Hannah Zeavin - Questioning the Moral Panic Around Teletherapy

04.28.2021 - By Mad in America: Rethinking Mental Health

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Hannah Zeavin is a leading scholar investigating how mediated communications and technology impact our intimate relations. Her most recent work tackles teletherapy and digital mental health communications, which have seen a boon throughout the pandemic. Zeavin is a Lecturer in the Departments of English and History at the University of California, Berkeley, and affiliated with the Berkeley Center for Science, Technology, Medicine, and Society. Zeavin is also a visiting fellow at the Columbia University Center for the Study of Social Difference. She received her Ph.D. from the Department of Media, Culture, and Communication at NYU in 2018. Her first book, The Distance Cure: A History of Teletherapy, will be published by MIT Press this summer. Zeavin serves as an editorial associate and author for numerous publications, including the Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association. She is also a co-founder of The Science, Technology, and Society Futures Initiative. In this interview, she discusses her upcoming books and all things mediated communication, teletherapy, and technology. Zeavin approaches human relationality, including therapy, from the perspectives of literature and media studies. She explores the history of psychoanalysis and other forms of therapy, garnering fresh insights into our relationship with technology and each other–without the usual moral tenor of psychologists. She also draws upon her research to discuss how care may take unexpected forms through technologies, enabling distanced intimacy and social change that transcends the psychology of the individual. We close by addressing the feminization of care labor, care as a cover for capture and control, and shifts in how we understand care, now and in the future.

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