Support to Rural, Remote, and Northern Counsellors: The Unique Features Inherent to Video-Conferencing Technology




clinical supervision, video conferencing, rural, remote, northern, online counselling training, counsellors


This paper presents the qualitative findings from a mixed methods quantitative-qualitative explanatory sequential research project. It investigates unique features of video conferencing technology and how these can be helpful in supporting counsellors in rural, remote, and Northern contexts to mitigate compassion fatigue through video conferencing clinical supervision. Semi structured interviews with nine respondents were conducted and analyzed with thematic content analysis supported by NVivo 10. The results revealed eight higher order themes. Of note are the thematic results which described technology as a solution, the unique opportunities inherent in the medium of video conferencing, and some of its inherent challenges. These results are relevant to a variety of consultative contexts across healthcare and education because they assist in understanding how the technology impacts interpersonal connection and efficacy in supervision work.


Abassary, C., & Goodrich, K. M. (2014). Attending to crisis-based supervision for counselors: The CARE Model of crisis-based supervision. The Clinical Supervisor, 33(1), 63–81.

Abel, L., Walker, C., Samios, C., & Morozow, L. (2014). Vicarious posttraumatic growth: Predictors of growth and relationships with adjustment, Traumatology, 20(1), 9–18.

Austen, S., & McGrath, M. (2006). Attitude to the use of video-conferencing in general and specialist psychiatric services. Journal of Telemedicine and Telecare, 12(3), 146-150.

Bailenson, J. N, Blascovich, J., Beall, A. C., & Loomis, J. M. (2001). Equilibrium theory revisited: Mutual gaze and personal space in virtual environments. Presence, 10(6), 583–598.

Ben-Porat, A., & Itzhaky, H. (2009). Implications of treating family violence for the therapist: Secondary traumatization, vicarious traumatization, and growth. Journal of Family Violence, 24(7), 507–515.

Bernard, J. M. (1997). The discrimination model. In C. E. Watkins, Jr. (Ed.), Handbook of psychotherapy supervision (pp. 310-327). Wiley.

Bernard, J. M., & Goodyear, R. K. (2014). Fundamentals of clinical supervision (5th ed.). Pearson Education.

Bohannon, L. S., Herbert, A. M., Pelz, J. B., & Rantanen, E. R. (2013). Eye contact and video-mediated communication: A review. Displays, 34(2), 177–185.

Braun, V., & Clark, V. (2006). Using thematic analysis in psychology. Qualitative Research in Psychology, 3(2), 77–101.

Canadian Association of Social Workers. (2005). Code of ethics.

Canadian Counselling and Psychotherapy Association. (2016). Supervision competency profile project, January 2016.

Canadian Counselling and Psychotherapy Association. (2020a). Code of ethics.

Canadian Counselling and Psychotherapy Association. (2020b). Regulation across Canada.

Canadian Psychological Association. (2017). Canadian code of ethics for psychologists (4th ed).

Caron, N. (2006). Caring for Aboriginal patients: The culturally competent physician. Royal College Outlook, 3(2), 19–23.

Cohen, K., & Collens, P. (2013). The impact of trauma work on trauma workers: A metasynthesis on vicarious trauma and vicarious posttraumatic growth. Psychological Trauma: Theory, Research, Practice, and Policy, 5(6), 570–580.

Creswell, J. D., & Creswell, J. W. (2013). Research design: Qualitative, quantitative, and mixed methods Approaches (4th ed.). Sage.

Davis, F. D. (1989). Perceived usefulness perceived ease of use, and user acceptance of information. MIS Quarterly, 13(3), 319–340.

du Plessis, V., Beshiri, R., Bollman, R. D., & Clemenson, H. (2001). Definitions of rural and small-town. Canada Analysis Bulletin, 3(3). Catalogue no. 21-006-XIE. Statistics Canada.

Edey, W., & Jevne, R. F. (2003). Hope, illness, and counselling practice: Making hope visible. Canadian Journal of Counselling, 37(1), 44–51.

Falendar, C. A., & Shafranske, E. P. (2004). Clinical supervision: A competency-based approach. American Psychological Association.

Figley, C. R. (1995a). Compassion fatigue as a secondary traumatic stress disorder: An Overview. In C. R. Figley (Ed.), Compassion fatigue: Secondary traumatic stress disorders from treating the traumatized (pp. 1-20). Brunner/Mazel.

Figley, C. R. (1995b). Compassion Fatigue: Toward a new understanding of the costs of caring. In B. H. Stamm (Ed.), Secondary traumatic stress: Self-Care issues for clinicians, researchers, and educators (pp. 3-28). Sidran Press.

Figley, C. R. & Stamm, B. H. (1996). Psychometric review of compassion fatigue self-test. In B. H. Stamm (Ed.), Measurement of stress, trauma and adaptation (pp. 127–130). Sidran Press.

Finklestein, M., Stein, E., Green, T., & Brontstein, I. (2015) Posttraumatic stress disorder and vicarious trauma in mental health professionals. Health & Social Work Volume, 40(2), e25–e31.

