Qualitative Expert Views’ on the Feasibility of Tele-Counseling Services in Malaysia
- Counseling, Expert views, Feasibility study, Tele-counseling, Qualitative research, Malaysia.
Online counseling is a delivery of therapeutic interventions in cyberspace where there are communication between trained professional counselors and clients using electronic communication technologies such as telephone, computer, email, internet as mediators in separate places. The provision of counseling services via telephone (also known as tele-counseling) is relatively new and the guiding policies are still being drafted by the local governing body of counseling profession. Hence, the main objective of this qualitative study is to explore expert perceptions of the feasibility of counseling provision via telephone, also known as tele-counseling. A total of five local experts in the field of counseling were involved as the respondents of this study. Based on the thematic analysis of the data, there were three main themes generated from the objectives of this study: (i) acceptance of tele-counseling services, (ii) advantages of tele-counseling services and (iii) limitations of tele-counseling services. The findings suggest that tele-counseling should be considered as an alternative to the conventional face-to-face counseling services in Malaysia. However, despite all the advantages it may offer, counselors who intend to engage in providing this service must also consider the potential limitations of its implementation.