Couple Therapy in the Absence of Presence

Translating Therapeutic Presence to the Screen


  • Elizabeth Brenner Therapy Training Boston and Harvard Medical School


couple therapy, teletherapy, telehealth, Covid 19, therapeutic presence


This paper reflects on lessons learned due to urgently needing to provide couple therapy via telehealth as a consequence of the Covid 19 pandemic. Skill development relevant to the changed needs of therapist, clients and on-screen therapeutic relationships in this medium will be discussed. Case examples are used to highlight challenges and attempted solutions. The focus is on altering practice to make up for clinicians having limited access to non-verbal and peripheral modes of communication due to the absence of physical presence. Ways to enact therapeutic presence and hold generative conversations that enhance relationships in this context will be shared.




How to Cite

Brenner, E. (2021). Couple Therapy in the Absence of Presence: Translating Therapeutic Presence to the Screen. New England Journal of Relational and Systemic Practice, 1(2). Retrieved from