Keeping up with young people and a changing counselling environment : exploring the use of between session text messages to support face-to-face counselling.
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameMaster of Counselling
Solution focused brief therapy [SFBT] is a strengths-based, future focused, goal oriented therapy that originated in the United States (De Jong & Berg, 2012). There is considerable research that demonstrates the effectiveness of the therapy’s main tenets; co-construction of client-led directions, amplification of positive change and instances of success (Nelson, Welsh, Trup, & Greenberg, 2011). Some research highlights the helpfulness of specific SFBT techniques such as miracle question (Jones-Smith, 2011), exceptions (Henson, 2015) and between session tasks (Jones-Smith, 2011). Most research, however, uses standard writing and talking as data. Less common is the inclusion of electronic platforms for conducting SFBT.
This research primarily focuses on between session tasks by exploring whether the use of text messages can support a client to complete such tasks. Four New Zealand co-educational high school students from Year 11 to Year 13 volunteered to attend four counselling sessions which were recorded on a Dictaphone and transcribed. At the end of each session the clients and the counsellor co-constructed text messages that the counsellor would send to them between sessions. Throughout the research, the text messages were examined to determine whether they supported SFBT principles and transcripts of participants’ feedback about the usefulness of the text messages were analysed thematically. The main findings were that using text messages fits very well with the intention of SFBT to promote client autonomy. Furthermore, co-construction of text messages enabled the counsellor to use appropriate client language when contacting the client between sessions. Both findings suggest the use of text messages when working with high school clients enables them to engage with counselling and focus on their own goals between sessions. This research adds to the literature on; Solution Focused Brief Therapy in high school settings, New Zealand specific Solution Focused Brief Therapy research and combining technology with face-to-face counselling practice.