Rural counselors experience high levels of stress and burnout because of increased job demands, a lack of professional resources, and professional isolation in rural community practice. Technology can be a useful tool for counselors to maintain connectivity and access resources not readily available. However, a gap in the literature exists on rural counselors’ experience with technology to remediate professional isolation. The purpose of this hermeneutic phenomenological framework with an interpretive phenomenological analysis (IPA) was to explore licensed professional counselors’ experiences with using technology to address professional isolation in rural community practice. The inclusion criteria included the counselors having 2 years of experience in a rural community and prior experience using technology. Five independently licensed professional counselors from Maryland and Virginia were interviewed and answered open-ended questions about their experience with technology. Data analysis using IPA yielded 5 themes: (a) social connection’s influence on the use of technology, (b) a lack of training on how to use technology in rural communities, (c) preference for one-on-one interactions, (d) the unreliability of technology, and (e) concerns about confidentiality and trusting technology. The results indicated counselors often do not receive training and preparation on the use of the technology available to them and how technology is a useful tool to maintain connectivity in their personal lives and professional lives. Implications for social change include bringing awareness to novice and veteran counselors on the use of technology to maintain connectivity and prevent professional isolation.
|Commitee:||Bridges, Corinne , Sepulveda, Victoria|
|Department:||Counselor Education and Supervision|
|School Location:||United States -- Minnesota|
|Source:||DAI-A 82/5(E), Dissertation Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||Counseling Psychology, Social psychology, Information Technology, Public policy, Mental health, Labor relations, Health care management|
|Keywords:||Burnout, Professional counselors, Professional isolation, Rural counselors, Technology integration, Stress, Job demands, Professional resouces, Rural communities|
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