Comparing Online and Face-to-Face Student Counselling: What Therapeutic Goals Are Identified and What Are the Implications for Educational Providers?

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Online counselling is increasingly being used as an alternative to face-to-face student counselling. Using an exploratory mixed methods design, this project investigated the practice by examining the types of therapeutic goals that 11- to 25-year-olds identify online in routine practice. These goals were then compared to goals identified in equivalent school and community-based counselling services; 1,137 online goals (expressed by 504 young people) and 221 face-to-face goals (expressed by 220 young people) were analysed for key themes using grounded theory techniques. This analysis identified three core categories: (1) Intrapersonal Goals, (2) Interpersonal Goals, and (3) Intrapersonal Goals Directly Related to Others. Further statistical analysis of these themes indicated that online and face-to-face services appear to be used in different ways by students. These differences are discussed alongside the implications for professionals working in educational settings.

Bibliographical metadata

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)37-54
JournalJournal of Psychologists and Counsellors in Schools
Issue number1
Early online date11 Oct 2016
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2017

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