C. Wayne Perry

Constructing personal identity through an online community: Distance supervision in a graduate counseling and a graduate marriage and family therapy program

by C. Wayne Perry
School of Human Services
Amridge University

While distance education is solidly entrenched in the American educational scene, clinical training using distance learning technology is not yet so clearly accepted. A review of the literature found very few studies of the use of Internet technology for clinical training. This study used semi-structured interviews combined with Giorgi’s method of phenomenological analysis of experiences of students and site supervisors involved in the Amridge University clinical training program. The purpose of the study was to examine the process by which master’s degree students are able to construct their professional identity in a virtual environment. Both supervisors and students reported phenomenological evidence that professional identity can in fact be constructed through group interactions based in an Internet class experience.