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ACTO is the leading organisation for counselling and psychotherapy online.

Online therapy can be by : video, email. Instant messaging (text) or telephone.

It is good practice for therapists to have protocols in place in case they are taken ill or incapacitated in some way. The Coronavirus should not change this in any material way – but it is a good reminder to practitioners to reflect on their own practice.



If you are looking for a therapist to work online, ACTO has a Register of practitioners who have undertaking further specialist training in online therapy, above their core training. You will find the ACTO Register here.

If you are in therapy and you are concerned about Coronavirus:

  • Contact your therapist by phone, text or email before your next appointment;
  • See the official NHS Coronavirus advice here and other advice

If your therapist has suggested working online, please be assured that online work has research-based  evidence of being highly successful. It is not ‘second-rate’ – but it is certainly different – and suits some people more than others.

There are some important considerations for you to think about and ask your therapist:

  • It should be conducted over a totally secure platform such as Zoom.
  • Please note that ACTO does not recommend using Skype as there are concerns about security.
  • You will need to think about how therapy can be conducted in private, so that no-one can overhear you or oversee your computer; iPad or phone.
  • You will need to think about how to keep confidential, any information on your computer, iPad or phone.


Non-ACTO Therapists

It is wise to consider working online if the situation warrants it.

Online working is proven to be effective – but there are indications for & against using it.

Working online is different. For example:

  • clients may present differently,
  • psychological responses may differ,
  • your techniques may need to be adjusted,
  • there are additional security and privacy implications
  • issues of risk need to be reconsidered.


Additionally, you need to:

  • check your clinical insurance (and that of your employer, if any)
  • re-contract with your client to cover working online;
  • reconsider your methods of payment and perhaps fee structure..


Consider additional supervision from an experienced online supervisor.

  • ACTO has a Register of trained online supervisors, found


ACTO does not believe that Skype is secure; consider using another secure platform – preferably ‘HIPAA-approved’. Many ACTO therapists use

See ACTO  ‘Good guidance Note for Therapists: Skype’ found here.

Working online is an effective and refreshing way to work – but there are many considerations to ensure safe and professional practice. Why not undertake further training and join ACTO? A list of accredited Online Training Providers can be found here.

Please note: there are good guidance notes from the main professional bodies:

BACP                                                  UKCP 

Privacy4 offers good advice on how to work ethically online. And please read this blog post about the dangers of cybercrime at times like these.

Information about Covid-19 in different languages can be found at:


ACTO 08/03/2020                                                                                                                   © ACTO