- Aimee Burke Valeras, PhD, LICSW, Faculty and Behavioral Health Clinician, NH Dartmouth Family Medicine Residency and Concord Hospital Family Health Center, Concord, NH
The Covid-19 pandemic illuminated how significantly psychological and physical health is impacted by social isolation and loneliness. “Alone, Together” is weekly group therapy for older women delivered via Zoom. This presentation is co-created by the two group therapists and six of the patient participants to describe the evolution of the “Alone, Together” intervention for this socially isolated health-compromised female population. Presenters will provide an overview of what group therapy is, the pros and cons of group versus individual therapy and open versus closed groups, the co-therapists’ roles, and will share Zoom rules, group norms, session format, and documentation and billing details. Evaluative data includes demographics of participants, attendance patterns, qualitative synopsis of themes that emerged, and patient feedback. An important and unique outcome of this ongoing therapeutic group is the way the patients self-describe the way they became empowered in their relationship and communication with their physicians, including the creation of a powerful poem entitled, “How to talk to your Doctor about Pain”, which was (at their request) used in a transformative narrative exercise with family medicine resident physicians. Participants in this talk will be led through a similar narrative process with this poem, and will be engaged in discussion about how the lessons learned of this telehealth group therapy approach might translate to other locations or populations and increase access to socialization and mental health support.
- Understand how group therapy differs from individual therapy, and why this mode of therapy makes sense during the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Explore the pros and cons of telemedicine for therapy, and the potential of this engagement on access to care.
- Consider how telemedicine group therapy might apply to different populations and conditions to address patient unmet healthcare or psychosocial need