Episode 49 – Online Counseling vs. Face to Face

Episode 49 – Online Counseling vs. Face to Face

December 18, 2017

Philippa Weitz and Adrian Rhodes

Face to Face Counseling vs. Online Counseling

I’m very glad you’ve chosen to spend some time with us as we explore the world of online counseling. Hopefully learning together from leaders in the field and from each other. Today’s podcast is a little longer than normal because we have two guests instead of our typical one. So I’m gonna keep the intro pretty short, but I know we will probably have some first time listeners. So I just want to say quickly that this podcast is an extension of the Online Counseling Directory, which is a listing service for online therapists and life coaches who are working online, which means that they are seeing their clients via video chat or some other type of electronic-based psychotherapy or coaching.

 

CC: Our entire goal is to help you grow your practice by bringing you new clients, and to help clients all of the world find the therapist that is the right fit for them. If you’re interested in learning more, just go to onlinecounseling.com, and click on List my Practice. We can get you signed up within 10 minutes. We have two plans: One is a month-to-month freedom plan that is $24.95 a month; and the other is a year-long commitment plan, which brings the fee down to around $12.47 a month when you pay for the year upfront. In most cases, if you get just one client and have only one session with that one client, you’re gonna pay for the entire year membership. So, check us out today. Today, I am thrilled to be able to speak to Philippa Weitz and Adrian Rhodes, both from the UK. Regular listeners will, of course, recognize previous guest, Philippa Weitz.

 

CC: I think in the interview I give some biographical information, so I won’t repeat it here. But I will add that she has over 25 years in the mental health field and is the Standards and Ethics Officer for the ACTO, which is the Association for Counselling and Therapy Online. And I promised her I would not gush too much about her. But let’s just leave it at she is a leader in the field of online counseling and has contributed a great deal to it. And Adrian Rhodes, who is a recent graduate of her program, is Manchester born and bred and proud of it. I’ve never been to Manchester, but just speaking with him briefly, it’s on my list. So, again, I give some impressive information on his credentials and the actual interview. But we’ll just say he is incredibly well-known in the field and has made a great contribution to it. Recently, Adrian wrote a blog post about the differences between face-to-face psychotherapy and online therapy. And today’s podcast is primarily a discussion about that topic with these two leaders in the field. I hope you enjoy it.

 

CC: I am thrilled to have two guests from the UK with us today for the show. If you’re a regular listener, of course, you are familiar with Philippa Weitz, who is the Managing Director for pwtraining.com, an online counseling training program in the UK. She’s also the author of Psychotherapy 2.0: Where Psychotherapy and Technology Meet, and a previous guest here on the show. And we also are welcoming today Adrian Rhodes, who is a psychotherapist in Manchester. He is also the past president of the European Association for Psychotherapy, which represents the principal profession in 28 nations. And he is also the past Vice Chair of the UK Council for Psychotherapy. So, we have a distinguished panel today. Adrian and Philippa, thank you so much for joining us.

 

Adrian Rhodes: My pleasure.

 

Philippa Weitz: Yes, it is a pleasure. Lovely to see you again, Clay. I always enjoy the build-up.

 

CC: [laughter] Yeah, I’m trying to tone that down. My wife says, “You’re way too much on that.” [laughter] Today, I wanted to talk a little bit about a recent blog post, Adrian. And first, do you wanna add anything to that introduction, maybe something that I have missed?

 

AR: Oh, I think that’s probably enough for the time being.

 

CC: Okay. I also found it interesting that you’re a clergyman at the Manchester Cathedral.

 

AR: Yes, I am. I was a hospital chaplain for many, many years. And the thought of that, I was spending a lot of time working with staff and working in depth. And as a result of that, I wanted to enhance my counseling skills and trained as a psychotherapist back in the mid and late ’80s.

 

CC: Yes.

 

AR: And then moved into the NHS, left chaplaincy, and moved in to the National Health Service as a psychotherapist working with people with personality disorders. I’m also running a couple of services, which you call a Democratic Therapeutic Community, where the power is handed over to the patients.

 

CC: Interesting.

 

AR: So, yeah, it was quite exciting, really. But I’m now connected with the cathedral in Manchester.

 

CC: When did you begin working online?

