Online Therapy in a Shared Reality: The Novel Coronavirus as a Test Case

Orit Nuttman-Shwartz, Keren Shaul

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


When the novel coronavirus began to spread, many countries mandated lockdowns, quarantines, and social distancing, posing a threat to both clients and therapists and perhaps representing a “shared traumaticreality” (STR). Simultaneously, many mental health professionals moved to “online therapy,” amode that might increase the sense of having a shared reality. This study aimed to examine the extent towhich therapists consider the pandemic an STR and the associations among helping professionals’ sociodemographicand professional profiles, their perceptions of STR, their attitudes toward psychologicalonline interventions (POI), and their satisfaction using such interventions. A total of 150 therapists completedan online Google Forms survey between April 17 and May 6, 2020, before therapists returned totheir workplaces. The survey included questionnaires about STR and about attitudes toward and satisfactionwith online therapy. Participants perceived the pandemic as an STR, particularly in the traumadimension. The newly developed index of “shared concerns” showed that this perception was mainly aresult of financial and health concerns. The satisfaction of using POI depended on participants’ attitudestoward online therapy. The more experience therapists had, the less they perceived the current situationas an STR. This study, extending the theoretical concept of STR via the newly developed index, recommendsthat pandemics be included within the typology of shared traumatic events.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)365-374
Number of pages10
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • Covid-19
  • Psychological online therapy
  • Shared traumatic reality
  • Trauma exposure

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nursing (all)
  • Emergency Medicine
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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