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Therapy for posterity.

Pschiatrist Norman E. Zinberg of Harvard University recently showed a videotape of himself interviewing a patient to a conference of several hundred people. Almost all of them, he says, wanted more depth from the interview and believed the would have done a better job. This ego-thumping experience got him to thinking: What is the difference between psychotherapy behind closed doors and therapy open to inspection?

The awareness that an interview will be seen or heard by others, notes Zinberg in the August AMERICAN JOURNAL OF PSYCHIATRY, tends to shift a therapist's focus from the patient to a concern about how the session will look to an audience. The suspension of ordinary social rules that takes place in therapy can be sidetracked, he says, if the potentially public nature of the situation provokes defensiveness in the patient and therapist. Even in group therapy, videotaping can be intrusive and disorienting, notes Zinberg.

Taped interviews, he observes, are approximations of the "real thing." To assume that public and private interviews are the same, says Zinberg, "would sharply reduce the value of taping as a teaching device and would invalidate it for research purposes."
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Title Annotation:implications of videotaping psychotherapy sessions
Publication:Science News
Date:Aug 24, 1985
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