Cybervision: Virtual peer group counselling supervision — Hindrance or help?
This study explored the use of text-based computer-mediated communication in counsellor supervision. ‘Cybervision' is an innovative collaboration between counsellors and computer technology. The study reports on the use of clinical case presentation by e-mail and the discussion of cases in text-based chat rooms. The inquiry, conducted from a qualitative research perspective, seeks to explore the potential effectiveness of Cybervision along with its advantages and disadvantages. Prior to each supervision session, the supervisee presented case concerns by e-mail and later received 60 minutes supervision from the remaining three group members adopting the role of supervisor. As a form of co-operative inquiry, the personal experience of research participants was investigated and reported, highlighting key themes and issues relating to the absence of face-to-face contact. In all cases, participants reported that Cybervision effectively influenced and informed the clinical practice of the counsellor. Participants quickly and successfully formed a meaningful group where support, challenge and feedback were expressed and valued. The ‘disinhibition' effect of on-line contact was found to support open and honest communication. Feelings were communicated in this environment with surprising ease. The consistent emergence of useful parallel processes was another significant finding.