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ERIC Number: ED528193
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2010
Pages: 148
Abstractor: As Provided
ISBN: ISBN-978-1-1245-6016-8
The Process and Experience of Online Group Counseling for Masters-Level Counseling Students
Lopresti, Jason Michael
ProQuest LLC, Ph.D. Dissertation, Texas A&M University - Corpus Christi
The present study explored the process and experience of online group counseling using a text-based synchronous program, particularly addressing how the process compares to face-to-face group counseling. Six students in a masters-level group counseling class voluntarily chose to participate for eight sixty minute online sessions on a weekly basis, using the chat function of the WebCT program. Questionnaires were completed prior to participation, following each session, and at the end of the study. Results from the client response modes system when subjected to a pre-planned polynomial contrast ANOVA for exploring within subjects trends indicated a significant linear and cubic trend in the frequency of self-disclosures, F (1, 7) = 9.3, p = 0.028, [eta [superscript 2]] = 0.65, and a significant cubic trend in client reassurance, F (1, 7) = 21.7, p [less than or equal].01, [eta [superscript 2]] = 0.845. The counselor response mode of directiveness was substantially higher during the first two sessions compared to the others, providing evidence of counseling stages which face-to-face groups have been observed to progress through. There was found to be a strong positive correlation between participant activity and working alliance, r(3) = 0.834, p less than 0.05, as well as activity and a participant's level of engagement as rated by the other members, r (4) = 0.951, p less than 0.01. There was also a strong negative correlation between activity and the level of avoidance by a participant as rated by the other members, r (4) = -0.731, p = 0.05. A strong positive correlation was found between participant OD and working alliance, r (3) = 0.995, p less than 0.01. Result from the GCQ-S showed a significant cubic trend in the level of conflict, F (1, 7) = 47.4, p [less than or equal]5.001, [eta [superscript 2]] = 0.905, which provided evidence of the transition stage of group counseling discussed by Corey (2004). A significant linear trend in participant mean ratings of the level of benefit for a particular session was found, F (1, 7) = 11.42, p [less than or equal]5.02, [eta [superscript 2]] = 0.696, along with a significant linear, F (1, 7) = 73.4, p [less than or equal].001, [eta [superscript 2]] = 0.936, and cubic trend, F (1, 7) = 9.86, p [less than or equal]5.026, [eta [superscript 2]] = 0.664, in the level of goal progress. Open-ended participant responses indicated that members generally felt supported and that the sessions were beneficial. Participant ratings of their overall level of goal attainment (median = 4/5) as well as the WAI-S scores (median=77/84), were generally high. Convenience was identified as one of the positive aspects of online group counseling, while the lack of body language and having to deal with multiple speakers at a time were seen as some of the drawbacks. Multiple participants in the present study reported an ease of disclosure which allowed them to reveal personal information that they may not have revealed during a face-to-face group. One participant, however, also mentioned that it was easy to "hide behind the screen" and censor oneself. There was evidence of each of the six group counseling stages indentified by Corey (2004), within the present study. This is based on open-ended participant responses, an increase in the number of client self-disclosures from sessions one through four, a decrease in counselor directiveness from sessions one through three, a general increase in the level of engagement, and a dramatic increase in conflict during the sixth session which was seen as the transition stage. The slow overall pace of the online group counseling sessions was identified as a drawback by this researcher, some of the group participants, as well as by previous research (Haberstroh, Parr, Bradley, Morgan-Fleming, & Gee, 2008). A consideration for future researchers may be to evaluate the level of satisfaction with text-based synchronous online group counseling in terms of one's comfort level with chat rooms, typing ability, and overall computer skills. It would also be beneficial to include more participants, a face-to-face comparison group, more group sessions, and to study real online counseling participants rather than a group of student volunteers. Despite its limitations, the present study provided some support for the ability of an online counseling group to progress through stages, develop group cohesiveness, develop a therapeutic relationship, and to help participants meet personal goals. [The dissertation citations contained here are published with the permission of ProQuest LLC. Further reproduction is prohibited without permission. Copies of dissertations may be obtained by Telephone (800) 1-800-521-0600. Web page:]
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Publication Type: Dissertations/Theses - Doctoral Dissertations
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A