A consideration is group size. The software considers the proximity of people to one another in the determination of the volume level for each voice. For a group to be gathered in a circle, the more members in the group, the larger the circle. It is possible that people on opposite sides of the circle can not hear one another so a smaller circle is needed. An interesting feature of a 3D virtual reality world is that various configurations can be attempted such as members stacking themselves. Imagine a group of ten people with five people floating above the other five in a small circle. Perhaps a spherical pattern can be put together to make use of the space above and below the traditional circular pattern. Is this a solution for larger group sizes?
Time zones must be taken into consideration with any realtime gathering. Once reaching the three hour difference between New York and Los Angeles, some extra consideration has to be given. The New Yorker is home from work and has finished dinner while the Californian is at work saying "An hour till quitting time." Once the Californian is home and finished with dinner, the New Yorker is looking at bedtime coming up soon. It becomes a matter of who is willing to give up what for the group, work, dinner or sleep.
The focus of this group is not to do therapy but rather to develop personally and professionally. Even so, there may be a time when someone goes into a situation that cannot be left unattended. Therefore some emergency procedures will be necessary. Each member is to have someone locally that they can call upon should the need arise also, the group leader shall provide day and evening phone numbers.
Technology related problems are not uncommon as most Netizens can attest to. Internet users are at the mercy of telephone companies and Internet Service Providers and may at times have difficulty getting online. Members need to have a procedure to follow if this happens to them. This is especially important should the group leader be in this situation. The group members are also at risk of suffering hardware failures as a reason for not being able to find their way to the group.
Members of the group must be made aware of the experimental nature of this group and that there are many unknowns involved in the delivery of mental health services via the Internet. Every precaution is being taken to ensure that the safety and confidentiality of the group members is upheld. The inherent structure of the Internet makes it impossible to control many of the factors one may encounter during a group session. Participants enter into this group at their own risk and agree to hold harmless any sponsoring agency or individual. Members are free to drop from the group at anytime.
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