Symposium Highlight

VIDEO: Love in Lockdown

Esther Perel Shares the Trends She's Been Seeing with Her Clients

Social anthropologists are calling the massive wave of COVID-related quarantining one of the largest social experiments of the modern day. And few people are working as intimately with those in lockdown as therapists. So, what patterns are they seeing, and what can we learn from them?

When it comes to love in the age of coronavirus, couples therapist and bestselling author Esther Perel says she’s noticing several trends—new dynamics in many types of relationships, including single individuals dating online, newlyweds, aspiring parents, and partners on the brink of divorce.

Here, she shares their stories and explains what they signal about doing our best work with couples.

As Perel notes, we don’t need to reinvent the wheel when it comes to doing therapy with couples in quarantine. But the virus’s impact on romantic relationships just goes to show that we can’t do counseling in a vacuum—it’s more important now than ever, she says, to take into account the social, political, and economic forces at work outside the consulting room.

“We can still keep the clinical focus that’s our primary tool,” Perel writes in this Networker article, “whether it’s attachment theory or neuroscience or however else we’ve been trained, as long as we view it within a wider perspective.”


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