This paper dwells upon the attitude towards online counselling services compared to face-to-face services. Rochlen, Beretvas and Zack (2004) note that the use of the Internet for various healthcare purposes (including counselling) have been a matter of wide-scale discussion. More so, numerous online resources are being created and the market of online counselling services is likely to expand.
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However, there are no empirical data on the way these services are perceived by people. It is also unclear whether these services are effective for the clients. The purpose of the study was to identify attitudes towards online counselling and to develop a proper scale to measure clients’ attitudes as well as to check its validity.
Rochlen et al. (2004) hypothesised that clients would have more positive attitudes towards face-to-face counselling services than to online counselling. It was also hypothesised that the scale would be multidimensional.
The participants of the survey were undergraduates from a south-western university. 471 participant took part in the research. The age of the samples ranged from 18 to 41 and 69% of the participants were females. The largest ethnic groups were Caucasian (54.8%), Asian American (21%), Hispanic (7.2%).
The participants were divided into two groups to develop measurement scales. Then the participants from the two groups were used to identify attitudes towards online counselling. The results of the research support the hypothesis concerning people’s attitudes towards online counselling.
Rochlen et al. (2004) note that participants expressed favourable attitudes towards face-to-face counselling and only some participants expressed neutral or slightly positive attitudes towards online counselling. The researchers also identified a gender difference as female participants expressed more positive attitudes towards face-to-face counselling than male participants.
The researchers conclude that the research in this filed should be expanded. They stress that people prefer face-to-face counselling to online counselling. Rochlen et al. (2004) also suggest that this can be due to the lack of acquaintance with such kind of online services.
The researchers also identify the major limitation of the study. They note that the cohort of samples was quite homogeneous as only college students took part in the research. The study has numerous implications for practitioners who can consider developing online counselling services.
The article in question is rather effective and it unveils quite important trends. It is clear that people still prefer face-to-face counselling to online counselling services. It includes tables with the necessary explanations. One of the weaknesses of the article is the part concerning the scale.
This aspect needs specific attention and should be developed in a separate survey in detail. However, the findings of the article are still important to the reader as it provides insights into the future of online counselling.
In conclusion, it is possible to note that the article is quite clear and concise when it comes to identifying attitudes towards online counselling. It contributes significantly to the knowledge base of counselling. The article can be appropriate for a wide audience.
It is obvious that the filed is not researched enough and needs further attention. It is important to reach people with diverse backgrounds and health conditions. It is also important to compare attitudes of people who have been acquainted with online counselling and those who have not. Finally, it is important to compare the way both types of counselling affect clients (which type is more beneficial).
Rochlen, A.B., Beretvas, S.N., & Zack, J.S. (2008). The online and face-to-face counselling attitudes scales: A validation study. Measurement and Evaluation in Counselling and Development, 37, 95-111.