Therapists' and counsellors' perceptions and experiences of offering online therapy during COVID‐19: A qualitative survey

Full, Wayne; Vossler, Andreas; Moller, Naomi; Pybis, Jo and Roddy, Jeannette (2023). Therapists' and counsellors' perceptions and experiences of offering online therapy during COVID‐19: A qualitative survey. Counselling and Psychotherapy Research (Early access).

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1002/capr.12707

Abstract

Objective: The aim of this research was to understand counsellors' and therapists' perceptions and experiences of working online during the COVID‐19 pandemic.
Method: Five hundred and ninety clinicians, mostly UK‐based, responded to an online qualitative survey, which allowed data to be gathered from a broader range of participants than is typical for qualitative interviews or focus group studies, and provided a wide‐angle lens. The survey generated over 130,000 words, on which a five‐staged framework analysis was conducted. Seven superordinate themes were identified.
Results: In this paper, three of these superordinate themes specifically addressing online therapeutic practice with individual adult clients are presented. Therapists' accounts addressed the diverse ways in which the online space changed how they thought about the therapy relationship and their interactions with clients. Respondents described instances where online therapy had been beneficial for facilitating and cultivating the therapeutic process and relationship as well as how online therapy could have a potentially disruptive impact on therapeutic practice.
Implications: For practitioners who continue to deliver therapy solely online and/or offer hybrid services, this study identifies the specific knowledge and skills required for effective and safe online therapeutic work.

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