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Telephone Counseling

  1. Robert J. Reese

Published Online: 30 JAN 2010

DOI: 10.1002/9780470479216.corpsy0978

Corsini Encyclopedia of Psychology

Corsini Encyclopedia of Psychology

How to Cite

Reese, R. J. 2010. Telephone Counseling. Corsini Encyclopedia of Psychology. 1–2.

Author Information

  1. University of Kentucky

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 30 JAN 2010


Telephone counseling refers to the delivery of counseling services for a variety of mental health and life problem concerns via the telephone. Services range from crisis lines provided by paraprofessionals to traditional mental health counseling provided by licensed mental health professionals. Telephone counseling was born out of the development of crisis intervention services, including suicide and teen hotlines, in the 1950s. Such services proliferated in the 1960s and 1970s and were typically provided by paraprofessionals who were trained to refer callers to the appropriate services and/or to provide empathic listening (Hornblow, 1986). The telephone offered an immediate and convenient means to accomplish these goals. These services continue to be provided in many communities today in the United States and internationally.


  • counseling;
  • telehealth;
  • telemedicine;
  • crisis intervention