Therapy, Coaching & Distant Healing via Technology

We offer articles from TILT Magazine and information related to online therapy, online coaching, online complementary and alternative modalities and cyberpsychology.

Mentorship and the Path of E-Mastery

October 19th, 2014   •   no comments   

speyer1“There is nothing in a caterpillar that tells you it’s going to be a butterfly.” (Buckminster Fuller)

‘Bucky’ is right when we’re just looking at the outside of a caterpillar… or at a person whose potential is latent, which at some point in our lives could be said of all of us. Yet if we envision the oak contained in the acorn, the butterfly yet to emerge, or the seed of someone’s purpose before it fully blossoms, then we can be a mentor to them or what Shlomo Carlebach calls a real holy friend.

“There are three kinds of friends in this world. An ordinary friend sees only what you are; for that you don’t need a friend. Then there’s a friend who sees in you what you can be. But in the presence of a real holy friend, you already are!”

If we are so blessed, we have such a person when we first set out on our path, a mentor who treats us as if we already were what we potentially could be and thereby inspires us to become what we can be (Goethe). This is best expressed by Viktor Frankl in this passionate talk to students: He cites Goethe’s maxim as the most important perspective a therapist can have.

I have such a mentor in Tom Francoeur who was my counseling professor and mentor when my vocation was anything but clear to me. Dr. Thomas Francoeur (92 yrs) is Professor Emeritus of McGill University in Montreal who specialized in Counseling and Religious Education. If there can be such a thing as genius when it comes to the gift of presence, Tom Francoeur is at that level. With him, I experienced the kind of conversation that can be called communion and not merely communication. When I exhort E-counselors to hone in on ‘the person behind the problem’ I am carrying on the legacy of Francoeur, as practiced online through the mystery of non-local presence (explored further below).

I like to call Francoeur the ‘godfather’ of the InnerView approach to short-term therapy, which actually plants the seeds for long-term soul work. InnerView evokes the interior landscape of what the soul knows. InnerView guidance is a matter of realignment with the feelings, needs, values and purposes which allow our inner and outer worlds to be congruent. That integral coherency in turn opens our limited personal selves to transpersonal and archetypal realms and we come to see our life situation with the kind of wide-angle lens Tom naturally uses. It’s about what kind of person is having the problem, rather than what kind of problem is discouraging or even disabling the person. Francoeur’s InnerView guidance has brought thousands of students, clients, and seekers of all kinds into alignment with the best of their human nature. That mission continues online. A person is a presence and a feeling, not just a personality, so if features of the client’s personality are not ‘in the room’ so to speak, it can actually be an advantage. In addition, “writing is a strong easement for perplexity.” (Emily Carr)

Tom Francoeur continues to have a profound life-changing effect on those who experience his healing presence. He has consistently lived his message that “Happiness comes from giving of oneself.” Originally envisioned as a tribute to his mentorship and influence, a documentary profile of Tom became the first episode in a series called GuideLives for the Journey: Ordinary Persons, Extraordinary Pathfinders:

As one of the pioneers of online counseling in Canada circa 2000, I now see it was difficult to find my way before then because my career wasn’t invented yet! In the 80’s, when Francoeur was prophetically saying, even in front of others, that I was going to be a leader in the field, it was flattering, but I really thought he was taking the encouragement too far. I told him honestly how I felt at the time – that what he was seeing in hisprotégé was more of a good client than a counsellor. Yet he never wavered in his vision or questioned my own when I launched into a Creative Writing Masters and preferred literary criticism, radio drama and film courses to graduate reviews of psychology theories. The internet itself was still a decade away, and I envisioned being therapy-wise in service of my writing rather than the writing leading the way to what became, not just another modality, but a new field of therapy.

In my role as clinical supervisor for the largest EFAP company in Canada, I have now overseen 80K short-term asynchronous cases. Along the way, I discovered 18 therapeutic elements unique to the medium and proved that the ‘writing cure’ is equally and often more effective than the traditional ‘talking cure.’ Lest anyone still believes there is something inherently impersonal about online therapy, the clients have always said otherwise.

“I was initially a little skeptical that online counselling would be a good medium to deal with emotions and complex personal issues – despite the typed words and computer screen, I felt her warmth and geniune interest in my well-being shining through each message.”