Gerber, H. R., Abrams, S. S., Curwood, J. S., & Magnifico, A. M. (2017). Conducting qualitative research of learning in online spaces. Sage.

Green J., & Thorogood N. (2018). Analysing qualitative data. Qualitative Methods for Health Research (4th ed.) Sage Publications.

Halverson, G., & Brownlee K. (2010). Managing ethical considerations around dual relationships in small rural and remote Canadian communities. International Social Work, 53, 247–260.

Harris, C. (1995). Sensory-based therapy for crisis counsellors. In C. R. Figley (Ed.), Compassion fatigue: Coping with secondary traumatic stress disorder in those who treat the traumatized (pp.101–114). Brunner/Mazel.

Jaklic, A., Solina, F., & Šajn, L. (2017). User interface for a better eye contact in video-conferencing. Displays, 46, 25–36.

Kassam, K. (2001). Life north of 60°: Homeland or frontier? In D. Taras & B. Rasporich Eds.), Passion for identity: Canadian studies for the 21st Century (pp. 433–455). Nelson Thompson Learning.

King, N. (2004). Using templates in the thematic analysis of text. In C. Cassell & G. Symon (Eds.), Essential guide to qualitative methods in organizational research (pp. 257–270). Sage.

Lerias, D., & Byrne, M. K. (2003). Vicarious traumatization: Symptoms and predictors. Stress and Health, 19(3), 129–138.

Lester, N. (2010). Compassion fatigue: Nicola Lester asks whether clinical supervision should be compulsory to prevent nurses from becoming burned out. Mental Health Practice, 14(2), 11.

Mailloux, S. (2014). The ethical imperative: Special considerations in the trauma counseling process. Traumatology: An International Journal, 20(1), 50–56.

Malone, J. L. (2010). Reflections of a rural practitioner. Canadian Journal of Counselling & Psychotherapy, 44(4), 438–440.

Malone, J. L. (2011). Professional practice out of the urban context: Defining Canadian rural psychology. Canadian Psychology, 52(4), 289–295.

Malone, J. L. (2012). Ethical professional practice: Multigenerational trauma in a rural Aboriginal community. Rural and Remote Health, 12, 1891.

Malone, J. L., & Dyck, K. G. (2011). Professional ethics in rural and northern Canadian psychology. Canadian Psychology, 52(3), 206–214.

Mathieu, F. (2012). Compassion fatigue. In C.R. Figley (Ed.), Encyclopedia of trauma. Sage Publications.

Mental Health Commission of Canada. (2014). E-mental health in Canada: Transforming the mental health system using technology.

Merriman, J. (2015). Enhancing counselor supervision through compassion fatigue education. Journal of Counseling & Development, 93(3), 370–378.

Middleton, J. S. & Potter, C. C. (2015). Relationship between vicarious traumatization and turnover among child welfare professionals. Journal of Public Child Welfare, 9(2), 195–216.

Miller, B., & Sprang, G. (2017). A components-based practice and supervision model for reducing compassion fatigue by affecting clinician experience. Traumatology, 23(2), 153–164.

Ministerial Advisory Council on Rural Health. (2002). Rural health in rural hands: Strategic directions for rural, remote, northern, and Aboriginal communities.

Mitchell, D. L., & MacDougall, M. M. (2016). eSupervision: Challenges of text-based clinical supervision in an online world. In B. Shepard, B. Robinson, & L. Martin, (Eds.), Clinical supervision of the Canadian counselling and psychotherapy profession (pp. 379-394). Canadian Counselling and Psychotherapy Association.

Molnar, B. E., Killian, K. D., Emery, V., Sprang, G., Gottfried, R., & Bride, B. E. (2017). Advancing science and practice for vicarious traumatization/secondary traumatic stress: A research agenda. Traumatology, 23(2), 129–142.

Monthuy-Blanc, J., Bouchard Maïano, C., & Seguin, M. (2013). Factors influencing mental health providers’ intention to use telepsychotherapy in First Nations communities. Transcultural Psychiatry 50(2), 323–343.

Munchel, B. F. (2015). Exploratory study of counseling professionals' attitudes toward distance clinical supervision (No. 5997). [Doctoral dissertation, University of Southern Florida]. University of Southern Florida Scholars Commons.

Murphy, L. J., & Mitchell, D. L. (2016). The essentials of online clinical practice. In N. Gazzola, M. Buchanan, O. Sutherland, & S. Nuttgens (Eds.), Canadian handbook of counselling and psychotherapy (pp. 323–339). Canadian Counselling and Psychotherapy Association.

Neswald-Potter, R., & Trippany Simmons, R. (2016). Regenerative supervision: A restorative approach for counsellors impacted by vicarious trauma. Canadian Journal of Counselling and Psychotherapy, 50(1), 75–90.

Nixon, J. C., & West, J. F. (1995). Intercultural preparation for managers going to Japan. American Journal of Business, 10(2), 57–64.