 

AR: Well, I think like most therapists, I sort of dabbled a bit. People would Skype me, or they would email me, or they would want to text. And I would do a little bit of it, and just sort of assumed that it was a straightforward but minimal way of doing therapy. And I guess I was not incompetent, but I wasn’t very skilled in looking back. I’m not really mindful of all the pitfalls and technical issues of it.

 

AR: But I guess, having gotten to know Phip more closely in the last year or so, I’ve really taken it much more seriously and thought much more about the principles involved, and the techniques involved, and the opportunities.

 

CC: Now, am I correct that you’ve gone through Pippa’s training?

 

AR: Yes, I’m really only 25 years old. I just look like this because of Pippa’s training.

 

[laughter]

 

CC: Yeah, I wanted to ask what’s that training like? What’s she like as a trainer?

 

AR: Generous, accommodating, warm-hearted, supportive. But don’t let Pippa hear that.

 

CC: Okay, I see that.

 

PW: I was expecting much worse.

 

AR: It is of course, it is demanding. It actually required much more time than I expected, and it’s more of a full-on. It takes quite a number of hours every week. And I’d expected just to soft sail for a reason. You’re on your own, something I do. But actually, it did require me to read and think in a way that I have not done for a while.

 

CC: Is he emblematic of your students, Pippa?

 

PW: Actually, he is, and he was in a group that all sailed through. But they all worked exceedingly hard to sail through. They didn’t sail through on their own. They worked hard to sail through, and they were a great group. And if any of them are listening, I’d like them to know that. They were a great group. They were the first cohort, so they had to suffer some jagged edges in the… As we were still getting a few things sorted out. But the end result is we have some very fine, well-trained therapists, who not only can get the technical bits right, ’cause actually, that’s quite easy to deal with. What is perhaps much more difficult to sort out is people’s… How they work therapeutically online and the relational aspects. I think this brings us directly into the conversation, in a way, because actually we spent the whole of term two on relational material, and how to change what you learned face-to-face and modify it for working online.

 

PW: Adrian is a psycho-analytically trained therapist. This was a really interesting challenge. But I’ve got two equine therapists at the moment, and I’m looking forward to seeing how they’re gonna manage that. So, every cohort of students comes with their different challenges about how to develop working online. And the big thing for me is deal with the technical bits and the bits you’ve just learned, and then spend the time on the therapeutic alliance, the relational aspects.

 

CC: Right, and we do wanna jump into that, but I know that a lot of listeners are going to… I get emails a lot on what are some good training programs, and they’re going to wanna know… First of all, can you tell us a little bit about the link of the program for PW training?

 

PW: Yes, I can give you the link. In fact, I can put it on the… Hang on, let me just say what it is first. It’s pwtacademy.online/diploma-online-counselling-psychotherapy/ You’ll be very grateful if I just stick it on the chat.

 

CC: We will definitely put that on the show notes. How long is the program?

 

PW: It’s two terms. When Adrian did it, I think it was 22 weeks. But it’s gone up to 26 or 28 weeks. We have a break in the middle, recovery time. Well, actually, otherwise known as essay writing time. So, the first term concentrates on the practical aspects, the setting up an online service, whether it’s for a service, or whether it’s for private practice, and learning about security confidentiality, and learning the difference between email, and all that sort of stuff, and getting all the basics right, getting the framework right. And then, the second term is much more on therapeutic and relational aspects. Obviously, there’s a lot of crossover.

 

CC: If you’re interested in getting some really high quality training for online therapy, check out the show notes. We’ll have a link in there for you to contact them and perhaps sign up for the next course. But let’s talk a little bit about this blog post that you wrote, Adrian, and distinguishing between face-to-face therapy and online therapy, and that it is a distinct format. What did you mean by that?

 

AR: One of the things that I had to struggle with on the course was really how my modality, the psychoanalytic school would fit in with the techniques and the technology and the distancing, and whether or not it could be adapted and whether it would be authentic. And I was really very mindful of how some of the analytic people, most of the analytic people, in the UK at least, have set their face against online therapy, have been quite firm that something is lost and something is missing. Particularly Gillian Isaacs Russell, whose thoughts in relations is really quite damning, really of saying that this is not analytic therapy, really. It’s too difficult, it’s too distant. And what we need is presence, because we need to be in the room to be in the presence of someone. I think she quotes a patient who says something like, “With a patient, when you’re with a therapist, you can either kill or kiss, because you’re in the same room.” And so, you are really there with them, but that doesn’t happen online.

