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

Psychotherapist and New York Times bestselling author Esther Perel is recognized as one of today’s most insightful and original voices on modern relationships. Fluent in nine languages, she helms a therapy practice in New York City and serves as an organizational consultant for Fortune 500 companies around the world. Her celebrated TED talks have garnered more than 40 million views and her international bestseller Mating in Captivity: Unlocking Erotic Intelligence became a global phenomenon translated into more than 30 languages. Her newest book is the New York Times bestseller The State of Affairs: Rethinking Infidelity (HarperCollins). She is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, an AASECT certified sex therapist, a member of the American Family Therapy Academy and of the Society for Sex Therapy and Research. Esther is also the host of the hit podcast “Where Should We Begin?” which is available on Apple Podcasts. Her latest project is “Where Should We Begin – A Game of Stories with Esther Perel.” Learn more at