Status Update: Perceptions of Counselor Competence on Social Networking Sites

  • Meredith Drew William Paterson University
  • Jeremy Ashton Houska Centenary University
  • Matthew D. Federici Centenary University
Keywords: counselor, social media, competence, professional, perceptions


Social media is an integral part of students’ and our clients’ lives. These sites can be utilized to reach those in need of counseling support. The current study investigated the impact of content and degree of self-disclosure by fictional counselors on Facebook. Graduate counseling students role-played as potential clients and rated the perceived competence level of these fictional professional counselors. It was predicted that a moderate level of appropriate self-disclosure would direct clients to select a particular counselor. Additionally, we hypothesized that status updates related to professional events drive perceptions of counselor competence. Findings of this study revealed specific characteristics of Facebook profiles that evoke high levels of perceived competence and interpersonal warmth. Professional counselors can apply these social media strategies to manage their online presence and foster productive working relationships.

Author Biographies

Meredith Drew, William Paterson University

Meredith Drew is an Assistant Professor of Counselor Education in the Professional Counseling Program at William Paterson University, NJ. Dr. Drew has a Ph.D. in Counselor Education & Supervision; and is a Licensed Professional Counselor-NJ (LPC), National Certified Counselor (NCC) and an Approved Clinical Supervisor (ACS). Dr. Drew is a certified school counselor (NJ) with extensive experience in the schools. Her areas of interests include online education, individual/group counseling, supervision, school counseling, and wellness.  


Jeremy Ashton Houska, Centenary University

Jeremy Ashton Houska, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Psychology, currently serves as the Director of Institutional Research and Assessment at Centenary University in New Jersey. Formerly on the faculty at Centenary (Associate Professor of Psychology), he has published in the areas of social, personality, sport, and cognitive psychology. As an experimental psychologist, he maintained a research lab– the Social/Personality Undergraduate Research Squad (SPURS). As a faculty member, he spent most of his creative energies conducting scholarship in the areas of teaching and learning. He is a past recipient of various teaching awards, which range from “Students’ Favorite Challenging Professor” to the national Wilbert J. McKeachie Teaching Excellence Award from the Society for the Teaching of Psychology (Division 2 of the American Psychological Association).

Matthew D. Federici, Centenary University

Matthew D. Federici received his MA in Clinical and Counseling Psychology from Centenary University.  He has worked in outpatient, school, and group home counseling settings. His primary clinical focus is working with adults, adolescents, and children with depression, anxiety, and oppositional behaviors.  He is a Licensed Associate Counselor and a certified school counselor.