 

AR: I have to think about what these… How the people were saying, and yet there’s such research about how people find online therapy rewarding. Some people find it more rewarding than they do online therapy, sorry, face-to-face therapy. And indeed, I’ve had patients who started out face-to-face who’ve gone online ’cause they’ve moved away, who’ve actually said that, for them, the online therapeutic relationship is more possible and meaningful, more helpful, therapeutic, than was face-to-face.

 

AR: So I was struggling with how to deal with these two sets of understandings of online therapy and the patients who were saying it’s working and the therapist who’s saying it didn’t work. And I guess, what I started to realize was that we are still using the same psycho-analytic concepts and principles in our work. They’re still there, but they’re being used in a different way. And in some respects, they are so different that it constitutes almost… Not different in the discipline but a different approach. And in my mind, it was similar to the difference between face-to-face individual therapy and group therapy. Both analytic group therapy and analytic face-to-face therapy or one-to-one therapy are based on the same principles. It’s the same theoretical perspectives, and yet they are different. They think differently, and this grouping therapy has developed. It started to use things like transference differently and counter transference of the therapist. It started to think differently about defenses, start to think differently about the internal world in a group from face-to-face. So it’s rooted in the same material, but it is a different way of being in therapy.

 

CC: It’s almost like, you’re saying that online therapy should be seen as a distinct practice, and we should think of it as distinct and separate from face-to-face, having both benefits but also lack of benefits. [chuckle] I’m not sure how to phrase that but…

 

AR: Deficits?

 

CC: Yes deficits, absolutely. And that it should be thought of as a stand-alone approach.

 

AR: Yes, I think so. I think there is a lot of mileage to thinking about it that way. I think we need some clever people, which exclude me, to come in and start to think about certain therapy in this way. Thinking about how countertransference, for example, is a tool to be used very differently from the immediacy of the presence in the room. And re-working and re-framing the techniques that we’ve been using.

 

CC: Yeah, and you mentioned that not having to go into the therapist space, but that online therapy takes us somewhere new, into both the therapist’s space and the client’s space at the same time. Can you kinda talk about this idea of a separated space or an additional space?

 

AR: Yes. Perhaps I can start there from the other end really, which is that in traditional therapy, we expect… Although analytic therapists will say we’re trying to get into the internal world of the patient, what we are demanding of them is that they come into our physical world. So they have to journey to my consulting room, they come in that door over there, and they’re going through that door over there into my consulting room. They have to journey, they have to think about coming. What will they wear? What will they think about? What will they say? They sit in my room, which is decorated as I want it to be decorated. They sit in my chairs. They have to speak in the way which they believe I want them to speak. So they have to alter who they are in order to come into therapy. How can I enter into their inner world when they’re having to adjust their inner world in order to be in my presence?

 

AR: But when I do online therapy, we meet in the space in between and there is… They come partly into my space here, and I go partly into their space. And their space is their space, it is theirs. It is their expression of who they are in the world, with their wallpaper, and their clothing, and their furniture, and their photos.

 

PW: And actually, that is the very thing that distinguishes online therapy, one of the things that distinguishes online therapy, because in face-to-face, that would rarely happen that the therapist goes to the client’s house. Whereas, we’re peering into the kitchens, bedrooms, living rooms, cats, dogs we meet, guinea pigs, whatever.

 

[chuckle]

 

PW: And we enter into their world and their space in a way that we don’t in face-to-face work.

 

CC: Absolutely, and I found that it… Just additional information for the process, I get to know them a little more. And certainly, the comfort level is there for them, and the investment is different ’cause I hear what you’re saying, Adrian, that they have to think about what they’re gonna wear, and how are they gonna get there, and perhaps get parking. And instead of a 50-minute session, now they’ve invested two to three hours into coming to me, having the session, going home. So it’s a different kind of investment. But I haven’t seen any kind of deficit from that, as far as they’re willing to participate in the process, have you?

