Volunteer Counseling Services in the Context of COVID-19: Compromises and Challenges
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The outbreak of COVID-19 necessitated professional trained psychologists to offer voluntary services leading to online paradigm of counseling intervention. This chapter presents the challenges and compromises some counselors encountered when they assisted individuals who were either infected or affected by COVID-19. The chapter also presented the narratives collected from social media, personal experiences of the authors and communications with their colleagues from Nigeria, South Africa and Uganda. It was realized that counselors faced challenges such as lack of experience, poor internet availability, threatened clients’ perceived privacy and data security and financial implications. Based on the challenges and compromises, the authors recommended counseling regulatory bodies within African countries should generate operative policies to guide provision of e-counseling services. It was also recommended that e-counseling be integrated into its curriculum in order to adequately prepare the student counselors to be effective and efficient e-counselors. The chapter recommended that policy makers of counseling bodies liaison with network providers in alliance with government to negotiate a sustainable service provision, which ought to facilitate telepsychology. The chapter concluded that the COVID-19 counselors are charged with the responsibility of integrating traditional counseling approaches with telepsychology in order to provide relevant services to the clients who need their services.