Child, Youth, and Family Studies, Department of


Date of this Version



Journal of Marital and Family Therapy 46(2): 201–217 doi: 10.1111/jmft.12431


2020 American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy


There is mounting evidence that telemental health is an effective delivery method for treating a variety of mental, emotional, behavioral, and relational health problems. While many of the therapeutic skills leading to the effectiveness of face-to-face treatments are transferable, the effectiveness of telemental health requires unique skills. The purpose of this phenomeno- logical study was to determine the experience of learning how to use videoconferencing to deliver relationally focused mental health care. Participants included 10 graduates of a COAMFTE-accredited master’s degree program emphasizing training in telemental health. Each student had practicum placements that required videoconferencing to deliver relation- ally based psychotherapy. Analysis of interview data revealed (a) personal reservations about distance delivery; (b) the importance of scaffolding student learning through curricu- lum, supervision, and mental health-care delivery protocols; (c) the technological barriers associated with this delivery method; and (d) overcoming technological barriers through intentionality.