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Integrative Online Counselling



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Nov 12

Considering Online (Distance) Counselling?

Posted by admin  filed under online counselling, safety, encryption, BACP, cyberworld, Acto, professionals, online communications   0 Comment(s)    Add a Comment  comment-icon.png

Virtual Office

With counsellors now taking their expertise and practice into the cyber world, they are now able to offer emotional and psychological therapies through blended technological communication methods for individuals wishing to access support from the comfort of their own home. This  may be a reassuring concept, for those whom prefer to express their thoughts, feelings and experiences through alternative methods other than the traditional way we may have become accustomed too.

As we move into this inviting  and new domain to access counselling, there may be some uncertainty or questions arsing from the public in terms of safety protocols with regards to personal information and disclosure,  such as: How can I be sure my personal information, identity and our communications will be private and secure? Are all face to face counsellors qualified to offer online counselling? What safety measures do I need to consider before accessing online support services?

I have included below some further considerations for those wishing to try online therapy:

Many counsellors whom offer their services online are most likely qualified face to face counsellors, which is essential in order to practice with individuals therapeutically, many may think that this entitles them to work therapeutically through online technology. Although qualified face to face counsellors are approved to offer their service in the traditional way, they would need to have completed specialist online training in therapy to ensure that they have considered all safety and privacy measures when working with individuals online. Protecting individuals personal data and identity is paramount for online trained counsellors in the cyber world. There are also considerations around working in diverse therapeutic settings that differ from from traditional face to face counselling such as; the lack of physical and auditory cues that need additional training to work with.

The BACP (British Association in Counselling and Psychotherapy) follow the online Ethical Framework for ensuring individuals safety and request that counsellors and psychotherapists adhere by the ethical guidlines and complete specialist online therapy training to at least a Diploma level before practicing with individuals through technology. The Assosiation for Counselling and Therapy Online (ACTO) is an online assosiation that only offers membership to counsellors that have obtained online specialist training or extensive experience.

As we can not guarentee the internet to be an entirely safe place, counsellors would need to ensure that they have taken all safety measures in accordance with the Data protection act with regards to storing and protecting individuals personal data, from unauthorised access. As some websites do not offer complete security for online interaction to take place, therapeutic communications would need to be held in fully encrypted and secured platforms and email channels which can not be intercepted, to keep your discussions and identity private and confidential.

You can check  to see how a counsellor  may be able to work with you, their privacy and confidentiality procedures, safety and security protocols by visiting their website and scrolling to their; Client agreement (Informed consent) page or under the privacy or terms of use section.

So, before considering online counselling, check if:

  • the counsellors training and qualifications entitles them to practice online with individuals
  • your personal information will be securely stored in an encrypted file
  • the counsellor is a member, registered or accredited by a governing body and they follow the online ethical framework
  • onlne therapeutic communications are held in fully encrypted platforms and email channels
  • you understand and agree how a counsellor may work with you


Once you have considered saftey and security measures when working online with a counsellor, it may give you the reassurance and piece of mind to focus on what really brought you to online counselling.


                                    Author: Hulya Kusella, Integrative online counsellor, founder of Healthier Dimensions.


Assosiations supporting the online ethical framework.

BACP (British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy)

ACTO (Assosiation for Counselling and Therapy Online)


For Data protection:

Data protection act 1998

Articles on the efficiacy of online therapy:

CNN article:  Online Therapy; Good as Face to Face?

Science daily: psychotherapy online as good as if not better than face2face consultations



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