“I feel as if someone has put an arm over my shoulder and is talking to me.”
“Your words are as comfortable and appropriate as my favourite pants and sweatshirt on a cold night!”
“I’m actually not too comfortable talking about myself – which is why I am absolutely amazed as to what I have been writing in these mails.”

“I was very impressed with the quality of support that I received and the objectivity. I felt completely validated and encouraged to look after me. I feel that the email exchanges allowed for complete disclosure from me as I didn’t have to face someone directly – people react to things being said and body language can be encouraging or discouraging. The online process removes this barrier.”

“Once I had purged everything in writing and had responses back which I could access at any time, the healing began quickly. It was like a wonderful wave of self realization and peace washed over me.”

“She spoke to me as if I was right in the room with her and had a very good approach to speaking to me even when relating to a previous letter.”

“I have printed all of our correspondences, and will use them over the next months and years. I feel the quality of the counselling I received was A++, much better then several sessions I had been to in person with a local counsellor charging $150 an hour.”

“I had no idea it was possible to form a bond and a trust with someone based solely on the written word. Thoughts and feelings just seemed to flow out of me in a way I never could have imagined. My e-counsellor helped me put things in perspective and look at things going on in my life in a whole different light. I was apprehensive about trying e-counselling but find it was the best move I ever made.”

Asynchronous E-counselling, by virtue of being an introspective process while remaining part of a therapeutic dialogue, can involve the best of both worlds, inside/outside, individual and relational. It allows for a measured ‘heart-to-heart talk’ that takes place in a shared space mediated by the internet. Both insight and emotional catharsis are possible in the safest of environments when a window is opened to the thought and feeling processes on both sides of the computer. Beyond text-based bonding is the notion of tele-presence, non-local presence, or the feeling of persons being present to each other, even at a physical distance. As cyber psychologist John Suler observed, “There is a special type of interpersonal empathy that is unique to text relationships. Some claim that text-only talk carries you past the distracting, superficial aspects of a person’s existence and connects you more directly to the other’s psyche.”

Or as the poet John Donne might have tweeted, “More than kisses, letters mingle souls.”

The process of focusing, or paying close attention to one’s own self-awareness, feelings, and thoughts, is facilitated by a text-based dialogue taking place behind the scenes of self-presentation, where counsellor and client do not face each other. Both have more of an opportunity to look within themselves as they communicate. The essence of non-local presence is the paradox of being alone together. Similarly, witnessing or taking a step back from one’s internal dynamics to gain perspective is enhanced by the act of composing oneself and getting it down in writing. When this text-based externalization occurs, the client is invited to live in a bigger, more meaningful story.

“I find the process of writing in these InnerView sessions a form of healing. Emotions transform when I key events onto this page and I begin to awaken from a self-absorbed or selfish state.

I still have notes from the group supervision course led by Tom Francoeur in 1987. He conducted case conferencing master classes like a skilled artist who paints with only a few deft strokes…

“Together with the client, you are two architects of their life.”

“Every human heart is built to heal.”

“We can’t learn skills apart from knowing persons.”

There is an intangible attunement one receives from an inspired mentor, a golden thread that keeps you on your path through the mazes of life. You hold onto your end, and it keeps you forever connected with your teacher. You then extend it to others as their mentor and guide. It’s a response-ability you pay forward. It’s just the way it is when you are committed to your path and practice.

The Way It Is

There’s a thread you follow. It goes among
things that change. But it doesn’t change.
People wonder about what you are pursuing.
You have to explain about the thread.
But it is hard for others to see.
While you hold it you can’t get lost.
Tragedies happen; people get hurt
or die; and you suffer and get old.
Nothing you do can stop time’s unfolding.
You don’t ever let go of the thread.

- William Stafford

This article first appeared in the Winter 2014 issue of TILT Magazine ~ Therapeutic Innovations in Light of Technology.

Click here to read the entire PDF version of the Mentorship and the Path of E-Mastery article.

Cedric Speyer helped design and develop one of Canada’s first online counselling services and has overseen the delivery of 80K cases. He currently supervises an ‘E-team’ of 30 E-counsellors. Cedric conceived and promotes a therapeutic approach called InnerView and directs a documentary series entitled GuideLives for the Journey: Ordinary Persons, Extraordinary Pathfinders.

