Date of Award


Culminating Project Type


Degree Name

Rehabilitation Counseling: M.S.


Community Psychology, Counseling and Family Therapy


School of Health and Human Services

First Advisor

Amy Hebert Knopf

Second Advisor

Emily Lund

Third Advisor

Phyllis Greenberg

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

Keywords and Subject Headings

sign language interpreters, VRS, case conferencing, occupational stress, qualitative study, demand control schema, deaf and hard of hearing


Many sign language interpreters working within Video Relay Services (VRS) experience more occupational stress than interpreters working in community settings (Dean, Pollard, & Samar, 2010). There exists a lack of research to guide the field of sign language interpreting in coping strategies that can be used to decrease the stress and burnout that is endemic to working in VRS. This qualitative research case study explores how case conferencing can be strategic in mitigating stress and increasing retention in the field. Case conferencing combined with Dean and Pollard’s Demand Control Schema is a relatively recent approach for critical thinking and ethical decision making in the field of sign language interpreting. This researcher found that case conferencing can be a useful vehicle for ameliorating the stressful effects of working in VRS. Focus groups were conducted with VRS interpreters who participated in case conferencing workshops that were facilitated by the researcher between 2013 and 2017. Themes of effectively reducing stress, application of skills, integration of practice, increased retention and a more positive professional community were derived from the participants in the focus groups. The elements of validation and empathy combined with a group format for case conferencing could be used to increase VRS’ interpreters’ self-efficacy. Case conferencing, in turn, may result in improved access for consumers who are deaf and hard of hearing who utilize telecommunication services.



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