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The Efficacy of Online Therapy Groups – Part 1

This two-part article explains what online therapy groups are, what conditions/issues can be treated in online therapy groups, and some of the online therapy benefits.

What is Online Therapy?

There is little published research on the efficacy of online therapy groups, but inferences can be made using previous studies completed on the efficacy of both online therapy and group therapy, which have both been proven to be effective forms of mental health treatment. They can be used to minimize feelings of anxiety and depression, fear, guilt, and other mental health issues but should not be used as a replacement medication regimen or ongoing psychiatric care.

Online Therapy Platforms

Online therapy groups are relatively new to the world of mental health treatment and are quickly rising in popularity. They involve a group of people seeking out therapy pairing with a mental health professional who acts as the group facilitator and aids in the treatment of the patients coming together in an online setting rather than a physical one. Online therapy platforms include video-chatting services, online calls, chat rooms discussions, and e-mail, though certain groups may choose to use a different platform.

Online Therapy Sessions

Before committing to online therapy, some considerations should be reviewed. As with the majority of the interspace, confidentiality cannot be 100% guaranteed. Though platform breaches are rare, privacy and confidentiality are remaining factors that need to be contemplated before engaging in online therapy.

An additional issue with technology is that it is not always dependable, which many of us have learned the hard way in this era of Zoom meetings. Whether it is a device or network failure on either party’s side, it can negatively impact online therapy sessions. These latter issues are ones that can be easily remedied by re-scheduling.

Perhaps the most important caution to consider is more limited crisis care for those with more acute conditions. If a patient were to go into crisis, receiving care is much easier while undergoing in-person treatment when compared to online treatment options. When choosing the best online therapy solution for you, be sure to address any of the above-mentioned scenarios if they apply to you.

Online Therapy Benefits

There are many online therapy benefits. This service is accessible, convenient, affordable, and effective. This is why it is one of the fastest growing areas of therapy worldwide. COVID-19 has created an additional layer of people in search of mental health services as they continue to cope with stress, anxiety, isolation, uncertainty, and varying degrees of depression.

This has generated a high demand for affordable online therapy. With hundreds of online therapy businesses popping up seemingly every day, it is important to err on the side of caution and research your options before committing. Ensure that the platform being used is as secure as possible and that sessions are with a registered or licensed mental health professional, not an entrepreneur or technology expert.

References

• Chakrabarti, Subho. “Usefulness of Telepsychiatry: A Critical Evaluation of Videoconferencing-Based Approaches.” World Journal of Psychiatry, Baishideng Publishing Group Inc., 22 Sept. 2015, www.wjgnet.com/2220-3206/full/v5/i3/286.htm.
• Cherry, Kendra. “What Is Online Therapy?” Verywell Mind, 5 Oct. 2020, www.verywellmind.com/what-is-online-therapy-2795752#citation-1.
• “Efficacy of Group Psychotherapy for Post traumatic Stress Disorder: Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials.” Taylor & Francis, www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/10503307.2017.1405168.
• Khan, Nadia. “What Is Group Therapy and How Effective Is It?” BetterHelp, BetterHelp, 14 Apr. 2017, www.betterhelp.com/advice/therapy/what-is-group-therapy-and-how-effective-is-it/.
• Miller, Anna Medaris. “Online Therapy Is in High Demand as Coronavirus Anxiety Drives People to Get Help without Leaving Their Homes.” Business Insider, Business Insider, 5 Mar. 2020, www.businessinsider.com/coronavirus-anxiety-leading-people-to-online-therapy-2020-3.
• Orenstein, Beth W., et al. “6 Benefits of Group Therapy for Mental Health Treatment: Everyday Health.” EverydayHealth.com,
www.everydayhealth.com/news/benefits-group-therapy-mental-health-treatment/
• Renn, Brenna N., et al. “Preference for in-Person Psychotherapy versus
Digital Psychotherapy Options for Depression: Survey of Adults in the U.S.” Nature News, Nature Publishing Group, 11 Feb. 2019, www.nature.com/articles/s41746-019-0077-1.
• Tavares, L.R., and M.R. Barbosa. “Efficacy of Group Psychotherapy for Geriatric Depression: A Systematic Review.” Archives of Gerontology and Geriatrics, Elsevier, 18 June 2018, www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0167494318301158.
• Zanden1, Rianne van der, et al. “Effectiveness of an Online Group Course for Depression in Adolescents and Young Adults: A Randomized Trial.” Journal of Medical Internet Research, JMIR Publications Inc., Toronto, Canada, www.jmir.org/2012/3/e86.

By Hilarapy Editorial Staff. Hilarapy is a leading comedy therapy organization. For more information on how comedy therapy can help you or someone you know, go to hilarapy.com

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