The Virtual Couch: a Curriculum on the Question of the Fundamentals of Remote Psychotherapy—Pilot Study

Julia Shekunov, Cosima Swintak, Kristin Somers, Bhanuprakash (Bhanu) Kolla, Anne Ruble, Seamus Bhatt-Mackin, David Topor, Aimee Murray, Magdalena Romanowicz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: With a rise in remote clinical practice related to the COVID-19 pandemic, a novel remote psychotherapy curriculum was presented to psychiatry residents and fellows to address the urgent need to teach trainees how to adapt traditional psychotherapy skills to telepsychiatry settings. Methods: Trainees completed a survey before and after receiving the curriculum to assess remote psychotherapy skills and areas for growth. Results: Eighteen trainees (24% fellows, 77% residents) completed the pre-curriculum survey, and 28 trainees (26% fellows, 74% residents) completed the post-curriculum survey. Thirty-five percent of pre-curriculum participants indicated no experience with remote psychotherapy. Technology (24%) and patient engagement (29%) were identified as the greatest challenges in providing teletherapy pre-curriculum. Content related to patient care (69%) and technology (31%) was of most interest to pre-curriculum participants and identified as most helpful post-curriculum (53% and 26%, respectively). After receiving the curriculum, most trainees planned to make internal, provider-related changes to their remote teletherapy practice. Conclusions: The remote psychotherapy curriculum was well received by psychiatry trainees who had limited experience with remote clinical practice prior to the pandemic.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)52-56
Number of pages5
JournalAcademic Psychiatry
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 2024


  • Curriculum
  • Psychotherapy
  • Telehealth
  • Telepsychiatry
  • Virtual

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Education


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