Continuous Online Group (COG)

AGPA is pleased to announce a Continuous Online Group to be held in conjunction with its 2017 Annual Meeting.

The task of this group is to provide experience with and learning about online large group dynamics. As indicated by its name, it will stay open "24/7" and its members will interact electronically. This year will focus on online group dynamics.  One unique feature of online groups is eliminating the need to be in the same place at the same time, and this group will begin before and end after the Annual Meeting, will be open to individuals who do not go to New York City, and will not preclude attending any other Annual Meeting event.  No in-person meetings for this group will convene.  As in other online groups, posted messages will automatically be recorded and made available.  Interactions are not real-time and are recorded.  

This event will consist of two phases:
•    an experiential phase March 2-13, and
•    a review and application phase March 14-15.

During the review and application phase, the group will reflect on and try to understand the experiential phase and compare the dynamics of this group with those of other groups, both online and face-to-face. Participants are required to complete the online evaluation, which will be emailed at the completion of the second phase, and will be awarded six CE credits.

Learning Objectives:
The attendee will be able to:
1. Describe the experience of being a member of an online group.
2. Describe the effects of communicating in writing rather than by speaking.
3. Describe the effects of having a transcript available.
4. Describe the effects of interacting asynchronously rather than in "real" time.
5. Describe the effects of having an explicit "preview" step in the posting process.
6. Describe the effects of meeting annually rather than more frequently.
7. Describe the dynamics of an online group.

Course References:
1. Bernard, H.S., West, K.L., Agazarian, Y.M., Carter, F.B., Carr, W., Gabelnick, F., & Lawrence, W.G. (Dec 1993). Special issue: The large group. Group, 17(4), 195-266.
2. Griffiths, K.M., Calear, A.L., & Banfield, M. (2009). Systematic review on Internet support groups (ISGs) and depression (1): Do ISGs reduce depressive symptoms? Journal of Medical Internet Research, 11(3), e40.
3. Griffiths, K.M., Calear, A.L., Banfield, M., Tam, A. (2009). Systematic review on Internet support groups (ISGs) and depression (2): What is known about depression ISGs? Journal of Medical Internet Research, 11(3), e41.
4. Hsiung, R.C. (2000). The best of both worlds: An online self-help group hosted by a mental health professional. CyberPsychology & Behavior, 3(6), 935-950.
5. Weinberg, H. (2001). Group process and group phenomena on the Internet. International Journal of Group Psychotherapy, 51(3), 361-378.

To register, use the meeting registration form and check the Continuous Online Group box. Registrants for the 2017 Annual Meeting will not be charged. For those not attending the 2017 Meeting, the registration fee for the COG is $90 for members and $180 for non-members.

The co-leaders will be:
Robert Hsiung, MD, a psychiatrist in private practice; a co-founder and past president of the International Society for Mental Health Online; the editor of E-Therapy: Case Studies, Guiding Principles, and the Clinical Potential of the Internet (Norton, 2002); and the founder of Psycho-Babble, a large public online peer support group.

Jeffrey D. Roth, MD, CGP, FAGPA,
an addiction psychiatrist; a director of Group Relations Conferences for the A. K. Rice Institute and a past director of Virtual Large Study Groups for an international consortium of group relations organizations; a past president of the Chicago Center for the Study of Groups and Organizations; the editor of the Journal of Groups in Addiction and Recovery; and the medical director of WorkingSobriety.com.

Vincenzo Sinisi, MA, CGP,
a psychoanalyst, group-analyst, and clinical psychologist in private practice; a faculty member and supervisor at the Center for Group Analytic Studies Cape Town; a founding member of the Johannesburg Group Analytic Group; a past chair of the Cape Town Society for Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy; a member of the South African Psychoanalysis Association; and a committed internet enthusiast.

Groups are proliferating online, and while most online groups are not therapy groups, group therapists are likely to find this a stimulating experience. Questions about registration may be directed to AGPA at registration@agpa.org.  All other questions may be directed to Dr. Hsiung at bob@dr-bob.org.  

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