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Using the Internet to Build a Dream: From Burnt Out Psych Nurse to Thriving Wellness Coach

October 12th, 2014   •   no comments   

nurse1For the last four years, I have had my head down learning everything I could about online business, from blogging, auto responders, guest writing, and building traffic. When I decided I wanted to build my own website the adventure began.

I have been a full time nurse for the last 25 years in a state funded mental hospital, running my business from home in the afternoon from the baseball field, laundry mat in hotels, sitting in my truck on my lunch break and many more spots.

When I decided I needed a website/blog I had no clue how to add links, images or even what a banner was for. I started learning anyway – without extra funds in the family budget I couldn’t pay someone to help me and I had to do learn. I worked for 6 months and had a page that sold products…and it was ugly!

Over time that has changed. I put myself around people who could help me and finally took the plunge to get a business coach to help me take the next small steps. A true online business is not an overnight success story. It comes with true blood, sweat and tears…well maybe not the blood but defiantly some tears and frustration.

I worked three nights a week 13 hour shifts on the night shift. I had a small son at home and a son who played travel baseball. Between lack of sleep and lack of time I could not sit in my office to run a business. The business had to go with me – it had to be mobile or it was not going to happen.

I had lots of time sitting at the ball park between games and sometimes four games a day. At the time, all I had was a Blackberry phone and I took notes and wrote blog post on my phone and emailed them to myself so I could finish when I got home.

I never dreamed that what I had started would grow like it has the last two years.

I applied everything I learned even when it didn’t make sense and I was seeing no results. I had every reason in the world to quit. There was something inside my gut that would not let me. I wrote two blog posts a week for months about my experience as a nurse and the people I had met and things I had seen in mental health.

The readers began signing into my newsletter that went out on Monday to get each post that I wrote. Then I began noticing people were retweeting and re-posting them. The products mentioned in my blog began to sell, as I taught how the essential oils worked for me and how I was using them at my work more and more. More people wanted the products for the same problem they had.

You see we are problem solvers not salesman – people have problems and they are looking for the answer. They don’t want to hear how amazing your product is compared to another company, they want to know how what you have can help them, then for you to tell them how they can get it.

So I did.

I use social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter (my favorites) and Google+, LinkedIn, and bookmarking sites to send my content out into the marketing world. I told my story – I told the products I used and how they could get it.

People were buying products that I have never talked too – they were signing up to get business kits for the essential oils without me calling and begging them to purchase. As a matter of fact – I have done 100% of business online without picking up the phone. I used the same method that I teach my team now to use.

The ones who sees results are the ones who are consistent – and stay at it.

I don’t think I am an expert – I just don’t give up I work when nothing is happening and when most people would throw in the towel. If something is not working I look for another way to present it. This week I had a giveaway if people signed for the essential oils kit – I gave instructions of what they had to do to get the free book – and as soon as they followed through with all the steps – I shipped the book. Eight people in 4 days bought a kit – I did not talk to the first person on the phone – just Facebook, other social media and my blog.

I had lots of steps to learn – I had to learn about marketing, PPC, auto responders, why I needed a weekly newsletter – how you talk to people online is a little different than in person. The #1 tip I give is – stop talking to people to make a sell. Solve their problem – make the conversation all about them – open your ears and listen. People tell you their problem without asking for it. Then tell them about your deal whatever it is that would make their life better. Stop pushing people or they will run; become the go to person and share with them what you have that will help them.

In the last year and a half I have spoken on stages to share my story, my blog literally is being read around the world, not only is my essential oil business growing – I am now mentoring a group of people who want to learn more about what I do in a private group. I have won awards, and receive a nice compensation each month that has tripled my 25 year nursing income from the comfort of the ball field or riding down the road as my husband drives. I don’t let time or place stop me – I take it on the road with me.

I wish for your biggest dreams to come true: don’t want for them, go find them. They already belong to you.

This article first appeared in the Winter 2014 issue of TILT Magazine ~ Therapeutic Innovations in Light of Technology.

