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

2 Scopus citations


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 - Jun 26 2023

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Aimee Murray receives grant support from the National Institute of Health (NIH), and the Stanley Medical Research Institute. She also has received speaking honoraria from the Veterans Administration and the Minnesota Community Care Education Program. The remaining authors declare no conflicts of interest. Contents do not represent the views of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs or the United States Government.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023, This is a U.S. Government work and not under copyright protection in the US; foreign copyright protection may apply 2023 .


  • Curriculum
  • Psychotherapy
  • Telehealth
  • Telepsychiatry
  • Virtual

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article


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