Symposium Highlight

VIDEO: Esther Perel on Our Shared Trauma

Navigating the "Parallel Process" Covid-19 Has Created

Covid-19 has created a situation that’s a little like the beginning of a horror film, says couples therapist and bestselling author Esther Perel: the set has been prepared, the characters are in position, and everyone’s anxiously waiting for the worst to come. Phrased differently, this is “anticipatory trauma,” she says, and everyone’s affected.

So, do you talk about this “parallel process” with your clients? If so, where do you start? And how much do you share about your own experience? In this clip from her 2020 Virtual Symposium talk, Perel explains how she’s navigating this new reality.

In her Networker article in Couples Under Quarantine, Perel advises that therapists see what’s taking place as both loss and opportunity—”Loss in our daily habits, our clinical practices, the way we’ve conceptualized life, the way we’ve related to the people around us till now.” But, she continues, “there’s also opportunity—opportunity to have conversations we’ve never had, to say things to the people who are close to us we’ve been meaning to say and never have, to take care of ourselves and others in ways we’ve never considered before.”


Esther Perel

Longtime contributor and speaker at the Psychotherapy Networker Symposium, Esther Perel, MA, LMFT, is recognized as one of the most insightful and provocative voices on personal and professional relationships and the complex science behind human interaction. She is the best-selling author of Mating in Captivity: Unlocking Erotic Intelligence (translated into 25 languages) and producer of the online training continuation, Rekindling Desire. Fluent in nine languages, the Belgian native is a practicing psychotherapist, celebrated speaker and organization consultant to Fortune 500 companies. The New York Times, in a cover story, named her the most important game changer on sexuality and relationships since Dr. Ruth. Her critically acclaimed viral TED Talks have collectively reached over 14 million viewers. For more information about her educational programs and resources, please visit