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Experiences of Counselors Who Provided Psychological Support during COVID-19 Disaster: A Qualitative Study

Jung Eun Kim1, So Yeon Yoo2,*

1 Namgu Mental Health Welfare Center, Daegu, 42424, South Korea
2 Department of Nursing, Kyungil University, Gyeongbuk, 38428, South Korea

* Corresponding Author: So Yeon Yoo. Email: email

International Journal of Mental Health Promotion 2023, 25(5), 687-697.


Background: In crisis intervention sites such as infectious disease disasters, counselors are repeatedly exposed, directly or indirectly, to the traumatic experiences of victims. Disaster counseling has a negative effect on counselors, which can eventually interfere with the counseling process for disaster victims. Therefore, exploring and understanding the experiences of counselors is necessary to ensure that qualitative counseling for disaster victims can be continuously and efficiently conducted. Objectives: This study investigated the experiences of counselors who participated in mental health counseling as psychological support for victims of the COVID-19 disaster in Korea. Design: This is a qualitative study. Participants: The study participants comprised 18 counselors who had mental health professional qualifications of level 2 or higher and who had provided mental health counseling for COVID-19 confirmed cases and quarantined persons. Methods: Data were collected using focus group interviews from February 21 to May 29, 2021. The duration of each interview was 60–90 min, and the data were analyzed using content analysis. Results: The final theme was “Continuing to walk this road anytime, anywhere.” The participants’ experiences were identified in four sub-themes: “being deployed to unprepared counseling,” “encountering various difficulties,” “feeling full of meaning and value,” and “hoping to become a better counselor.” Conclusions: In order to continuously provide qualitative counseling in case of an infectious disease disaster such as COVID-19, it is important to develop a qualification and competency strengthening program through education and training to secure the crisis intervention expertise of counselors according to the characteristics of the disaster. In addition, a psychological support manual for each disaster should be prepared at the national level according to the type of disaster.


Cite This Article

Kim, J. E., Yoo, S. Y. (2023). Experiences of Counselors Who Provided Psychological Support during COVID-19 Disaster: A Qualitative Study. International Journal of Mental Health Promotion, 25(5), 687–697.

cc This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License , which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
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