many of our clients/analysands as possible through Zoom or other virtual methods. We were both finding this both unexpectedly and expectedly difficult and wanted to share our experiences with colleagues and friends that we respect.


First, we both were finding that conducting therapy/analysis virtually was shockingly exhausting and so were almost all of our colleagues. We had certain expectations of our ability to be productive between clients and found that both of us were staring vaguely into space or aimlessly snacking rather than taking a note, making a phone call, doing some writing, eating lunch etc.  We were interested in whether there might be a Jungian perspective that might help inform our understanding if not help rectify it.

My initial stab was that we were missing the “field” that exists between analyst and analysand and is the container for much of the therapy. Not only in the sense of the quasi-mystical field of collective unconscious and synchronicity but in the simple physiological data that we gather about each other unconsciously. The micro shifts in facial expression, the half-heard sighs or in breaths, the subtle changes in body language. All of this is missing or limited when we view each other through a computer screen. Our conscious egoic self must carry all the burden of the communication with no help from our instinctive or intuitive understanding of what the person is communicating non-verbally.

Blog Posts COVID-19 Pandemic Current Events Davidson, Adina

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