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The Distance Cure: A History of Teletherapy

Sunday, July 25, 2021
2:00pm Pacific Time
KQED Broadcast: 07/25/2021, 07/27/2021, 07/28/2021

We've made a recording of this event free to all. Please support our institution and these productions by making a tax-deductible contribution.

Therapy has long understood itself as taking place in a room, with two (or more) people engaged in person-to-person conversation. And yet, starting with Freud’s treatments by mail, psychotherapy has operated through multiple communication technologies and media, including advice columns, radio broadcasts, crisis hotlines, video, personal computers, and mobile phones. In The Distance Cure, Hannah Zeavin tracks the history of teletherapy (understood as a therapeutic interaction over distance) and its metamorphosis from a model of cure to one of contingent help. From its initial use in ongoing care, its role in crisis intervention and symptom management, to our pandemic-mandated reliance on regular Zoom sessions.

Hannah Zeavin is a Lecturer in the Departments of English and History at the University of California, Berkeley, and is affiliated with the University of California, Berkeley, Center for Science, Technology, Medicine, and Society. She is a Visiting Fellow at Columbia University’s Center for Social Difference and Editorial Associate at The Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in American Imagodifferences: A Journal of Feminist Cultural Studies, the Los Angeles Review of BooksReal Life MagazineSlate, and elsewhere.

Adam Savage is an industrial special effects designer and former co-host of The Discovery Channel’s Mythbusters with Jamie Hyneman. Today, Savage hosts and executive produces MythBusters Jr. as well as Savage Builds on the Science Channel. He also stars in and produces content for his website and co-hosts the podcast Still Untitled: The Adam Savage Project.