This page has been set up to honour the memory of Kate Anthony and for ACTO members to share their memories of Kate. If you want to contribute please let us know and we will add your contribution.
Please also visit the official memorial page set up by the family.
Tributes to Kate Anthony
Dr Kate Anthony: a pivotal figure and influence for online therapy
ACTO Patron Anne Stokes recalls Kate’s passion for embracing technology without dropping ethical practice
Thinking back over the almost 25 years during which I have been involved in Online Therapy in one form or another, I’m aware that my journey has been crisscrossed by encounters with Kate, some planned and some happenstances. From the turn of the century when we were all pioneers, Kate was a pivotal figure and influencer. Probably she, more than anyone else, managed to bring into BACP’s awareness the new emerging world of online counselling and authored their first set of guidelines.
I remember when Gill Jones and I set up the OCTIA conferences (Online Counselling and Therapy in Action) Kate was one of our first speakers and conducted a live interview with a colleague on another continent. That doesn’t sound remarkable now, but it was groundbreaking then.
Kate was always a pioneer and enthusiastic about new possibilities. Experiences in Second Life with Kate were fun and when I think of Second Life, it reminds me of how willing she was to change and develop as technology changed and developed. No holding on to the past for Kate!
Others will no doubt say more about her published research and textbooks, but when I think of time spent with Kate over many years, what I recall is her lively mind, her sharp intellect, and her desire for us all to embrace what is possible technologically without dropping ethical practice or forgetting that clients, supervisees and trainees are at the heart of all we do.
Kate, you will be much missed. A life cut short, but your influence will remain.
About Dr Kate Anthony
Dr Kate Anthony was the co-founder of the Online Therapy Institute, a fellow of the BACP and a Honorary Fellow of ACTO. Kate was an expert on online therapy and digital mental health, publishing a wealth of resources which can be found here. Kate died in July 2023.
Anne was a senior accredited BACP counsellor, a supervisor and trainer. She was a pioneer in introducing online therapy into the UK and has written widely on the subject. For many years, she directed Online Training Ltd, as well as founding the Online Counselling and Therapy in Action Conferences with her co-director, Gill Jones.
She was instrumental in setting up the Association for Counselling and Therapy Online and also worked with BACP to develop guidelines and curricula for Online Therapy and Training.
Nearly 25 years ago, Kate and I met online. Those were the days of listservs and Yahoo Groups and we had both joined the International Society for Mental Health Online (ISMHO). During conversation we discovered common ground, having both experienced support through the interwebs while we were homebound- she broke her ankle, and I had acquired a respiratory illness. In our efforts to make sense of working from home in the early days of the internet, we both discovered how powerful the internet could be to garner support through difficult times. Since we were both trained psychotherapists, we made that next leap, beginning to conceptualize online therapy. ISMHO was a place for those of us who dared. Within a few years we both served as presidents of the organization and had already begun collaborating on projects.
Kate came to the U.S. on several occasions, and much was accomplished on U.S. soil. Our first book, Therapy Online: A Practical Guide was literally written in my living room. We conceptualized and launched TILT Magazine and we wrote many articles, book chapters and curricula, sometimes sitting in the same room and often from across the pond communicating via chat, email, telephone and Skype. Kate’s husband Stephen cheered us on and we always welcomed his academic and editing prowess. We launched the Online Therapy Institute in 2008. We taught and presented across the globe, spreading the gospel of online therapy- from NYC to London, Australia, Africa and even Second Life. But mostly, we became dear friends. Besties. Our synergy was palpable.
We completed another writing project late last year. I didn’t know it would be our last. We co-wrote a chapter about numinous moments in online coaching to be published in an edited book. I turned in that book manuscript a week before Kate died. It is an appropriate topic for our final curtain call together as numinosity can be defined as awe-inspiring. And Kate was certainly that. I will miss my friend and academic muse.
Dr. DeeAnna Merz Nagel, co-founder of Online Therapy Institute, is a licensed psychotherapist and board certified coach in the United States. In addition to her specialisms in online therapy and online coaching, she teaches the ethical integration of alternative and psychospiritual approaches in practice. DeeAnna holds several certifications in the healing arts including Reiki and aromatherapy. She provides training, consultation and clinical supervision across the globe.
“A daring pioneer for online therapy”
Lesley Simpson-Gray, integrative child and adolescent psychotherapist, pays her tribute to
Dr Kate Anthony
It was April 2020 – COVID had led to nationwide school closures, social distancing had shaped every aspect of life, and the structure of my face-to-face therapy practice began to fall apart. Suddenly, a wave of panic took over as counsellors and psychotherapists across the world struggled to find a way to support their clients.
My introduction to Kate and OTI
I came across Kate Anthony and OTI during an online search for some guidance so I could weigh up the pros and cons of online therapy. I had come home early after a day’s worth of cancelled sessions – so a free training course seemed too good to miss.
