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Online Psychotherapy and Groups: The Wave of the Future

More and more people are looking to the Internet for help of all kinds, including issues related to health and well-being.  There are many barriers faced when seeking psychological help. Working online reduces travel hassles and time, potential parking challenges, childcare issues, and provides access for those with mobility difficulties.

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Online psychotherapy or telemental health has taken off parallel to the rise in telemedicine. Providing psychotherapy through live interactive videoconferencing has been found to be an effective way of providing mental health services to those in rural or underserved areas, and also for specialty areas of mental health (Novins DK, Weaver J, Shore J (2008).  It’s estimated that over 75% of homes in the US have a computer.

Therapists need to pay close attention to several differences in Internet based therapy. Therapists need to have a specific consent for online services, either verbal or written, depending on their state licensure regulations.  Screening tools (for example for depression or anxiety) can be used if transmitted on a confidential, secure server. Most email is not secure.

While the laws are rapidly changing to recognize the popularity and utility of online work, most states require that therapists and psychologists work with clients in their state of licensure. An emergency plan including emergency contacts should always be in place. A plan for confidentiality should be discussed, incase someone enters the client’s space while in the therapy session. Payment, billing and professional charts need to be discussed and maintained just as in a regular office.

A wonderful advantage of working online is the ease of doing group work.  The Internet expands the range of participants from out of the immediate neighborhood. Participants can all see each other as well as the group leader.  This broadens the therapists’ reac, and brings help right into the participant’s home.

The American Psychological Association has Guidelines for the Practice of Telepsychology and contains helpful information.  Other resources for education in the field of telemental health can be found at:

TeleMental Health Institute

Zur Institute

Telemental Health Guide

I’ve been working with Regroup Therapy as Director of Women’s Health.  Regroup is a web based HIPPA compliant web platform specifically designed and created for individual and group psychotherapy.  It’s an easy to use platform that doesn’t require downloading software onto your computer.  Scheduling and payment are also integrated, and tech support is available if needed.

Working online is a choice both for the provider and the client as well.  Those who do work online report a high level of satisfaction.

Pec Indman EdD, MFT is an internationally recognized expert in the field of maternal mental health. She is the Director of Women’s Health for Regroup Therapy, an online provider of mental health services. A former family practice Physician Assistant with a Master’s Degree in Health Psychology and a Doctorate in Marital and Family Therapy, she has been a practicing psychotherapist in San Jose, California for over 23 years, specializing in Women’s Mental Health. The former Chair of the Education and Training Committee for Postpartum Support International, Pec has been creating curriculum and teaching internationally and throughout the US. She is a certified trainer for Postpartum Support International and has been an invited participant for projects and programs for the National Institute of Mental Health and the Department of Maternal Child Health Bureau, HRSA.

In 2002 she co-authored the award-winning book, Beyond the Blues, Understanding and Treating Prenatal and Postpartum Depression & Anxiety. The book has been updated several times, the most recent edition in 2010. She is also the co-editor of Postpartum Support International’s DVD, Happy Mom, Healthy Family. She has been interviewed by lay and professional magazines as well as on TV.

To keep current, Pec is an active member of three organizations dedicated specifically to women’s mental health, and attends one to two international conferences each year.

Pec Indman EdD, MFT

1475 Saratoga Ave. #140

San Jose, CA 95129



current trends, MFT, online therapy, Pec Indman EdD, psychotherapy, telemedicine, therapist

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