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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Online therapy : client and counsellor experiences Khan, Shereen


Online therapies have begun to gain recognition as therapy that is conducted via the internet, using text or audio/visual tools to connect the client and therapist (Hanley, 2012; Murphy & Mitchell, 1998). Unfortunately, research has not kept up with the rate of uptake in online therapy services. The present study investigated the experiences of therapists and clients who had engaged in online therapy during the past 12 months. Two studies were conducted, using narrative and thematic analysis to extrapolate the main themes across participants’ narratives. The first involved six female clients and focused on the ways in which individuals construct their online therapy experience. Themes emerging from Study 1 include: accessibility, convenience, affordability, time to think, reflect and respond, autonomy and control, and the qualities of the counsellors. Study two examined the ways in which four online therapists storied their experiences of engaging in online therapy. Themes from Study 2 that described practitioners’ online therapy experiences included: convenience, therapeutic alliance, online counselling skills, assessing client suitability, reaching diverse clients, assessing client satisfaction, legal and ethical concerns: client identity, privacy and confidentiality, and, personal and professional goals. Findings also suggested that the different mediums of communication (e-mail, instant message, and videoconference) offered unique benefits and challenges. Recommendations for clinical practice, limitations and future directions are discussed.

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Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.5 Canada