Counselling students' responses to conducting role‐play activities online: An evaluation of MSc university students

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticlepeer-review


The transition to remote learning in response to the COVID-19 pandemic was unprecedented and unanticipated, resulting in professional courses delivering content and conducting skills-based practice online. For counselling students, placements also transitioned to online, meaning previous skills acquired through face-to-face learning required adapting for remote working. This project sought to evaluate UK-based counselling students' experiences of participating in online role-play activities. Through purposive sampling, individual semi-structured interviews were conducted and analysed applying thematic analysis. The findings indicated participants identified fundamental differences between planned online content compared to the unanticipated transition they experienced due to the pandemic. Whilst varying attitudes were shared, all participants recognised the value of skill acquisition for future employability and all recommended an element of online practice should be embedded in future course delivery. Whilst limited to a specific sample, key recommendations were identified, including the importance of involving students in course development, recognising the importance of diversifying role-play practices for skill development and the application of a transitions model to facilitate understanding of the student experience. Though making some progress towards understanding this unique experience, further evaluations conducted with students from different counselling fields and institutions are required to further strengthen the recommendations made.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)678-688
Number of pages11
JournalCounselling and Psychotherapy Research
Issue number3
Early online date9 Nov 2021
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2022


  • Applied Psychology
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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