 

PW: It’s interesting that… We just had a… I’ve just been doing some supervision with a group where we had a little presentation on working with couples online. So perhaps a rather specific content, and the presenter was talking about how there were losses and gains, and there are perhaps both. Some of the touch, the physical presence stuff is lost, but the gain is, I think, in equality, an equalness in online therapy that doesn’t take place in face-to-face therapy. Adrian, I don’t work face-to-face, so Adrian will be setting the parameters. He fixes up his room how he wants, as he said, he has them coming through that door and into that door, and so on, and he sets the frame. Whereas, when we’re working online, it’s a much more equal way of working. Adrian or I will always be, if you like, the professional, and in that context, we have to set the frame of the sessions, the choice of therapeutic delivery, which platform we’re gonna work on, and make sure we work securely and all those things. But in many other ways, it’s a much more collaborative way of working, which is quite unlike face-to-face work in many ways.

 

AR: Yes.

 

PW: And I think the final thing at this point, I’d like to add to that is, and Adrian comes from this analytical background, and I have found working online, the moment you turn the video off or the moment you go into live chat where you’re typing, my goodness do you get free association. And the progress is heaps quicker than even in video work. Actually, I think it’s an enhancement for psychoanalytic tools working online, because you can make the most of them, and you may not have the couch, but you’ve certainly got everything else.

 

CC: Absolutely. And I think that, Adrian, you mentioned that in your blog post, is this freedom to be yourself online versus… Are you saying that you’re not necessarily as free, you think, in the face-to-face?

 

AR: I think people… We all need our defenses, and I think when we bring people into our therapeutic room, people’s defenses are maximized, but when people are in their own space, they lower those defenses quite quickly. And so, defenses become far less damaging and less in the way, and people’s free association, as Pippa says, is extended. They are much freer in their thinking, much freer in what they offer to the extent that people will be quite… They’re far more open much more quickly about their inner world, about their fantasies, about their understanding of self, about all sorts of internal experiences because they feel much more safe and in control and comfortable. And that means you have to work differently with it. So you’re not wrestling with defenses, you’re not wrestling with all of those difficult dynamics that try and get in the way of people being open.

 

CC: Absolutely. It’s interesting, I had on the show, I think it was last month, the co-founder of Doxy.me, which is a HIPAA compliant encrypted platform like Zoom. And he was saying, and of course he’s coming from the perspective of he’s selling a program, right? But he had an interesting take of, this is not necessarily a disruptive force, online therapy and tele-health, it’s just an enhancement. It’s just a tool that therapists can begin to use in their practice. But what I’m hearing you say is this is absolutely something different, and we need to begin thinking of this as different. It looks the same, and it’s similar, but there are things that we need to be aware of through training and education to adjust our approach.

 

AR: Yeah. So for me, a very good example comes through doing email therapy, that I really have begun to love, because you would expect that email therapy is disjointed and awkward and difficult, but in fact, I’m finding just the opposite. An email, a structured email therapy I arrange with my client to send an email on a particular day, and then I will read it and at the same time, more or less, as they have written, I will get it and read it through. And then put it to one side, and two days later by a specific time, I will sit down and I will write a response. In those 48 hours, something strange has happened to that material. They’ve written to me in the email, and I’ve read it, so in a sense, we’re in the session on a Monday. And then on a Wednesday, I’ve written something that they’ve read it, and we’re together in the session on a Wednesday. But what’s happened is I’m not responding there and then to what they say, but the materials somehow was worked within me at an unconscious and sometimes semi-conscious and sometimes a conscious level. But it’s worked in me, and it’s evoked things within me, which is a different way of countertransference becoming involved in the therapeutic relationship. And I sit down and I write something, and I consistently surprise myself at how I’ve responded to the material that they have emailed me. And I send it to them, and they read it, and the expectation might be that they’ve moved on.

 

CC: Yes, yes.

 

AR: But somehow, the response I get indicates that I’ve somehow been able, in that time, to digest the material in my own unconscious process and come up with something that actually fits and matches quite well. And it’s not responding immediately to something, actually to saying, but it’s using myself differently. And for me, that is the really good example of how we are still using transference and countertransference but in a different way. That has to be learned how to be worked with.