Click here to read the entire PDF version of the Using the Internet to Build a Dream: From Burnt Out Psych Nurse to Thriving Wellness Coach article.

Angela Brooks is a former burnt-out mental health nurse who is now a nurse educator, thriving business owner, and online marketing trainer. She quickly learned how to take her business “on the move” so she could have more time enjoying her family using mobile marketing.

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MicroVideo Marketing

October 5th, 2014   •   no comments   

marketingtoolboxIn 2013, the number of mobile devices exceeded the world’s total population.

An average home will now contain up to six internet-enabled devices. People, and their content, are constantly on the move.

Rich media, such as video, must therefore be accessible across a variety of platforms. It must load rapidly and run efficiently. For this reason, short video formats are rising to the forefront of marketing strategy.

If 2013 was the year for Instagram, 2014 will be the year for short video.” Dom O’Neill, Managing Director, Digit

Micro video

YouTube is the mecca for video sharing, and will continue to be so. Vimeo is an admirable alternative. However, applications such as Vine (6-second videos) and Instagram (15-second videos) now deliver easily administered micro video that is set to become a key element in future digital brand strategy.

2/3 of the world’s data will be video by 2017

Vine is an app from Twitter that helps you produce and share six-second videos very easily.

While many companies attempt to create the next great viral video buzz, a successful SME strategy maintains an emphasis on quality over quantity. Generating a higher engagement rate than any other video medium throughout 2013, the 6 second Vine video, is well worth the attention of therapists and consultants seeking ways to attract new customers and promote loyalty among current customers.

Professional, yet authentic videos can efficiently and cost-effectively cater to consumers’ appetites for entertaining and useful content.

Creating successful marketing micro videos

It is important to keep audience interaction focussed, valuable and engaging. Content should be as visually appealing and authentic as possible. As the Vine site itself suggests; ‘Create short, beautiful, looping videos in a simple and fun way.

Think about creating a video teaser to promote longer downloads, blogs or articles. Alternatively, use them to promote your brand and draw potential new customers back to your website. Create ‘how-to’ video content to demonstrate thought leadership, build reputation and raise awareness of relevant issues and how they might be solved.

You must deliver a clear message within the tight timeframe. By applying Time Lapse, you have the opportunity to capture a greater number of story elements in a rapidly executed flow. Think about highlighting the benefits your services bring.

Try to put yourself in the position of a potential customer. What will peak their interest? What is important to them? Make every second count. Try to be original and show personality. Tailor your message to your target audience in as fun a way as possible.

Craft content to match a call-to-action. Ask yourself: What do you want your audience to do after they watch the Vine and why would they do it? Will they feel incentivised to click on a link and find out more? Will they understand that something new is already available, or perhaps it is merely imminent and they should keep an eye out for further information?

As with Twitter, Vine can be searched using hashtags. So use them!

Five tweets per second contain a Vine link

Smart production

Plan your micro video story. You have six seconds. Use six storyboard boxes. Create sketches for each scene. Is each one different? Does each one last one second, or will one or more need longer?

Think about what you want to achieve, and how you can achieve it to best effect, before hitting the record button.

Natural lighting is most often used in Vine videos but you might wish to consider using light sources and light modifiers to create effects. Plan your lighting and framing. Apply the Rule of Third when framing your subject. Play with perspective and aim to maximise your video’s entertainment factor and appeal.

If you are applying time lapse (also referred to as stop-motion video), you will need to shoot your subject repeatedly, moving it subtly between shots, until you fill 6 seconds.

Vine videos replay in an endless loop. You can consider taking advantage of this by connecting the last and first shot, creating a seamless loop in the process. To do this, all you need to do is make the first and last shots the exact same scene.

Lastly, add a catchy title, relevant tags and a captivating description.

Share & promote

Distribution strategy is key to success!

Micro videos are easy to watch and share. The concept was created to enable easy delivery across platforms. So, once produced and published, don’t forget to share and promote your final results to widen your reach. Share a link from Vine on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and other social platforms. Don’t forget to include a link back to your company website. Embed your Vine video into the content of a blog. Don’t be afraid to share it several times to catch your fans and followers when they are online.

This article first appeared in the Winter 2014 issue of TILT Magazine ~ Therapeutic Innovations in Light of Technology.

