Title

Attitudes of psychology graduate students toward face-to-face and online counseling

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

2014

Abstract

This study investigated the attitudes of 80 graduate students of Counseling and Clinical Psychology toward face-to-face and online counseling based on eight distance counseling factors: providing empathy, providing emotional support, providing connection, providing a sense of safety and confidentiality, accessibility, availability of counselor/therapist, eliminating social stigma, and anonymity, (Centore & Millaci, 2003). Respondents were Internet savvy and used the Internet an average of 26 hours each week. Results showed that compared to e-mail counseling and chat counseling, face-to-face counseling was rated higher on four of the eight factors: providing empathy, providing emotional support, providing connection, and providing a sense of safety and confidentiality. No differences were found in the ratings for accessibility and availability. Online counseling was rated higher in terms of addressing issues about social stigma and providing anonymity. Their attitude towards online counseling (visà-vis face-to-face counseling) was generally positive. Majority of the respondents also indicated openness to conducting online counseling, although they still consider face-to-face counseling more effective than online counseling. Implications for the potential of the practice of online counseling in combination with face-to-face counseling are discussed.

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