The Use of Text Messaging for Peer Support Among Counselling Psychology Graduate Students


  • Rae Kokotailo University of Calgary
  • Alysha Chan Kent University of Calgary
  • Alexander Choy University of Calgary


Peer support, text messaging, counselling psychology, graduate students, focused ethnography


The journey through graduate school to become a counselling psychologist is inherently challenging. Consequently, many students face emotional stress. Peers offer a unique source of support through a shared understanding of their experience. This pilot study used focused ethnography to understand how counselling psychology graduate students engage in emotional support with a peer through the use of text messaging within a naturalistic context. A three-member peer support group, comprising the researchers, served as the convenience sample. In this manner, the researchers both took part in and analyzed the experience of text messaging based peer support. Transcripts of emotional peer support interactions were obtained through sampling the participant-observers’ naturally occurring text message conversations. Elements of Braun and Clarke’s thematic analysis (TA) and Elo and Kyngäs’ content analysis (CA) were used to categorize the raw data. The main findings indicate peer support bilaterally encompasses action, connection, disclosure, hearing, initiation, shared happiness, and solidarity. Within a support conversation, supporters predominantly used connection statements, whereas supportees mainly utilized emotional disclosure. These preliminary findings suggest that text messaging offers an immediate, intimate, and readily available platform through which peers can actively create a supportive dialogue.




How to Cite

Kokotailo, R., Chan Kent, A., & Choy, A. (2018). The Use of Text Messaging for Peer Support Among Counselling Psychology Graduate Students. Emerging Perspectives: Interdisciplinary Graduate Research in Education and Psychology, 2(1), 1–17. Retrieved from



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