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January 26, 2017

Effectiveness of Online Group Therapy For Eating Disorders

Man participating in group therapy

With the rapid changes that technology brings, the way in which we communicate with each other is constantly evolving. Online communications is commonplace for most individuals through smart-phone technology along with various applications, and having the capacity to speak with individuals around the world is more accessible than ever.

This has also changed the treatment availability for eating disorder sufferers. Where treatment may be inaccessible, there are now more options and resources available.

Online Support Groups and Group Therapy

Comprehensive treatment for eating disorders is crucial and necessary for recovery. This includes medical and psychiatric care, nutritional rehabilitation, medication management, and psychotherapy/counseling.

Working with professionals who are specialized in eating disorders is also an important aspect of treatment, as these professionals have training and experience to address the many unique issues and challenges faced with this disease. However, an eating disorder professional may not always be within reach or in areas that are not as populous. This is where online services may be helpful.

Some eating disorder therapists do offer counseling services online, including group therapy and support groups. Being able to connect with other individuals who can relate to what you might be experiencing is another helpful aspect of recovery.

Group therapy can bring together individuals who share a similar experience in a therapeutic setting, and while these groups are traditionally held in person, groups can also occur online. While this is a feasible option, especially one that might be helpful for a person with limited resources, the downside of an online group is that it would take away from the in person connections that are often established in a group atmosphere.

Is Online Group Therapy Right For Me?

Man onlineOnline group therapy or support groups should be considered as a supplement to a comprehensive treatment plan and never as a replacement for in-person treatment that may be needed. When online group therapy services are considered, this should ideally be utilized during an outpatient level of care, or when recovery has been established for some time.

When looking into the option of online group sessions or group therapy, always inquire about how the group is led, as well as the credentials of the therapist who may be leading the group. Another important factor to consider is the size of the group, how the group will be run, and what online platforms are utilized.

Online support groups can be a helpful aspect of recovery, particularly for individuals who may not have nearby connections or are with limited resources.

Community Discussion – Share Your Thoughts Here!

What has been your experience with online eating disorder support groups?


Crystal Headshot 2About the Author: Crystal is a Masters-level Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN) with a specialty focus in eating disorders, maternal/child health and wellness, and intuitive eating. Combining clinical experience with a love of social media and writing, Crystal serves as the Director of Content and Social Media for Eating Disorder Hope/Addiction Hope, where her passion to help others find recovery and healing is integrated into each part of her work.

As a Certified Intuitive Eating Counselor, Crystal has dedicated her career to helping others establish a healthy relationship with food and body through her work with EDH/AH and nutrition private practice.


The opinions and views of our guest contributors are shared to provide a broad perspective of eating disorders. These are not necessarily the views of Eating Disorder Hope, but an effort to offer discussion of various issues by different concerned individuals.

We at Eating Disorder Hope understand that eating disorders result from a combination of environmental and genetic factors. If you or a loved one are suffering from an eating disorder, please know that there is hope for you, and seek immediate professional help.

Last Updated & Reviewed By: Jacquelyn Ekern, MS, LPC on January 26, 2017
Published on EatingDisorderHope.com

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