Student Counsellors’ Perceptions of the Effects of Recording the Counselling Interview.
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameMaster of Education
The use of audio and videotape recordings in counsellor education for the purpose of training and supervision is controversial. Although recordings give counsellors and supervisors direct access to the counselling session and therefore the skills of the counsellor, a number of concerns have been recorded both in early research (Betcher & Zinberg, 1988; Frankel, 1971; Gelso, 1973; Goldstein, 1988; Lamb & Mahl, 1956; Niland, 1971; Van Atta, 1969) and more recently in counsellors’ correspondence to the NZAC Newsletter (Anonymous, 2006; Grant, 2006) regarding the effects on counsellors, clients and on the counselling process itself. There is a scarcity of current research on whether or not recording of counselling or therapeutic interviews actually interferes with the counselling process. The few empirical studies of the effects of recording are inconsistent in their findings and their methodological flaws preclude meaningful interpretation of the literature as a whole (Goldstein, 1988). This qualitative research study focuses on one aspect of recording counselling interviews; the perceptions of counselling students. Thirteen counselling students enrolled on counsellor education programmes at five tertiary educational settings in Auckland and Christchurch, New Zealand participated in interviews. They indicated that they perceived the process of recording to be anxiety promoting, initially having an effect on their ability to be completely present in the counselling interview. They also reported that recording was extremely beneficial to the development of effective counselling skills. Counsellors perceived the process of recording to be a potential threat to the developing relationship between counsellor and client but many were able to manage this concern by establishing trust and rapport before introducing recording. The majority of the student counsellors perceived that they became more confident with the process over time, moving from a state of anxiety in initial recordings to a more relaxed style with practice. This has implications for future practice and for early introduction to frequent recording in counsellor education programmes.