Therapists at Strong Recovery have been sharing their perspectives on videoconferencing group therapy.
They have been glad to be able to hold groups again in spite of COVID-19 and pleased with how the process has gone online:
"Group was great for me, I really appreciate being able to do that over the internet. I didn’t think it would work as well as it did but it was very effective for me. I was looking forward to it this week and it was just as good as the first week. It is nice to be with people, meditate together, all that stuff, it is very effective. It is helping me stay on my game."
"It's personally given me a boost, and is something that I especially look forward to each week so that I can actually see my patients. I've truly missed the physical contact so this has been helpful. I use a lot of non-verbal clues in my communication so it has been nice to be able to return to that in group."
They have observed that the format opens up new opportunities for sharing and discussion of coping strategies:
"Overall I have had a positive experience with [video-based] groups. It has offered the ability for patients to share their homes and personal belongings in a different way than in person groups. For example, talking about coping skills and sober activities in group this week, members began showing each other their art projects and belongings that they utilize at home. Patients have also shown me photographs and books and this has led to some great therapeutic moments! We also have some furry four legged friends join group as well!"
"Patients are engaging in coping strategies during group (time with pets, fidget toys, coloring). This provides the facilitator a great opportunity to provide in the moment feedback about coping skills and I think helps people stay engaged in the group."
"My patients are spontaneously sharing things that they are proud of—a painting, a home project, a book—and able to receive positive feedback from others. This happened much more rarely [with] in-person groups."
Therapists have seen supportive connections forged, including in groups for adolescents and young adults:
"We had 3 young ladies attend and they were SO supportive of each other. It actually worked out perfectly that they were the only 3 in the group. They really seemed to connect with one another. 2 of the 3 are active in AA and the 3rd member was very interested in learning about AA/NA zoom meetings, so they shared their experiences and helped point her in the direction she was looking to go. The group really ran itself actually. They even swapped coping skills with one another. One girl writes her 'takeaways' from AA meetings and books that she reads on index cards and puts them in her bedroom where she can see them. I was very impressed!"