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Online Group Psychotherapy: Theoretical, Practical and Legal Considerations

Online Course Materials:    AudiosVideos   ArticlesArticles   

All materials are available as audios with transcripts.

Developed by Haim Weinberg, Ph.D.

General Course Description

Online group therapy is already here! If you are leading groups and want to go online, or if you are leading online groups and want to learn more about online group dynamics, how to overcome the “screen barrier”, and how to avoid legal complications and common mistakes while leading a therapy group on the Internet – this is the course for you.

This is an introductory course about online group therapy. It includes a two-hour audio recording by Dr. Haim Weinberg, an internationally renowned group therapist and an expert in online groups, who co-edited the book Theory and Practice of Online Therapy. The course identifies the legal and ethical considerations in doing online groups, describes two forms of those groups (synchronic, through video, and a-synchronic, through text and email), relates to group dynamics on Internet forums, and thoroughly analyses the main difficulties in leading online groups: the problem with the setting, the disembodied environment, the question of presence, and ignoring the background. Practical advice is given regarding how to overcome these obstacles. Clinical vignettes are included to enrich the learning experience. A sample Online Group Therapy Agreement and references are provided, but they not part of the course. Transcript is provided for the audio.

Educational Objectives

This course will teach psychotherapists to

  • Apply ethical considerations to leading online groups.
  • Compare online and face-to-face group therapy.
  • Explain the dynamics of online groups delivered through Internet forums.
  • Describe the obstacles that exist in leading online therapy groups.

References:

  • Andersson, G. (2018). Internet interventions: Past, present and future. Internet interventions, 12: 181-188.
  • Trub, L. & Magaldi, D (2017) Left to Our Own Devices, Psychoanalytic Perspectives, 14:2, 219-236.
  • Simpson, S.G. and Reid, C.L. (2014). Therapeutic alliance in videoconferencing psychotherapy: A review. Australian Journal of Rural Health, 22: 280–299.
  • Weinberg, H. (2020). Online GROUP therapy – in search of a new theory? In H. Weinberg & A. Rolnick (eds.) Theory and Practice of Online Therapy: Internet-delivered Interventions for Individuals, Families, Groups, and Organizations. pp: 172-184. New York: Routledge.

Course Syllabus:

  • Legal and ethical issues
    • Risks and benefits
    • Confidentiality
    • Therapy across State boundaries
    • HIPPA
  • Pre-requirements for leading online groups
  • Preparing for online groups
    • Screening and selection
  • Research findings about the outcome of online groups
  • Online Intimacy
  • Main obstacles in online groups
    • Losing control of the setting
    • The disembodied group
    • The question of presence
      • The use of the self to increase presence
      • The group therapist dynamic administration
    • Ignoring the background
      • When communication fails
  • The online group agreement
    • Additional items for online groups
    • Outside the group communication
  • Tips and practical recommendations
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Cost: $19.00

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