Online Counseling is a new method of counselling within the Republic of Ireland, the aim of this research project was to explore the Early Experiences of Online Counsellors providing an Online Counseling Service in the Republic of Ireland.
A qualitative design was used for the research. Five participants were interviewed, one interview was conducted face-to-face and four via telephone, data was then transcribed and results were established via thematic analysis.
Results encompassed the overall experience of the online counsellor in the Republic of Ireland ranging from flexibility, duty of care, client characteristics, common presenting problems, ethical and professional framework, continual development, clarity, appealing qualities, lack of support and awareness and finally therapist skills.
This study highlights some of the issues encountered in providing an online counselling service in the Republic of Ireland, a number of practical and ethical issues emerged from within the data, it was felt that difficulties working in the online environment were perhaps furthermore frustrated by a lack of ethical and professional framework as well as supports for the counsellor. Practical concerns were that of promoting the counsellors services as well as raising awareness that the service is available for users to access, these practical and ethical
concerns may be attributed to the infancy of this service in the Republic. This research adds to the current research available whilst highlighting the particular concerns mentioned in relation to raising awareness of online services existing in the Republic.