Working Online to Bring Coaching, Counselling and Psychotherapy into Recovery, Wellness & Healthcare – demonstrating the importance of the online therapeutic relationship

Session Summary:

My book “Psychotherapy 2.0” (Weitz 2014 ) summarises where we are: Web “2.0” relates to the relational, focussing on online interaction, for example through social media; Web 1.0 was about information gathering. 3.0, the internet of things will take us to new places, “the intelligent web”.

Since writing Psychotherapy 2.0 and setting in place some corner stones for working safely online, I have started to explore the online therapeutic relationship. Susan Simpson from the University of South Australia has delivered statistics and evidence in spades to prove the effectiveness of the online relationship, which draws a real line in the sand in terms of substantial evidence for the effectiveness in working therapeutically online. I am now studying how different modalities online and different groups that might really find therapy online useful, such as those with ADHD, or issues of shame.

In the first part of my presentation I will aim to explore some of the potential and possibilities for different modalities for working online. Are we creating new theoretical models for working online, adapting existing ones, or combining them? Or, is it, to misquote a famous quote, “What works for whom?”.

Secondly, whilst we talk of theoretical models, the therapeutic work appears far more collaborative, and in the online consulting room this changes the power. However, even with this more collaborative way of working it is the therapist’s duty as outlines in the various ethical guidelines, to manage the therapeutic setting, to ensure the client, and their material is, for example, safe. This includes thinking about issues of confidentiality, security, assessment, informed consent and contract. Managing all these items is well beyond the scope of a short workshop but at least we can glance at these as an underlining of the important of all counsellors and psychotherapists wishing to work online to undertake a specialist training to work online. After all you’d not dream of calling yourself an art therapist merely because you have some paints, or can draw!

The final part of the workshop will discuss different client groups and how working online might well open a door for them. This includes children and young people, those with ADHD and autism, or agoraphobia, those for whom shame is a major issue, as well as the many clients for whom getting to therapy is impossible either because of geography or personal circumstances.

Working online is truly exciting and effectiveness and this presentation is designed to inspire you to look at the riches that available in the online therapeutic relationship and the effectiveness in this format for therapeutic work, when we take the blinkers of our eyes, or as House et al (2014) put it:

“Dare I (or we) let go of the things I hold sacred, the things I know (or think I know), in order to allow something new, something more integrated and holistic to flourish in myself and in the world?”

Psychotherapy 2.0: Where Psychotherapy and Technology Meet, (2014) Karnac Books: London

Articles around this subject written by Susan Simpson and colleagues can be found at

House, R, Kalisch, D, Maidman, J. (2014) Forty Years on from Carl Rogers… and the only Constant is Still Change, in Self & Society, Volume 41, No 2 Winter 2014 p.4

Session topics:


How effective working online is to those clients who choose this methods.



Different client groups, that for the first time ever, can have access to help because of the uniquity of being online



Evidence of research proving the power of the online therapeutic relationship



Current security, confidentiality and jurisdiction issues involved in working online