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Video in Counseling Clinics

At Penn State’s Center for Educational Diagnosis And Remediation, or CEDAR Clinic, video recording is a vital tool for training the future counselors and counseling supervisors enrolled in its master’s and doctoral programs. The clinic uses video recording of training activities like counseling sessions and pre-practicum role-playing exercises. These activities give its students irreplaceable educational information.

While video has proved an invaluable tool, the CEDAR Clinic found that their previous system wasn’t fully meeting their needs. Technology problems were common. Recordings weren’t
reliable. The system was not accessible to those with disabilities, and the vendor showed no interest in making it accessible.

For Doctor Kristen Nadermann, the CEDAR Clinic Coordinator, there were many reasons the clinic switched to IVS’s VALT system. They wanted a fast, stable, user-friendly video system.
They looked for improvements in accessibility of information for individual supervisors and students to share information between teams while still maintaining privacy for clinic clients. In addition, she stressed the power of the system’s flexibility.

“VALT could allow us to give really quick feedback to a student - immediate, corrective feedback - or to be able to review a student’s work completely remotely,” said Dr. Nadermann. “This is the best of all worlds for both our supervisors and students.”


Simple, robust tools

Each year, roughly fifty students and ten supervisors use video to record and review training activities. Video has improved training immensely,
providing supervisors better information than self-reported recollection of students, facilitating more in depth review and feedback, and boosting
student confidence as they see their progress. “Students can see video right after a session,” said Dr. Nadermann. “We can show them how to
improve, but also, they can see for themselves that they are able to apply skills - it gives them confidence and that ‘aha!’ moment.”

The CEDAR Clinic uses VALT in numerous aspects of its work. Undergraduates at Penn State meet for counseling at the clinic with a Master’s student or doctoral student completing a practicum or internship. These sessions are recorded and evaluated by Doctoral students who are studying to be counselor supervisors. Then, sessions between the counselor supervisors-in-training and counseling students are recorded and evaluated by faculty. These multiple layers of training and recording critically requires that sharing video between numerous groups be both simple and secure.VALT allows each individual in the system the appropriate level of access to recordings to review, share, and make notes on videos that can be retrieved by those designated to have that access. “Making and sharing these recordings is simple,” says Samantha Walker, the Administrative Support Assistant at CEDAR Clinic.

“It is self explanatory,” said Walker. “We didn’t need any manuals, just a single training meeting. VALT is a very easy tool - everyone got it the first time around.”

With numerous levels of access, this ease of use is important. Recordings are stopped and started with a push of a button, either in-person or remotely, and the recordings can be tagged with notes. Sharing video is intuitive and easy while being designed to maximize privacy concern.
These recordings can even be observed remotely on a mobile device, increasing the mobility of instructors and supervisors.


Being compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is a necessity for organizations like CEDAR Clinic, which are part of a publicly funded university. However, this is not merely a legal or theoretical concern for the clinic.

“Currently, we have several students and faculty who have accessibility needs,” said Dr. Nadermann. “A few of our students use a wheelchair, and so we needed a system that they would be able to make use of in terms of control over moving the camera and other issues.”

Other challenges also needed to be met. IVS’s dedication to making the VALT system ADA compliant was a key component in its selection for the clinic. “I worked with Penn State Accessibility to make sure that it met their approval as a tool that would be ADA compliant,” said Samantha Walker. “One of our instructors is blind, and we’ve had students that were blind, so this is a real-world concern for us.”

“This wasn’t something our previous video recording system was responsive to,” added Dr. Nadermann. “Being accessible to those with visual disabilities is important, and so we needed a system where we’d feel comfortable about those features being supported into the future.”

An easy choice.

For CEDAR Clinic, VALT has been a seamless fit.

“I proposed VALT to our department,” said Samantha Walker. “It’s been quite the relief. Our previous system was hard to learn, and the technology was constantly failing. This clinic is designed to help our students. It doesn’t run to make money. We wanted something simpler, easy to use, ADA compliant, and at a price that wasn’t going to break the bank.”

This has been a great fit for the clinic. Walker, who coordinates the clinic’s use of the system, expressed how VALT had been a success at all levels. “VALT is a very easy tool. Less hardware, less cost, and working with IVS has been enjoyable. Everything has just been so easy, and there haven’t been any headaches. To date, we’re very happy with VALT.”

Doctor Nadermann concurred: “I feel very grateful that our clinic has VALT.” 



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