I finished it in a couple of hours; maybe I could convince my supervisor that online therapy could provide an alternative. As I worked through the modules I was both surprised and comforted by the depth and range of areas it covered, and how practical and accessible it all was. It was as though Kate and her team had known all along that a time would come when the world would need online therapy. That day had come and without hesitation I signed up to the full training, but I had somehow forgotten to select the module to work online with children. A couple of emails to rectify my login led to my first brief chat with Kate. I was struck by how quickly she replied and how clear and calm she sounded, given the fact that she was running a course in the middle of a global pandemic that thousands of therapists would probably need.
I immersed myself in every module, framework, theory, article and video – it was a wonderful distraction from the COVID-driven chaos that had taken over the world. I could complete it at my own pace and revisit the modules as many times as I needed, which suited my way of learning. The tutors seemed knowledgeable, experienced and genuinely interested in being part of a vibrant community of learners.
A final interview provides a real turning point
But it was my final interview with Kate that provided the real turning point. At the end she asked me a fairly standard question, but the moment has stayed with me ever since. She wanted to know what I would be doing with my new qualification, and I said that I was going to practice online, probably for the foreseeable future. Thinking that Kate’s interest would go no further, I waited for her to end the call, but instead, she asked whether I had thought of doing a PhD to develop my ideas. I was totally shocked – I had just finished my master’s degree, a training where my self-worth and capability to practice had been challenged throughout. She listened patiently as I blamed my hesitation on my dyslexia, lack of time and money and that given my experiences, pursuing a PhD could be disastrous. Kate quietly absorbed it all, nodding knowingly, and then convinced me that issues like this shouldn’t stop me from pushing my ideas further, and that academia needed people just like me.
By the end of our brief conversation, she had diffused every fear and left me with a lasting sense that I should have a chat with her husband Stephen to explore the possibility of a PhD at Metanoia. I firmly believed that if someone as influential as Kate could be as excited and interested in what I had to say about working online then it was worth exploring more. The impact of that conversation has fuelled my passion, purpose and drive for what I’ve done online ever since. There was something awakened in that conversation; it was about being seen, accepted and given permission to be completely myself. Kate welcomed me to cyberspace as a person and a professional. And I will never forget it. Since that conversation, I have proudly used the title Cybertherapist. If Dr Kate Anthony was brave enough to do it, then so could I.
Kate’s lasting legacy
Sadly, I didn’t get the chance to meet Kate in person or speak to her again, but this simply proves that we should never underestimate the profoundly meaningful connections we can have online, even though the briefest encounters. I deeply value Kate’s willingness to share her heart and passion with me and thousands of others, whether it’s though Online Therapy Institute, her publications or by simply being a daring pioneer. She has left us a legacy to continue to use cyberspace as an effective, accepting, therapeutic space for everyone.
About Dr Kate Anthony
Dr Kate Anthony was the co-founder of the Online Therapy Institute, a fellow of the BACP and a former member of ACTO since 2007. Kate was an expert on online therapy and digital mental health, publishing a wealth of resources which can be found here. Kate died in July 2023.
Lesley Simpson-Gray is a cyber therapist and integrative child and adolescent psychotherapist, a registered member of BACP and a director of ACTO. Lesley runs her own online practice working for local authorities, private clients and primary schools across the UK.
Dr Kate Anthony: a great loss to the online therapy community
Mieke Haveman gives her appreciation of Kate, a pioneer of online therapy
Although I did not know Kate Anthony very well, we were fellow members of ACTO for many years I would like to share my remembrances of her.
When I was orientating to start working online in 2010 I came across the OCTIA conference and for that first year I watched it online. Kate was one of the speakers and one of the people who inspired me from the get-go. Her presentations were always so vivid and fun to follow and made us think about what the future would look like. At times they even scared us! Or certainly the less tech minded in the audience. Much of what she spoke about more than ten years ago has come to pass.
A year later I was able to come to the OCTIA conference in Bristol in person and was really surprised at how kind and approachable Kate was in person.
After that we did meet a few times more at conferences but mostly online. She continued to inspire and help the online therapy world move forward. She, DeeAnna and Stephen did so much ground work on which all of us have been able to build.
TILT magazine is another great example of that, it was a free resource filled with knowledge about working online, so much time and care was poured into that to help us all gain knowledge.
Even last year when we approached Kate about our annual ACTO conference she was enthusiastic but at that point already too ill to contribute.
We all hoped that she would beat the odds. First the strokes from which she recovered with so much courage and determination. And then she shared her fight with cancer with us on Facebook and we all kept hoping that she would beat this as well.
It is a great loss to the online therapy community that we have lost Kate at such a young age. It is an ever greater loss to her family and many friends to lose such an inspiring and lovely human being. Our thoughts of the ACTO community are with her husband Stephen and her good friend and business partner DeeAnna.
About Dr Kate Anthony
Dr Kate Anthony was the co-founder of the Online Therapy Institute, a fellow of the BACP and an honorary fellow of ACTO. Kate was an expert on online therapy and digital mental health, publishing a wealth of resources which can be found here. Kate died in July 2023.
Mieke lives in the Netherlands and is a member of ACTO as well as a former online counsellor.