• Online Counselling: An essential guide

Online Counselling: An essential guide

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After many years on the fringe, online counselling has rapidly become mainstream practice, propelled by the Covid-19 pandemic. Yet too often practitioners assume they can transition from in-person counselling without need for further training. In this essential book, Sarah Worley-James brings her many years’ experience of online counselling and supervision to explore with the reader the practical and technical requirements of the work and also, importantly, the relational issues that working online brings. The book covers video, audio and text-based counselling, using vivid vignettes and case examples to bring to life its contents. All aspects, from transitioning and setting up the room and the equipment needed through to contracts, data storage and, above all, risk, are covered, with practical exercises to help you gain confidence in using these emerging media to their full creative potential. 


1. What is online counselling?

2. Transitioning to online counselling

3. Getting started

4. Ethical practice online

5.  Developing a therapeutic relationship through video

6. Developing a therapeutic relationship in audio and telephone counselling

7. Developing a therapeutic relationship in text-based counselling

8. Assessing risk online

9. Working with risk online

10. Supervision for online counsellors

11. Self-care for online counselling

Reading Online Counselling made me realise just of how far online therapy has matured as a profession over the past 10 years. Sarah’s warm and inviting style of writing nails the subject of online therapy from page one. Any online therapist, whether experienced or not, will find so much in this book that will benefit them and, consequently, their online clients.
Pip Weitz, Training Director, Academy for Online Therapy 

This is sure to be a core text for counselling courses. Her great skill is to take what could be anxiety provoking, demystify it and then show how to transform existing counselling competence into skilled online engagement. This is particularly true of managing risk, and the importance of supervision and self-care.
Adrian Rhodes, Chair, ACTO; President, European Confederation of Psychoanalytic Psychotherapies (ECPP)

Sarah Worley-James has written the book we have been waiting for. It is up-to-date and has a clear, inclusive, user-friendly style… Sarah shares her extensive experience and includes useful references and resources. There is a skilful blend of practical guidelines, attention to the relationship, and exploration of the counselling process. This is a book to read and return to, not leave on the shelf.
Anne Stokes, Patron of ACTO; Director (retired) of Online Training Ltd

This is an essential, in-depth and practical guide to assist student counsellors, face-to-face practitioners and seasoned online therapists to deliver online therapy ethically and effectively.
Jane Evans MA, BACP (Senior Accred), author of Online Counselling and Guidance Skills (2009).

Sarah Worley-James

Sarah Worley-James is a BACP senior accredited counsellor, supervisor and trainer with 25 years’ experience in the public, private and third sectors. She is former chair of the Association for Counselling and Therapy Online (ACTO), a senior tutor with the Academy for Online Therapy and Senior Counsellor at Cardiff University, where she set up the online service in 2011. She writes a regular column about online counselling in the BACP Workplace journal and published a series of articles about the process of setting up a university online counselling service in the BACP University and College Counselling journal in 2017. Sarah’s counselling career began in the substance misuse field, where she first developed her teaching and supervision skills, training professionals in motivational interviewing and writing and teaching a BACP accredited counselling diploma. She has also worked in employee counselling for many years, including when she moved into higher education counselling in 2009, counselling staff and students.

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