Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Counseling and Human Services


James L. Bellini


Counseling, Counselors, Experimental, Perceptions, Process, Videoconferencing

Subject Categories

Counseling Psychology


Videoconferencing is quickly becoming a part of daily life as technologies using the Internet and computer advances are now being employed to deliver synchronous, highly discernible video and audio content on devices used for daily communication. Videoconferencing is also being increasingly used by counseling professionals to provide counseling sessions and other services, and counseling accrediting and licensing bodies have recognized its use in some professional practice situations.

This experimental study used a regional sample of counselors, other mental health professionals, and counselors-in-training (N = 126), to examine whether participants, randomly assigned, rated three different measures of counseling process-working alliance, session suitability, and counselor qualities-differently when witnessing two videos of a simulated, basic, sufficiently-working, typical, college mental health counseling session. The videos were produced to be equivalent, except that one was conducted by high-quality, dedicated videoconferencing technology (VC), and the other done in the traditional face-to-face (FTF) manner.

A discriminant analysis confirmed a significant difference between the FTF and VC groups. Examination of the canonical discriminant function revealed a large canonical correlation, with an effect size of 21.5 %. Standardized discriminant function and structure coefficients were examined to evaluate the predictors that contributed to the group differences. The main finding was that the quality of counselor attractiveness, and to a lesser extent, the bond in the working alliance, were most influential in contributing to this difference. Results also revealed that the groups did not differ on any of the control variables-age, gender, and attitude toward technology. Results for the group centroids showed that the FTF group was substantially higher than the VC group, indicating that the group differences pertaining to counselor attractiveness and working alliance bond can be attributed to the FTF group. However, a comparison of the mean values for all of the counseling process variables showed that differences between the groups on almost all of the variables were very small. This indicates that, even with the significant finding of differences between the groups, participants found the FTF and VC sessions to be more similar than different.

Implications for common factors approaches and counseling practice are discussed.


Open Access