In the current era of information technology and social media, immediacy of response and outcome seem to dominate the way we relate to the world. We are much more readily connected through social media and communication technologies. Information is so much more accessible through the internet resources and application tools. What do relationships and relationship building look like in such a time? There is a growing research in psychology and cultural studies in this field, though the research is still young and developing. With all its good and bad, the technology culture we currently live in shape how we behave, and even how we think and perceive the world. It is also up for research to explore if this technology also shapes our moods and intimate relationships as well.
After my previous post about trust and courage that are necessary in the process of seeking help, I pondered upon how our current culture of fast paced response expectations, which we have become used to, might impact the trust building through relationship building in the therapy room. As I have mentioned earlier, trust is built over time as the relationship provides constancy over time. However, if we are used to obtaining what we seek for in a quick instance and with such ease, as many of the social media and information technology tools can provide lately, taking several days, weeks and even months to obtain this trust and relationship might seem too slow and too much of an effort. This would feel especially so if one is needing to find relief from emotional and psychological problems that is disrupting one’s life. The question is then, can trust or relationship be built immediately? If so, how?
There is a simple and a complex answer to this. I shall discuss only the simple one here, in the interest of brevity and in honoring the instant gratification we have become used to through our technological culture. However, if you are interested in discussing the complex answer, feel free to contact me directly via the contact form in the About Me page of this blog site or post a comment below.
The simple answer is yes. Some level of trust and relationship can be built immediately, if there is a follow up afterwards. Technology has allowed some of this to happen. If one is saavy enough, there is a lot of information that one can quickly look up over the internet to help one get an overview sense of a particular person, such as the therapist. This blog site is one such example, as well as my professional website, my profile on Psychology Today directory listing, et cetera. Although looking at somebody’s information on the web hardly can be called building a relationship, it is relevant to building one. When one reads about a person, one starts to process and make sense of what one feels about this person. Is this person relevant to what you are looking for? Is this person similar to or different from you or what you are expecting in any way? In such filtering and making sense of, one is relating to the person in an abstract way, with the understanding and perceptions of the information made available. This is where the follow up has to happen to build the relationship, and to affirm the trust. An abstract trust and association to the person can only be made real through real human interactions that take place in real time, where one can experience the true support and empathy of another human being. Ultimately, it is in the relationship that one can allow for trust, safety and courage to grow. This means one doesn’t just pass by the relationship, but one has to step into it. One has to slow down and stay a little, just as you, the reader of this blog have done. You didn’t just pass by this post heading. You stayed to read until the end of this post. Kudos!