I might have set myself a difficult task. My aim this month is to talk about the use of online counselling in elementary, middle and high schools. My research has shown that while there are many ways in which online counselling is being used effectively with children and adolescents it doesn’t appear it is being used in the school system.
With the possible exception of career development and guidance. Though the literature is not quite clear on whether this is online counselling [will check into that further].
So, if you know of any school counselling that is being done online please feel free to share!
Here’s what I found out so far [with more to follow in two weeks]…
Social media networks are being used by special needs teachers for teaching social competence to students with emotional and behavioural disorders.
A small number of “highly aggressive” grade five students were enrolled by the school psychologist in an intervention program using a computer game. The aim of the game was to impact their cognitions, emotions and behaviour.
In a controlled trial a research program in Australia implemented a school-wide curriculum based program for reducing depression in adolescent girls.
The biggest concern [based on the number of articles] for school counsellors, psychologists and child psychiatrists appears to be Cyberbullying. There are a vast number of articles about curriculum-based interventions for cyberbullying and ways to implement school-wide prevention programs though no one discusses ways to use online counselling as an intervention.
School counsellors’ themselves?
A study was conducted among American school counsellors, school counselling students, and their supervisors and educators. The purpose was to determine levels of perceived importance of technological competencies as they relate to their work.
A literature review showed how school counsellors were already using technology – supervision, email discussions with other counsellors/teachers/parents [rarely with students], advocacy, training, school counselling program promotion, counsellor interventions with children [these date back to 1995], and the most extensive use of computers in counselling was in the area of career development.
The researchers concluded “While school counselors can clearly benefit from using technology to work more efficiently and effectively, … there is not consistent use, perception, training, or integration of technology as a method of achieving school counseling standards, goals and outcomes.. 1
On a side note there are numerous articles and research projects looking at the effects of internet use on social skills, loneliness and depression, Cyberbullying, Safety, and the largest number of articles addressed Internet addictions. These studies came from a wide variety of countries – Cyprus, Crete, Vietnam, China, Japan, Korea, Russia, UK, USA, Canada, Netherlands, France, Italy,Taiwan, Mauritius, Ghana, Uganda, Turkey, Greece, Lebanon, United Arab Emirates, Sinagpore [to name a few!].
Guess we all want to be sure the kids are alright.
Dawn Schell, MA, CCC, CCDP is an affiliate of Worldwide Therapy Online Inc. http://www.therapyonline.ca
1 Sabella, R. A., Poynton, T. A., & Isaacs, M. L. (2010). School counsellors perceived importance of counselling technology. Computers in Human Behavior, 26, 609-617.
*The views expressed by our authors are personal opinions and do not necessarily reflect the views of the CCPA