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Support and Companionship in Virtual Communities: Establishing a COVID-19 Counseling Network for Soldiers and the Collective Healing Phenomenon

Pao-Lung Chiu*
Fu Hsing Kang College, National Defense University, Taipei, 11258, Taiwan
* Corresponding Author: Pao-Lung Chiu. Email:
(This article belongs to this Special Issue: Local Policy Responses in Relation to Mental Health Issues during the COVID-19 Pandemic)

International Journal of Mental Health Promotion 2022, 24(4), 583-594. https://doi.org/10.32604/ijmhp.2022.019167

Received 07 September 2021; Accepted 24 February 2022; Issue published 27 May 2022

Abstract

Counseling people, particularly those in the military engaged in group living, who are in quarantine during the COVID-19 pandemic is a challenge. Therefore, supporting the people in quarantine who are experiencing psychological and interpersonal problems has become a new challenge in military mental health. This study’s primary concern was how to overcome the problems caused by physical quarantine. The study subject was a virtual counseling network and its operating experience during the quarantine period in Taiwan amidst the global COVID-19 pandemic. For soldiers who mainly live in groups, this study discussed how the virtual counseling network combined with the existing military support group to determine what influence the network had on people in quarantine. This study found that this group exhibited four types of experiences: togetherness, empathy, confidence, and belonging and cohesion. Such experiences are beneficial for group healing through mutual support and companionship. Collective cohesion and psychological healing can be achieved through a virtual community. This is worthy of attention, particularly in the pandemic or post-pandemic era. Physical isolation has become a fact of life, and such isolation is not just isolation from disease but also between regional boundaries. Counseling and support systems in virtual space or the operation of virtual teams must be considered for the future.

Keywords

Counseling network; stigmatization; psychological counseling; virtual interpersonal interaction; recovery

Cite This Article

Chiu, P. (2022). Support and Companionship in Virtual Communities: Establishing a COVID-19 Counseling Network for Soldiers and the Collective Healing Phenomenon. International Journal of Mental Health Promotion, 24(4), 583–594.



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License , which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
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