Abstract The purpose of this study was to examine language formality and informality in online counseling sessions. Specifically, the author compared undergraduate student (n = 224) perceptions of college counselors' use of informal language and mirroring of client's formality in four mock online counseling scenarios. A multivariate analysis of covariance found significant differences between conditions. Pairwise analyses revealed that counselors who used informal language following their client's formal expressions were perceived as having less expertise. However, language mirroring seemed to moderate perceptions of expertise when counselors followed their client's informal language use.
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