 

CC: I see you shaking your head there, Pippa. What do you wanna say?

 

PW: I’m not shaking my head, I’m nodding my head.

 

CC: Nodding your head, correct.

 

PW: What I wanted to add to that, in a sense, is I think Adrian has hit the nail on the head. And I was just thinking, while he was talking, that actually, probably three quarters of my clients would hate email therapy, but a quarter absolutely love it. And we, as therapists, our responsibility is to choose to use platforms that are secure, and after that, it’s down to the clients to make the choice whether they wanna do it via video, email, audio, live chat or whatever. And email isn’t my strongest point, but Adrian is an absolute word craftsman, and I am absolutely sure that he will flourish on that as will his clients because of that way of working.

 

PW: But why I was nodding my head was because what I was thinking about, as Adrian was talking, was actually everything is matter, and in the online therapy room that is as true as in face-to-face, it’s perhaps even truer. So for example, if you get somebody who’s sitting like this, for example, say for the sake of those who can’t see, I have put my screen so that the only part of me that can be seen is the top of my head because suddenly I’m turning my screen away because I’m making a point here. Or I have a client who… It took me some while to become attuned to this, so wait for the sound noise. Every so often, we’d get to something tricky in the therapy session, emotionally, and this is what would happen.

 

[noise]

 

PW: So actually, what she was doing, she was tapping her keyboard, and I started to realize that when something was getting tricky, she’d tap the keyboard. So after a few times of this happening, I pointed this out. We both had a good laugh over it and the next week, she arrived in mittens.

 

[laughter]

 

CC: Solved that problem. [chuckle]

 

PW: Well, it was a bit of a laugh, but it’s more to make the point of everything is material. So you can either be talking about… We can talk very high falutingly about all sorts of abstract concepts in psychotherapy, but just as much it’s how we choose to sit in relation to the camera that says so much about us. My attention to my body language, at all times, because my body will scream if there’s a dissonance between maybe what’s being somehow said verbally on the screen and what’s happening in my body. I think, actually, those who say that body languages doesn’t get a looking online, have missed the point that actually it needs to get more of a looking. I pay great attention to how my body is feeling when I’m working online. So if I suddenly feel these feelings in my stomach, I know it’s time to take action. Would you agree, Adrian?

 

AR: I would agree. And in fact, as technology becomes more sophisticated in the next two, three, five years, that the distance will fade away, but nonetheless it will still be in a therapeutic space between us, which is not the therapist’s room. So, we do have to think differently about where the therapeutic space is and what the therapeutic space is like, and that can be of great value. One of my clients who had seen me face-to-face moved away, is now moved away to, what shall we say? An island off the south coast of England. And she says that the distance makes it possible for her to speak about the awful things that happened as a child. Whereas sitting in my room, she began to hate my carpet, ’cause she couldn’t look at me, she couldn’t look at the room, she could not face me, she could not face the therapeutic room, it was too scary, and the carpet was all she could look at, and she hated it. Whereas now, there is space between us, and she does her work from… Well, different rooms in her house. If she’s in a good place, she does it from her lounge. If she’s in a difficult space, she wraps herself in a duvet and cuddles her teddy. She could not do that. Yeah.

 

PW: And the Relational School this morning or this weekend has been having a conversation in their blogs about whether face-to-face therapy is better than online and the usual old story. But then we’ve moved on to, actually, if that client has only ever worked online, that’s different than if you’ve seen them face-to-face and then moved to online. And I was fascinated, I’m not terribly convinced about this, but I was quite fascinated about this idea that if you’ve worked with somebody face-to-face then they move online, which I’ve never done ’cause I don’t work face-to-face. But Adrian, you have done that, and I’m just wondering what your views are on that.

 

AR: I certainly think it is one of the ways in which the analytic world will allow itself to put its toe into online work. There’s a new book out by Alessandro Markson saying just that really, that you should only do online work if you have actually spent time, initially, face-to-face. It saddened me, it seemed to be a loss of an opportunity really. But I do feel that it is different. But it isn’t for everyone, it really isn’t. It’s not the answer to everyone’s problems. We know from research that people for whom shame is a big issue, they particularly value online therapy and will benefit from it more than others. For some people it’s wonderful. Others? Others actually do need a face-to-face presence, and they do need to lie down on the couch in my presence, and that’s fine, that’s absolutely fine. So we need to find out what works best for whom.

