DOI: 10.1177/2156759x231199738 ISSN:

The Experiences of School Counselors Providing Virtual Services During COVID-19: A Phenomenological Investigation

Allison Roberts, Emily Goodman-Scott, Natalie Edirmanasinghe
  • Ocean Engineering

In response to the lack of literature, we conducted a phenomenological study of 10 school counselors in four states and nine school districts exploring their experiences providing virtual school counseling services during the beginning stages of the COVID-19 pandemic, when many K–12 schools were closed. Results of this study indicated that overall, school counselors found the experience of providing virtual services during the initial stages of the pandemic to be negative, with their stated experiences centering around three themes: (a) difficulty meeting with students in virtual settings (i.e., feeling frustration and grief due to challenges meeting with students virtually), (b) abrupt adjustment (i.e., sudden changes and the need to pivot quickly, due to the pandemic), and (c) the challenge of addressing mental health complexities (i.e., difficulty in meeting nuanced mental health needs). We provide implications for practice, preparation, school/district policy, and research surrounding virtual school counseling during times of crisis and recovery, such as the COVID-19 pandemic. Last, we discuss implications for virtual school counseling within the future of school counseling.

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