Mental health counsellors’ perceptions on use of technology in counselling

  • Mageshprasath Nagarajan
  • Yuvaraj SEmail author


The objectives of the study were: (a) to explore the self-reported knowledge of counsellors about technology in counselling. (b) to understand the flexibility, usage, and openness to integrating the technology services in their practice, and (c) to identify the problems associated with using technology as a process in counselling. Semi-structured interviews of eleven practising counsellors in Bangalore and Chennai, India, recruited through snowball sampling, were used for data collection. The deductive content analysis of the interview transcripts generated seven concepts, each comprising of several categories. The seven concepts were 'attitude', 'strengths', 'weakness', 'suitability', 'skills and training', 'therapeutic alliance', and 'theoretical approaches'. The analysis revealed that the counsellors preferred face-to-face counselling and were not using technology for their mainstream practice, but all were quite aware of the process, the benefits and costs of using different forms of technology. The study revealed that the counsellors were also aware about the target population and mental health issues for online counselling. This study has strong implications for building additional skills and enhancing training for counsellors to use technology in their counselling practice, along with the formulation of legal and ethical policies, certification and licensing, in order to protect both the clients and counsellors.


Online counselling Video conferencing Counsellors Perception Email counselling 


Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

On behalf of all authors, the corresponding author states that there is no conflict of interest.


  1. Amritesh, Misra, S. C., & Chatterjee, J. (2014). Emerging scenario of online counselling services in India: A case of e-government intervention. Transforming Government: People, Process and Policy, 8(4), 569–596. Scholar
  2. Biernacki, P., & Waldorf, D. (1981). Snowball sampling: Problems and techniques of chain referral sampling. Sociological Methods & Research, 10(2), 141–163.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Carson, D. K., Jain, S., & Ramirez, S. (2009). Counseling and family therapy in India: Evolving professions in a rapidly developing nation. International Journal for the Advancement of Counselling, 31(1), 45–56. Scholar
  4. Centore, A. J., & Milacci, F. (2008). A study of mental health counselors’ use of and perspectives on distance counseling. Journal of Mental Health Counseling, 30(3), 267–275.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Chang, T., Chang, R., & Zhang, A. Y. (2004). Counseling and the internet: Asian American and Asian international college students’ attitudes toward seeking online professional psychological help. Journal of College Counseling, 7, 140–150.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Chester, A., & Glass, C. a. (2006). Online counselling: A descriptive analysis of therapy services on the internet. British Journal of Guidance and Counselling, 34(2), 145–160. Scholar
  7. Cook, J. E., & Doyle, C. (2002). Working alliance in online therapy as compared to face-to-face therapy: Preliminary results. Cyberpsychology & Behavior, 5(2), 95–105.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Egan, G. (2013). The skilled helper: A problem-management and opportunity-development approach to helping. Cengage Learning.Google Scholar
  9. Elo, S., & Kyngas, H. (2007). The qualitative content analysis. Journal of Advanced Nursing, 62(1), 107–115. Scholar
  10. Fukkink, R. G., & Hermanns, J. M. A. (2009). Children ‘s experiences with chat support and telephone support. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 6(50), 759–766. Scholar
  11. Goss, S., Anthony, K., & Richards, D. (2009). Developments in the use of technology in counselling and psychotherapy. British Journal of Guidance and Counselling, 37(3), 223–231. Scholar
  12. Gupta, A., & Avineesh, A. (2012). Internet counselling and. Psychological Services, 28(1), 105–122.Google Scholar
  13. Hechanova, M. R. M., Tuliao, A. P., Teh, L. A., Alianan, A. S., & Acosta, A. (2013). Problem severity, technology adoption, and intent to seek online counseling among overseas Filipino workers. Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking, 16(8), 613-617.
  14. Kenny, M. C., & Mceachern, A. G. (2004). Telephone counseling: Are offices becoming obsolete? Journal of Counseling & Development, 82, 199–203. Scholar
  15. Khera, P. (2017). Coping with stigma and shame among parents of children with autism spectrum disorders (Unpublished master’s dissertation). Christ (Deemed to be University). Bangalore.Google Scholar
  16. Magyar-Moe, J. L., Owens, R. L., & Conoley, C. W. (2015). Positive psychological interventions in counseling: What every counseling psychologist should know. The Counseling Psychologist, 43, 508–557. Scholar
  17. Maldonado, R. R. (2008). A phenomenological pilot study of energy healers expertise and recommendations for energetic disaster and trauma relief training. Hilo: Akamai University.Google Scholar
  18. The Practice of Internet Counseling (2005) | Ethics Codes Collection. (2018). Retrieved from Accessed 19 Jan 2018
  19. Oakley, A. (1998). Gender, methodology and people's ways of knowing: Some problems with feminism and the paradigm debate in social science. Sociology, 32(4), 707–731.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Reese, R. J., Conoley, C. W., & Brossart, D. F. (2002). Effectiveness of telephone counseling: A field-based investigation. Journal of Counseling Psychology, 49(2), 233–242. Scholar
  21. Reese, R. J., Conoley, C. W., & Brossart, D. F. (2006). The attractiveness of telephone counseling: An empirical investigation of client perceptions. Journal of Counseling and Development, 84, 54–60. Scholar
  22. Richards, D. (2009). Features and benefits of online counselling: Trinity college online mental health community. British Journal of Guidance and Counselling, 37(3), 231–243. Scholar
  23. Richards, D., & Vigano, N. (2013). Online counseling: A narrative and critical review of the literature. Journal of Clinical Psychology, 69(9), 994–1011. Scholar
  24. Rochlen, A. B., Zack, J. S., & Speyer, C. (2004). Online therapy: Review of relevant definitions, debates, and current empirical support. Journal of Clinical Psychology, 60(3), 269–283. Scholar
  25. Rummell, C. M., & Joyce, N. R. (2010). “So what do u want to work on 2day ?”: The ethical implications of online counseling. Ethics and Behavior, 20(6), 482–496. Scholar
  26. Seligman, M. E. P., & Csikszentmihalyi, M. (2000). Positive psychology: An introduction. American Psychologist, 55(1), 5–14. Scholar
  27. Simpson, S., Bell, L., Knox, J., & Mitchell, D. (2005). Therapy via videoconferencing: A route to client empowerment? Clinical Psychology & Psychotherapy, 12(2), 156–165. Scholar
  28. Suler, J. (2000). Psychotherapy in cyberspace: A 5-dimensional model of online and computer-mediated psychotherapy. Cyberpsychology & Behavior, 3(2), 151–159.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Suler, J. (2004). The online disinhibition effect. Cyberpsychology & Behavior, 7(3), 321–326. Scholar
  30. Wangberg, S. C., Gammon, D., & Spitznogle, K. (2007). In the eyes of the beholder: Exploring psychologists’ attitudes towards and use of e-therapy in Norway. Cyberpsychology & Behavior: The Impact of the Internet, Multimedia and Virtual Reality on Behavior and Society, 10(3), 418–423. Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychologyChrist (Deemed to be University)BangaloreIndia

Personalised recommendations