 

CC: That’s interesting that you mentioned shame. My friend, Dr. Joseph Borgo, who is a leading online therapist here in the US is just writing a book on shame, and I think it’s gonna be fascinating. His experience as an online therapist and going really in depth into the world of shame. He’s become a really good friend, so I wanna shout out to him. It’s interesting though that I’ve had three versions of the therapeutic experience, in that I initially started out as a therapist walking with my clients in Central Park, so it’s a walk and talk therapy. To have that experience of walking side by side, that rapport that is built with the rhythm of gait and posture. And then during bad weather, we would come into my office, and it was almost like they were just clawing at the chair. Their skin was… They’re so used to movement as they open up and connect that to sit and stare me in the eye and have that eye contact, and then to have that same client who is traveling on business connect online, is a completely different connection than the previous two.

 

CC: So to see that this is distinct in how we connect with our clients, how we work with our clients, and the need for training in that approach, I just want to pivot just a little bit and talk about the training in the UK. Is this common, when a therapist is beginning to branch out and begin using this as a tool, is training a common thing that they will initially do before jumping into the deep end?

 

PW: I would say the answer is no. I’d say a very small minority of people have undergone any training. And it’s interesting ’cause I’ve recently been appointed as Director of Psychotherapy Services for an online platform called Doctor Julian, and as part of my work, I’m interviewing all the psychotherapists at the moment. Now, Julian did the first intake, so I gave him 15 well-trained, online therapists, and then he went and trolled online and found some other people that he thought might be suitable. So we’ve got a group of 30 at the moment, and what’s really interesting to see is the difference between those who are trained to work online and those who aren’t trained to work online but who are working online. And what I noticed particularly in the online community of those who are trained is just how very flexible, thinking outside the box we are. And it’s been very obvious, in my interviewing, that those who haven’t undergone the training, don’t have any awareness of that. And they don’t even know that they don’t know.

 

PW: So they might be knocking along quite well doing therapy online, I’m sure they’re not damaging anybody, but they could be doing so much more if they but knew. And well, we’ll see where it goes, but it’s been quite interesting to see. And sometimes I do feel a bit like a lone voice in the wilderness on the subject of training, despite the fact that the BACP, The British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy, thoroughly recommends training. It’s not mandatory because guidelines don’t work that way. So I’m gonna use cricket as an example, as I know you Americans love us English people and all our funny quirks.

 

AR: Oh, dear. Okay.

 

PW: If you’re playing cricket, let’s just convert that to if you’re playing baseball as well. I guess there’s a rule book that says, “If you’re fielding close to the batsman or whatever they do in baseball, you should wear a helmet, you must wear a helmet.” That’s a rule, that’s a rule book. Now, if you convert that into a guideline, it will read as something like, “Any fielder fielding close to the batsman will be required to think through his safety and danger and may want to think about wearing a helmet.” That converts, in my book, that you’ll need some freaking training or wear a freaking helmet in that case. But you could see that it’s there in guidelines now, and because it’s clear in guidelines, people go, “Well, it doesn’t say I have to do it, so I don’t need to do it. I’ve thought about it.” Adrian, am I being unfair?

 

AR: Not entirely, sometimes. [chuckle] I do think that it is essential that people have proper training. But I have to say, I think people need to get their grounding in face-to-face, and I think, you have to know who you are as a therapist from hours and hours of solid work. Until you know yourself as a therapist, and you… I now think I know myself, and so I can translate that to a new place, a new setting. Even I am learning all the time. And learning really what freedoms are possible. I’m very much into free association, the analytic idea that people should bring whatever they bring, whatever is meaningful to them. And one of the freedoms of online work is that someone might well bring a photograph or they might email and send you a poem. Now, that’s fantastic, but it isn’t traditional. The traditional idea of someone just being able to free associate, but it is actually something that is slung out of them, out of their life, something that is meaningful, a picture on the wall that they’ve chosen. So that is material that is so accessible online and it frees us up as therapists to think about what is the meaning of that. So, the woman who sent me the poetry learned that five years ago, she’d been wrestling with the stuff that she was wrestling with me now, but she didn’t know it. And so she was speaking with herself as a poet from five years ago, it was such a rich piece of work.

