Videoconference mind-body group therapy in a public mental health setting: a pilot study

  • Chanel Heermann
  • Werner Absenger
  • Jerome Sarris
Brief Report


Increasing access to mental health care for underserved communities is a critical public health need. One potential avenue for improving access to mental health care is telemedicine using videoconferencing. Videoconference has been shown in many studies to be effective and acceptable in mental health populations, with outcomes that are consistently comparable to in-person treatment, resulting in high satisfaction for both patients and providers (Germain, Marchand, Bouchard, Drouin & Guay, 2009; Fortney et al., 2007; Sheeran et al., 2011). Several promising studies indicate that videoconference is a viable and effective means of delivering group psychotherapy. Research exploring its efficacy for alcohol-use disorders (Frueh, Henderson & Myrick, 2005), PTSD (Morland et al., 2010; Morland et al., 2014) and depression (Khatri, Marziali, Tchernikov & Shepherd, 2014) have seen positive results. Analysis of individual and group psychotherapy processes concluded that, while...


Wait List Control Wait List Public Mental Health Woman Veteran Wait List Group 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



Dr. Jerome Sarris is supported by a CR Roper Fellowship.

The authors would like to thank the leadership and staff of Health Solutions (formerly the Spanish Peaks Behavioral Health Centers) for their support and assistance. Special thanks go to James Hill RN and Chantelle Santistevan RN for their skillful co-facilitation of the groups and for their work in data collection.

The authors would also like to thank Travis Heermann, M.A., of the University of Nebraska at Omaha, College of Arts and Sciences, for his assistance in editing this manuscript.

Compliance with ethical standards

Ethics approval was granted by Saybrook University's Institutional Review Board.


JS has received either presentation honoraria, travel support, clinical trial grants or book royalties from Integria Healthcare & MediHerb, Pfizer, Taki Mai, Bioceuticals & Blackmores, Soho-Flordis, Healthworld, HealthEd, Elsevier, Chaminade University, International Society for Affective Disorders, Complementary Medicines Australia, ANS, Society for Medicinal Plant and Natural Product Research, Omega-3 Centre the National Health and Medical Research Council, CR Roper Fellowship.

Conflicts of interest

No specific conflicts identified.


  1. Bell, I. R., Cunningham, V., Caspi, O., Meek, P., & Ferro, L. (2004). Development and validation of a new global well-being outcomes rating scale for integrative medicine research. BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine, 4, 1.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  2. Deen, T. L., Godleski, L., & Fortney, J. C. (2010). A description of telemental health services provided by the Veterans Health Administration in 2006–2010. Psychiatric Services. doi: 10.1176/ Scholar
  3. Fortney, J. C., Pyne, J. M., Edlund, M. J., Williams, D. K., Robinson, D. E., Mittal, D., & Henderson, K. L. (2007). A randomized trial of telemedicine-based collaborative care for depression. Journal of General Internal Medicine, 22(8), 1086–1093.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  4. Frueh, B. C., Henderson, S., & Myrick, H. (2005). Telehealth service delivery for persons with alcoholism. Journal of Telemedicine and Telecare, 11(7), 372–375.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  5. Germain, V., Marchand, A., Bouchard, S., Drouin, M. S., & Guay, S. (2009). Effectiveness of cognitive behavioural therapy administered by videoconference for posttraumatic stress disorder. Cognitive Behavior Therapy, 38(1), 42–53.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Glueck, B. C., & Stroebel, C. F. (1975). Biofeedback and meditation and the treatment of psychiatric illness. Comprehensive Psychology, 16(4), 303–321.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Gordon, J. S., Staples, J. K., Blyta, A., Bytyqi, M., & Wilson, A. T. (2008). Treatment of posttraumatic stress disorder in postwar kosovar adolescents using mind-body skills groups: a randomized controlled trial. Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, 69(9), 1469–1476.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  8. Greene, C. J., Morland, L. A., Macdonald, A., Frueh, B. C., Grubbs, K. M., & Rosen, C. S. (2010). How does tele-mental health affect group therapy process? Secondary analysis of a noninferiority trial. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology. doi: 10.1037/a0020158.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  9. Heermann, C. (2013). 7 foundations of health and happiness: building a bridge to balance. Denver, CO: SynerGenius Press.Google Scholar
  10. Khatri, N., Marziali, E., Tchernikov, I., & Shepherd, N. (2014). Comparing telehealth-based and clinic-based group cognitive behavioral therapy for adults with depression and anxiety: a pilot study. Clinical Interventions in Aging. doi: 10.2147/CIA.S57832.PubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  11. Lukoff, D., Wallace, C. J., Liberman, R. P., & Burke, K. (1986). A holistic program for chronic schizophrenic patients. Schizophrenia Bulletin, 12(2), 274–282.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  12. Morland, L. A., Greene, C. J., Rosen, C. S., Foy, D., Reilly, P., Shore, J., He, Q., & Frueh, B. C. (2010). Telemedicine for anger management therapy in a rural population of combat veterans with posttraumatic stress disorder: a randomized noninferiority trial. The Journal of Clinical Psychiatry. doi: 10.4088/JCP.09m05604blu.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  13. Morland, L. A., Mackintosh, M. A., Greene, C. J., Rosen, C. S., Chard, K. M., Resick, P., & Frueh, B. C. (2014). Cognitive processing therapy for posttraumatic stress disorder delivered to rural veterans via telemental health: a randomized noninferiority clinical trial. The Journal of Clinical Psychiatry. doi: 10.4088/JCP.13m08842.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  14. National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM). (2009). CAM basics: what is CAM? National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM). [Accessed 2009 Apr 14].
  15. Sheeran, T., Rabinowitz, T., Lotterman, J., Reilly, C. F., Brown, S., Donehower, P., Ellsworth, E., Amour, J. L., & Bruce, M. L. (2011). Feasibility and impact of telemonitor-based depression care management for geriatric homecare patients. Telemed J E Health. doi: 10.1089/tmj.2011.0011.PubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  16. Staples, J. K., Abdel Attai, J. A., & Gordon, J. S. (2011). Mind-body skills groups for posttraumatic stress disorder and depression symptoms in Palestinian children and adolescents in Gaza. International Journal of Stress Management, 18(3), 246–262.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Starkey, D., Deleone, H., & Flannery Jr., R. B. (1995). Stress management for psychiatric patients in a state hospital setting. The American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, 65(3), 446–450.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  18. Tan, G., Teo, I., Srivastava, D., Smith, D., Smith, S. L., Williams, W., & Jensen, M. P. (2013). Improving access to care for women veterans suffering from chronic pain and depression associated with trauma. Pain Medicine. doi: 10.1111/pme.12131.Google Scholar
  19. Vella-Brodrick, D. A., & Allen, F. C. (1995). Development and psychometric validation of the Mental, Physical, and Spiritual Well-Being Scale. Psychological Reports, 77(2), 659–674.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.College of Integrative Medicine and Health SciencesSaybrook UniversityOaklandUSA
  2. 2.Absenger Cancer Education FoundationSpring LakeUSA
  3. 3.Deputy Director of the National Institute of Complementary MedicineCampbelltown NSWAustralia
  4. 4.Professor of Integrative Mental Health at Western Sydney UniversityPenrith NSWAustralia

Personalised recommendations