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New ACTO Chair aims to raise the standards of online therapy

It is easy to do therapy online; but it is difficult to do therapy online well,

Raising standards and making ACTO the go-to place for online counselling and psychotherapy. Those are the two principal goals of ACTO’s new Chair, Adrian Rhodes, who leads the volunteer Board of Directors with representatives from across the profession. And for Adrian, the new role comes at a time of fundamental change as the world adjusts to life during the Covid-19 pandemic, necessitating innovative ways of working for counsellors and psychotherapists.

The lockdown and the introduction of social distancing measures have resulted in a massive increase in the numbers of psychotherapists and counsellors seeking to work online. Earlier this year, ACTO responded by publishing security and privacy guidance for practitioners providing online therapy. However, further work is needed as practitioners and services adapt to the technology and ways of engaging with their clients.

Adrian, who qualified as a psychotherapist in the 1980s, worked as a psychotherapist in the NHS and is also an Honorary Canon in the Church of England, believes that the growth in practitioners and services working online is a positive response to the crisis; however, it offers fresh challenges too, to ensure that a high standard of quality is provided. As Chair, Adrian is committed to leading the organisation in this exciting, albeit challenging, new phase of its history.

ACTO is a body with a clear objective: to support counsellors and psychotherapists who work online. With 15 years’ experience, we believe that this knowledge and expertise is invaluable at the current time.

Clearly, the landscape that practitioners and training providers operate in has been transformed since the start of the pandemic. Since March, many psychotherapists and counsellors have started to work online, some with limited experience and training.  The need to equip our colleagues with the right skills and expertise is therefore urgent. It is easy to do therapy online; but it is difficult to do therapy online well.

ACTO priorities

To make these transformative changes, ACTO will build up its repository of resources and knowledge around online therapy. Furthermore, as an organisation we will drive up standards of practice and training, provide information about working internationally and improve access to key research.

The goal: for ACTO to be the ‘go-to’ place for discussion and debate for psychotherapists and counsellors.

ACTO provides a range of services to its members, including a directory for therapists and supervisors, forums for practitioners to discuss relevant issues and access to digital tools.

If you would like to enquire about joining ACTO or find out more regarding our work, please go to the ACTO website or get in touch.

Adrian M. Rhodes

Chair, ACTO

One reply on “New ACTO Chair aims to raise the standards of online therapy”

It’s all very well to talk about raising the standards of online work, but until we have really good connectivity throughout the UK that remains an unattainable goal. I do not live in the middle of nowhere, but in a small town in the Scottish Borders. It is rare indeed that I get through an hour’s counselling session with no video or audio issues, though as long as the client’s connectivity is OK we can manage. However, I have had to tell two clients so far (both in the south of England) that we can’t work by video as their system isn’t up to it.

Mostly it is just-just good enough but I am aware how much extra energy and concentration I have to put into being fully present to someone when neither their face nor their voice is totally sharp and either may break up at any point.

When it is possible and safe to do so I shall return to face to face work with a huge sigh of relief, looking forward to less exhaustion and fewer headaches.