 

CC: Fascinating. The thing I love about the UK is that you do have an association for online therapists, and we don’t have that here. I think we’re too fractured in the US, but… Pippa, talk a little bit about the ACTO and the work that they are doing.

 

PW: Yes, ACTO, The Association for Counselling and Therapy Online, is an organization within the UK, but overseas members are very welcome as well, and we only take professional members who are trained to work online and can prove their training. They have to, as Adrian has absolutely rightfully said, they have to do have done a core face-to-face training first, and that’s pretty important. It’ll be interesting to see how, as we move into digital natives, how they view that because they go, “Well, we’ve always worked online, why should we wait?” But that’s a different conversation. And so ACTO is… We’re doing a number of things on the same front. I understand it’s an ethics officer for ACTO so, I’m currently reviewing the online guidelines that ACTO has and will be talking more about that in probably about a year. It’s going to take some time to do. But we do insist that people either have done an online training or can show equivalence through working two years in the service where they might have picked up that experience.

 

PW: So at the moment we have two membership categories. We have professional members who’ve got those qualifications, and we’ve got a student membership category for those who are training to work online. And once they do qualify, they go up free of charge for that year, up to being professional members. But it’s a really useful resource because it’s a place… It’s the only place in the UK where there’s a list of people who are registered and qualified to work online. And you know that they will have that training there, the trainings will vary because of the way in which it’s been set up, not everything is uniform and perhaps that may get tweaked over time, but at least you have a sense and a standard, and for us at that seems quite important. Working online is not a matter of just turning on your Skype and off you go.

 

AR: Yes, and I have to say that the code of ethics of ACTO, just reading it is quite illuminating. And I think when I first read it I thought, “Oh, goodness, never thought of that.” And yes, it was mildly frightening to begin with, because I realized how deficient I was in my knowledge and skill.

 

PW: Adrian, it’s very humbling to hear you say that, because I know you’ve been such a big person, a big personality in the profession over the years as well. And yet, lesser people just go, “Well, I know, but I don’t need to do that.” And I’m just so impressed when… It doesn’t matter who people are, but people who say, “I just need to go on learning new… ” And you going, “Oh my goodness, I didn’t know all this.” You know, like me, I’m learning every single day I learn something new.

 

AR: You forgot to mention how good looking I am, Pippa.

 

[laughter]

 

AR: Really disappointed there.

 

PW: Sorry, that makes me stutter.

 

[laughter]

 

AR: Two very attractive people for all those who are listening and don’t have the visual.

 

PW: Exactly, be grateful you don’t have the visual.

 

[laughter]

 

CC: I could go on and on. Obviously, I think the both of you could as well, but we’re running up on time. It is a fascinating conversation, I think, and it’s an ongoing conversation of the differences between face-to-face work and online work. The benefits, the challenges, and the differences between the two. I think that it’s gonna spark some continuing conversation, hopefully some awareness to our listeners, that we need to approach this as something distinct and training is valuable. But just as we say goodbye, any final thoughts from either one of you?

 

AR: Aren’t we lucky to be involved in therapy?

 

[chuckle]

 

AR: Isn’t it such an honor to share time and space and deepest secrets and the deepest hurts with people, and to be able to do it in new and enriching ways is really such a privilege.

CC: Yes, absolutely. Any final thoughts from you?

 

PW: Yes, I couldn’t agree with Adrian more. It’s a most exciting time to be part of the profession, and I feel very honored to have been born in this time in a way, because I woke up as a therapist when I started working online. I had given up before and gone and done allied work, and now I just feel every single day is a new excitement for me. And I just love working with the clients, it’s just so rewarding, and I hope it’s rewarding for them as well.

 

CC: Excellent. Thank you so much, Adrian Rhodes and Philippa Weitz for joining us. We’re gonna have all of the links and information that we talked about, we’ll have those in the show notes. Thank you so much for joining us.

 

PW: Thank you.

 

AR: My pleasure.

 

 

Resources:

PW Training: www.pwtraining.com

Adrian Rhodes: http://adrianrhodes.net

 

Blog article: http://pwtacademy.online/blog/