Practitioner Response to Parental Need: how do they match?


Single session email consultations in web-based parenting support may be used for a variety of reasons. Parents may be looking for information on developmental needs of children, for suggestions to improve their parenting skills, or for referrals to helpful resources. The way the practitioner meets the needs of parents, choosing a short-term and text-based approach, has not been analyzed up till now.


To determine if and how practitioner response in single session email consultation matches the need of parents.


A content analysis of single session email consultations (129 questions; 5,997 response sentences) was conducted. Three perspectives on the parent–practitioner communication were distinguished to assess the match between parenting questions and consultations, i.e., the expert oriented, parent oriented and context oriented perspective.


The parent oriented type is the dominant paradigm in requesting and providing email consultations, with which the other types may be combined. Most consultations showed a mixed perspective with the use of a limited amount of techniques within each perspective. Correlations between the practitioner’s approach and parental expectancies were weak.


Professionals have a broad approach to email consultation, offering advice of different perspectives, rather than restricting the advice in order to match a prevalent parental need. All proposed textual techniques were observed in email consultations, providing evidence of their feasibility. Since practice of email consultations is relatively new, practitioners may benefit from the proposed systematic approach to writing email consultations, identifying parental need and permitting the use of professional techniques.

Go to (limited access):

Nieuwboer, C.C., Fukkink, R.G., & Hermanns, J.M.A. Practitioner Response to Parental Need in Email Consultation: How Do They Match? A Content Analysis. Child Youth Care Forum (2014), doi: 10.1007/s10566-014-9253-2.