Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access Dissertation


Educational Studies


College of Education

First Advisor

Joshua Gold


This study explored how counseling students in CACREP accredited counselor education program made meaning of and categorize appropriate and inappropriate self-disclosure in the digital age. In particular, how do future counselors consider and apply ethical codes to personal behavior on social media? Utilizing a qualitative design, the researcher explored student decision making and understanding of ethical considerations in the personal use of social media. A vital component to the professionalism of counseling is the constancy of the presentation-of-self in all identities (public, private, in-person, or online) of the counselor. The researcher asserts that there is an ethical obligation of all counselors to consider the observations and interpretations for “client welfare” when engaging in online environments. The researcher discovered a lack of transcendence of ethical considerations between in-person and online disclosure. This awareness awakened a need for guidance from faculty and a yearning for discussion of appropriate use and ethical considerations.


© 2016, Katherine H. DeWitt