In a digitized world, it is considered normal and common to want to integrate our technology into our everyday life. After all, 6.6 billion people now have a smartphone and we tend to conduct every area of our daily living via our device – shopping, banking, socialising, and yes, you guessed it, even therapy.
In my practise, smart technology and the internet allow me to connect with people around the world, day or night, with location being no boundary to great therapy.
You can read more about therapy on subscription and how this integrates with technology here.
But when I am asked if individual tech can be brought into the therapy session, such as a recording device, a boundary is set.
Let’s explore this together.
Why do clients want to record sessions?
There could be a myriad of reasons you wish to record our sessions together, whether it be an audio or video. Some of these are:
- Emotional distance / disconnect. You may feel more in control and emotionally stable if you know you are being recorded.
- Proof. This is especially true in couples’ sessions. You may want to catch your partner saying something on audio and hold them to it later, or use it as proof in divorce or family proceedings. You may also want to use it as proof that I have said something, out of fear or distrust in me as the therapist.
- Listen back later. You may want to reflect on the session in your own time by listening back on what was said.
All of these reasons are understandable. But they also hinder the therapy process. So let’s now address why recording a session on your device is not appropriate.
As a therapist I am duty bound to uphold confidentiality. I make and keep meticulous files and protect your data in accordance with the standard of ethics that underpins my practise. Once you make an audio or video recording of our session, confidentiality is compromised. I have no control over what happens to that file, and it could end up in the wrong hands. You may ask – “If I’m talking about myself, surely confidentiality doesn’t matter if I’m comfortable having the audio?”. But it doesn’t work like that. In therapy, we talk about much more than just you – we talk about your family, relationships, background, traumas – lots of names and dates and personal information is shared and I would never want this information compromised.
Abuse / blackmail and manipulation
If you are in a couples’ session, one of you might record the session to then use against the other party. Let’s explore an example of this. Let’s say Chris and Joe are in therapy talking about a diminished sex life. Chris records the conversation initially with the intention of listening to it with Joe later on as a reflection exercise. Joe admits he has had an affair with his boss, Kevin, who is married to a woman. In desperation and pain, Chris then threatens to send the therapy recording to Kevin’s wife, thus ‘outing’ Kevin, humiliating Chris and sabotaging their careers.
Dangerous stuff, right?
As a side note, it is often a red flag when a person wants to record their partner in any context – not just therapy. It is better that this temptation is explored, and not entertained or encouraged.
Lack of authenticity
What happens in the room, and in the moment, between a therapist and client is important in achieving good therapy outcomes. A recording device between me and you will only serve as an emotional barrier. You may not say everything you wish to say because the recording device is present. The therapy room is a safe space and you should not feel monitored or controlled by a device.
Reflections are good – But not like that
You may want to listen to our session back at a later date for reflection purposes. This shows a real motivation to positive change. While reflection is good and encouraged, this method can be dangerous. Listening to our therapy outside of the context of the session can lead to misinterpretation, or an overreliance on something I have said. It is best that we stick to communicating in person, directly, in specified time slots. If you wish to make notes, you can do, and this will help you reflect. Alternatively, if you have a therapy subscription, you can contact me after the session to reflect together.
Getting the support you need
We can also go for a walk.
Whichever help and support you need, my pledge to you is consistent.
Book a free 15 minute conversation, which is all you need to begin your journey. We will talk about where you are now, where you want to be, and how I can help you get there.