Group Therapy via Zoom
The Counseling Center uses encrypted and HIPAA-compliant Zoom for all services, including group.
The same behaviors that make in-person group therapy beneficial are still applicable to online group therapy: focusing on feelings (yours and others), maintaining confidentiality, respecting privacy, abstaining from alcohol and other substances prior to group, and attending regularly/informing group leaders when you are unable to make it to the group.
Challenges associated with participating in an online group are easily addressed through planning and commitment:
- Attend group using a screen large enough to fit all members. Cell phone screens are typically too small to accommodate the entire group so it’s better to use a computer or tablet.
- Make sure gallery view is on so you can see everyone. Your video needs to be on and, to try and create as natural a setting as possible, do not use virtual backgrounds.
- Please silence text, email, and other notifications prior to the start of the group in order to reduce distractions for you and other group members.
- Take steps to reduce other distractions as well so you can give your undivided attention
to the group.
- Close tabs in your web browser
- Silence or put your phone away
- Set aside homework/work
- Help animals settle down (to the extent possible) prior to joining group
- Please wear headphones during the group. This protects against group discussion from being accidentally overheard by anyone not in the group.
- Depending on your facilitator you may be asked to mute yourself when you’re not speaking to cut down on background noise and static.
- Please make sure you are in a private and secure location that will not be interrupted by roommates on the way to the kitchen, family members, children, animals, or pedestrian traffic outside.
- We want this to be similar to our in-person group experiences. Dress as you would for school or work, and try to avoid engaging in behaviors (e.g., walking around) that you wouldn’t be able to do in our in-person groups.
- Try and sit in such a way that your face is clearly visible and well-lighted. Make sure you are able to stay comfortable in the same spot for the duration of the group.
- Have your back facing a wall. This ensures privacy of the group and keeps the other members unseen in case someone walks into the space where you’re on Zoom.
- Never share the group Zoom invite with non-members and remember that non-members cannot join or sit in on a group session.
- Never record or screenshot a group session.
- Use Zoom’s chat function only to provide the group leaders any of the following information:
- In the event of an emergency;
- To address technical issues;
- Location, phone number, emergency contact person if any of this information is different than what is on your informed consent
- Note that chat has been enabled only for communication between members and hosts.
If there are technical issues and you lose connection or are unable to reconnect, a group facilitator will follow-up with you via email after the session to check-in. If a facilitator has cause to believe that your disconnection is due to a critical situation (e.g., threat of harm to yourself or others) the facilitator may opt to immediately contact the authorities and provide them your location.