Qualitative analysis of university counselors’ online counseling experiences during the COVID-19 pandemic

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Tuna B., Avci O. H.

Current Psychology, vol.42, no.10, pp.8489-8503, 2023 (SSCI) identifier identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 42 Issue: 10
  • Publication Date: 2023
  • Doi Number: 10.1007/s12144-023-04358-x
  • Journal Name: Current Psychology
  • Journal Indexes: Social Sciences Citation Index (SSCI), Scopus, IBZ Online, BIOSIS, Business Source Elite, Business Source Premier, Psycinfo
  • Page Numbers: pp.8489-8503
  • Keywords: University counselors, University counseling centers, COVID-19 pandemic, Online counseling, Stress and burnout, Self-care
  • Hacettepe University Affiliated: Yes


This study aimed to reflect on counselors’ experiences and the adaptation processes in university counseling centers during the COVID-19 pandemic. Accordingly, 15 counselors and psychologists working at different counseling centers were reached and interviewed. Thematic analysis showed that participants had to adapt to changes brought by the pandemic to continue their services. The adaptation of counseling centers to online practices showed differences according to administrative decisions and technical capacities. As a result of the urgent need to continue providing psychological help, participants moved to online practices, which caused professional and social life changes. Participant attitudes to online counseling were mainly positive. Since students had to move back to their family homes during the pandemic, limited confidentiality was the main problem aside from technological glitches in online sessions. Counselors encountered personal and professional challenges as a result of the ongoing counseling sessions and listed the self-care activities they used.