Publication Date


Document Type

Masters Thesis

Study Type



School for Social Work


Psychotherapy-Technological innovations, Psychotherapy-Differential therapeutics, Young adults-Attitudes, Young adults-Mental health services, Videoconferencing, Psychotherapy, Mental health, Technology, Access, Barriers, Videoconference, Text, Skype, Attitudes, Young people, Attitudinal barriers


This qualitative study explored the use of communication technologies in the context of psychotherapeutic relationships, examining how technology might affect attitudinal barriers preventing young people from utilizing psychotherapy. Research findings emerged from semistructured Skype interviews with 10 participants (age 18-30 years) focused on their beliefs on psychotherapy, communications technology, and the idea of integrating technology into the psychotherapeutic relationship.

A theme analysis of the interviews produced four major findings: (1) psychotherapy is an especially difficult endeavor to begin and maintain; (2) certain qualities of the therapist (trust, expertise, and ‘fit’) are of particular importance; (3) voice and body language are critical to talking about emotional topics; and (3) the availability of psychotherapy over videoconference might greatly increase the willingness of young people to enter psychotherapeutic treatment.

The findings of this study suggest the potential benefits of using communications technology within the psychotherapeutic process. In particular, videoconference and other forms of technology may decrease attitudinal barriers faced by current and potential clients. These findings indicate that more research on the impact of further integrating the psychotherapeutic relationship with communications technology is important to clinical social work and mental health treatment.




iv, 66 pages. M.S.W., Smith College School for Social Work, Northampton, Ma., 2016. Includes bibliographical references (pages 50-58)

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Social Work Commons