Selected factors influencing utilization of digital technology in counselling: a case of Kenya universities professional counselors association (KUPCA) in Kenya
Wangari, Runnoh Goretti
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Technological knowledge is vital in every profession and counselling is not excluded. Unfortunately, many mental health service professionals especially counsellors have not yet fully embraced utilization of digital technology in counselling. Efficient utilization of digital technology in counselling enables counsellors perform various counselling tasks which include and not limited to counselling process, client appointments, report writing, record keeping, making clinical assessment and testing, consultation and client referral among other which enables them to be professionally competitive. The purpose of the study was to investigate selected factors influencing utilization of digital technology in counselling among Kenya Universities Professionals Counsellors Association (KUPCA) members in Kenya. KUPCA is composed of professional counsellors who practice counselling in Kenya Private and public universities. The researcher aimed at finding out what technological knowledge counsellors have in accomplishing various counselling tasks, the extent to which perception and ethical standards influence utilization of digital technology and strategies that can be used to help counsellors improve on utilization of digital technology in counselling practice. The study applied descriptive research design and used total population sampling a type of purposive sampling technique. The sample size was 120 KUPCA members. Data was collected by use of online questionnaire and interview. The reliability of the tools was verified through piloting which was done through selected University Counsellors in Nakuru County. Validity of the instrument was ensured through content validation through expert judgment. The data collected was processed and analyzed using both inferential and descriptive statistics, which was correlation and regression models and descriptive statistics that entailed frequency counts, percentages, means and standard deviations with the aid of Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS) version 22.0. The findings revealed that the most effectively utilized digital technology was the use of computer related technology and mobile phones, followed by use of mobile phones/smart phones. It was also clear that the most frequently used digital technology was use of computer related technology. Counsellor’s perception had a significant effect on utilization of digital technology. Ethical standards also had a moderate extent of influence in utilization of digital technology. Standard multiple regression model revealed that counsellors’ perception and ethical standards had a high influence on utilization of digital technology. The study realized certain strategies could improve counsellors’ utilization of digital technology. They included; counsellor education programmes on the importance of digital technology, a review of ethical standards and facilitation of resources to motivate counsellors to utilize digital technology. These findings may be used to advocate on counsellor professional utilization of digital technology in enhancing counselling competency and efficiency, improving counselling delivery in Kenyan Institutions of learning, and designing a curriculum that is inclusive of technological components.