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On Becoming a Counsellor: Challenges and Opportunities To Support Interpersonal Skills Training

Lookup NU author(s): Anja Thieme, Professor Patrick OlivierORCiD


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Well-developed interpersonal skills are crucial for all social interactions. However, understanding how interpersonal skills are taught or learned, and how technology can play a part in this, is yet an under-researched area in CSCW and HCI research. To start addressing this gap, our research explores the learning processes of counselling students, for whom developing interpersonal skills forms a fundamental part of their university education. We followed an iterative process to gain an in-depth understanding of a specific counselling program in the UK, combining interviews and low-fidelity technology prompts. Overall, 26 participants comprising tutors, students and expert counsellors took part. Our findings first provide insights into the highly collaborative and social learning process of the students. We highlight the complexity of interpersonal reflection as a crucial process for developing counselling skills, and identify the challenges to learning that students face. Second, we build on this understanding to draw out empirically grounded design considerations around opportunities for technology innovation in this setting.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Slovak P, Thieme A, Tennent P, Olivier P, Fitzpatrick G

Publication type: Conference Proceedings (inc. Abstract)

Publication status: Published

Conference Name: Proceedings of the 18th ACM Conference on Computer Supported Cooperative Work & Social Computing (CSCW '15)

Year of Conference: 2015

Pages: 1336-1347

Online publication date: 28/02/2015

Acceptance date: 01/01/1900

Publisher: ACM


DOI: 10.1145/2675133.2675190

Library holdings: Search Newcastle University Library for this item

ISBN: 9781450329224