Louise Coughlin Pyschologist at York Clinic

“We human beings are social beings. We come into the world as the result of others’ actions. We survive here in dependence on others. Whether we like it or not, there is hardly a moment of our lives when we do not benefit from others’ activities. For this reason, it is hardly surprising that most of our happiness arises in the context of our relationship with others” Dalai Lama

The last 7 months have been a challenge for everyone. The measures put in place to restrict the spread of covid 19 have restricted our social interactions and left many feeling isolated.  Even those that enthusiastically took to zoom to meet ‘virtually’ with family, friends and colleagues soon discovered that whilst it was better than no contact,  online connection is not the same as in-person meet ups.

We know that human beings are social beings, studies have shown that contact with others can reduce the levels of cortisol (commonly known as the ‘stress hormone’) in an individual’s nervous system.  Indeed low levels of face-to-face contact can double levels of depression. (1) 

Human presence and contact also contributes to healthy levels of the neurotransmitter dopamine in an individual’s system. This can contribute to increased motivation and energy, as well as coordinating functions within many higher brain regions, and can decrease chronic anxiety states through activation of the attachment system. (2) 

Whilst many of York Clinic’s therapists moved their consultations online during lockdown they are relieved to be offering covid secure face to face consultations once again.

Louise Coughlin Psychologist at York Clinic found 

“clients who changed from face to face therapy to online therapy in light of lockdown progressed as well as I would have expected if we had carried on in the clinic. Also new clients who started online also seemed to benefit. The main difference for me was being able to get a sense of body language and what this might be showing that the client might not be saying. In the clinic I can ask about this and be able to explore this more, this is not always so easy online.”

Simon Baverstock


Simon Baverstock, Psychotherapist at York Clinic realised 

“I could adapt my face to face psychotherapy skills to video and telephone communication methods, though as months and the summer in lockdown passed I felt increasingly exhausted by technological pseudo-contact.

 Some clients’ therapeutic journeys require authentic person to person contact to provide depth to their reparative experience. We are, after all, relational creatures.  Our characters are formed in relationship and can be reformed in relationship. There is an energy present in face to face meetings that is absent from video working and subtle nuances of body language are not captured by a head and shoulders view of the online practitioner and client.”

We are all glad to be working face to face once more facilitated by increased ventilation, distance between client and therapist chairs and other practical Covid safeguards.

For more information on the safety measures in place at York Clinic take a look here

To find out more about the talking therapists at York Clinic take a look at our website where you will also find details of how you can contact them directly to book an appointment. 



(1) Hart, S. (2008). Brain, Attachment, Personality: An Introduction to Neuroaffective Development. London: Karnac

(2) (PDF) The quality, safety and content of telephone and face-to-face consultations: A comparative study



“Doing What Matters in Times of Stress” (WHO publication Pdf)  with permission to share from the author  https://www.who.int/publications/i/item/9789240003927