O’Hara, D. (2013). Hope in counselling and psychotherapy. Sage Publications.

O’Neill, L. (2010). Northern helping practitioners and the phenomena of secondary trauma. Canadian Journal of Counselling and Psychotherapy, 44(2), 130–149.

O'Neill, L., George, S., Koehn, C., & Shepard, B. (2013). Informal and formal mental health: Preliminary qualitative findings. International Journal of Circumpolar Health, 72(1).

O’Neill, L., Koehn, C., George, S., & Shepard, B. (2016). Mental health provision in Northern Canada: Practitioners’ views on negotiations and opportunities in remote practice. International Journal of Advancement of Counselling, 38(2), 124–143. https://

Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-term Care. (2011). Rural and northern health care framework/plan.

Pardo, A., & Siemens, G. (2014). Ethical and privacy principles for learning analytics. British Journal of Educational Technology, 45(3), 438–450.

Pearlman, L. A., & Saakvitne, K. W. (1995). Trauma and the therapist: Countertransference and vicarious traumatization in psychotherapy with incest survivors. W. W. Norton

Perle, J. G., & Nierenberg, B. (2013). How psychological telehealth can alleviate society's mental health burden: A literature review. Journal of Technology in Human Services, 31(1), 22–41.

Pong, R. W., & Pitblado, R. J. (2005). Geographic distribution of physicians in Canada: Beyond how many and where. Canadian Institute for Health Information.

Rassmusen. B. (2019). The effects of trauma treatment on the therapist. In S. S. Ringel & J. R. Brandell (Eds.), Trauma: Contemporary directions in theory, practice and research (2nd ed., pp. 354-383). Sage.

Rousmaniere, T. (2014). Using technology to enhance clinical supervision and training. In C.E. Watkins & D. L. Milne (Eds.), The Wiley international handbook of clinical supervision (pp. 204–237). Wiley.

Rousmaniere, T., & Frederickson, J. (2016). Remote live supervision: Videoconference for one-way-mirror supervision. In T. Rousmaniere & E. Renfro-Michel (Eds.), Using technology to enhance clinical supervision (pp.157–173). American Counselling Association.

Rousmaniere, T., Renfro-Michel, E., & Spinella, L. (2016). Technological innovations in clinical supervision: Promises and challenges. In T. Rousmaniere & E. Renfro-Michel. (Eds). Using technology to enhance clinical supervision (pp. 3-18). Wiley.

Richards, N. M., & King, J. H. (2014). Big data ethics. Wake Forest Law Review, 49, 393–432.

Saldaña, J. (2013). The coding manual for qualitative researchers (2nd ed.). Sage.

Schell, D. (2018). Guidelines for uses of technology in counselling and psychotherapy: Technology and innovative solutions chapter project. Canadian Counselling Psychology Association.

Schank, J. (1998). Ethical issues in rural counselling practice. Canadian Journal of Counselling and Psychotherapy, 32(4), 270–283.

Slade, S., & Prinsloo, P. (2013). Learning analytics: Ethical issues and dilemmas. American Behavioral Scientist, 57, 1510–1529.

Slipp, M. C. (2020). Video-Conferencing clinical supervision of rural, remote and Northern counsellors to mitigate compassion fatigue. (Publication no. 10791) [Doctoral dissertation, Athabasca University]. DTheses.

Sommer, C. (2008). Vicarious traumatization, trauma-sensitive supervision, and counselor preparation. Counselor Education & Supervision, 48(1), 61–71.

Snowdon, E. (2019). Permanent record. Metropolitan Books. Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada. (2015). Calls to action.

United Nations News. (2017, March 17) UN Broadband Commission urges public-private partnerships to reach 'the unconnected.'

Vaismoradi M., Salsali M., & Mark P. (2011). Patient safety: Nursing students’ perspectives and the role of nursing education to provide safe care. International Nursing Review, 58(4), 434–442.

Wheeler, S., & Richards, K. (2007). The impact of clinical supervision on counsellors and therapists, their practice and their clients. A systematic review of the literature. Counselling and Psychotherapy Research, 7(1), 54–65.

Wood, J. A. V., Miller, T. W., & Hargrove, D. S. (2005). Clinical supervision in rural settings: A telehealth model. Professional Psychology: Research and Practice, 36(2), 173–179.

Yin, R. K. (2006). Mixed methods research: Are the methods genuinely integrated or merely parallel? Research in the Schools, 13(1), 41–47.

Yin, R. K. (2012). Applications of case study research [eBook version]. Sage.

Yin, R. K. (2018). Case study research: Design and methods (6th ed.). Sage.

Zwitter, A. (2014). Big data ethics. Big Data & Society, 1–6.




How to Cite

Slipp, M. (2021). Support to Rural, Remote, and Northern Counsellors: The Unique Features Inherent to Video-Conferencing Technology. The Open/Technology in Education, Society, and Scholarship Association Journal, 1(1), 1–21.



Research Articles