Click here to read the entire PDF version of the MicroVideo Marketing article.

Sarah Lawton is a UK based content marketer and social media expert. With a passion for communication, new technologies and top quality content, Sarah encourages SMEs to make the best use of both traditional and online solutions. For further information or advice, please contact:

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How Do I Start Using Technology in Counseling or Coaching?

September 27th, 2014   •   no comments   

innovasionResearch has proven that technology can be helpful in counseling and coaching. Clients can gain personal insights and change that they could not have easily taken place without technology. But few have talked about how to actually get started. Most clients are already searching for the magic App that will solve all of their problems. They just don’t talk to you about it. Apps can help enhance the growth of your clients if you use them for specific aims in time limited intervals. But whether you’ve been watching from the sidelines or have just thought about using technology in your work, you may wonder how to get started. There are some boundaries to keep us in line, but a lot of opportunities to make a big impact on our clients.

Using Apps in Counseling or Coaching
It can be overwhelming when you hear about the many Apps or online therapy platforms and the many applications for their use. There are so many ways in which technology can help people in counseling or coaching. The best way to start is to think about how technology could assist one client with one problem.

Most Apps fall into a few operational categories.

1. Tracking behavior numerically by counting something I did, such as the number of times I did the new technique I just learned.
2. Reminding me to do something or not do something, like compliment my spouse, even though I don’t feel like it.
3. Capturing my thoughts about the fight I just had with my brother-in-law who really gets on my nerves.
4. Connecting with others, like texting my progress to my best friend.
5. Leading me to change my thinking and behavior by asking me questions about my current state and reminding me of what and how I need to change.

Consider whether your client would benefit from tracking, reminders, capturing, connecting or leading. I bet they could use all of them, but restrain your inner hero and just pick one. Then get specific about how often you’d like that information to be gathered or used and what you and the client would do with that output. With these clear objectives in mind, you can search for apps used for these purposes on the comparison site to find the app that fits your needs.

It can be both exciting and awkward to introduce a new idea to a client, especially if it is new to you too. It’s a bit of a risk to recommend an app or an online service because a bad experience on these venues could cause the client undue distress and harm your credibility. To get comfortable with making a recommendation, try the technology for yourself first. You may find a personal benefit which would make for a compelling story that would appeal to those you are helping. The trial will also help you discover operational challenges your client might encounter which could help prevent early abandonment of the idea. Keep in mind some basic limitations like – privacy, security, ensuring the client is really on board and if it is really useful for the client’s goals. Using apps for one of these purposes may be just what they needed to make that breakthrough.

Distance Counseling and Coaching
When you are ready to provide distance counseling or coaching and have already received training and credentials, the best way to start is by asking your current clients if they’d like to meet online. If you haven’t had training, it’s a very good idea as there are a number of risks and protocols that you need to know to create both great outcomes and to protect yourself from known legal and ethical risks.

If you need a jumpstart to get clients using your online services consider creating a 2-3 min video of yourself walking the client through the set-up, scheduling and session experience. Make sure the video looks really good as it will be used by the client to decide whether they want to see you or not. This video could be hosted on your website and link provided to every current and prospective client to consider. You could also have two computers set up in your office to demonstrate what it would look like at the end of a session, if the client is interested.

Talk to colleagues and ask if they are using technology and how.

Using technology in counseling and coaching will take a little effort, but it’s worth the effort. While most clients usually embrace technology in practice, it may take a few trials for you to become more comfortable with a new way of working. It may take a few trials before you get it right, but the benefits can truly be life-transforming.

This article first appeared in the Winter 2014 issue of TILT Magazine ~ Therapeutic Innovations in Light of Technology.

Click here to read the entire PDF version of the Meandering through models of supervision and coaching article.

Jay Ostrowski is a Telemental health and marketing innovator with BHI created to help professionals choose technology. He lives in Charlotte, NC, USA.

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Expanding Healing in a Virtual World

September 21st, 2014   •   no comments   

Many of our colleaagues know that we have long been fans of avatar therapy. Since the early days of Online Therapy Institute, We have lectured and written about the concept of healing in a virtual world. In fact, the first issue of TILT Magazine~ Therapeutic Innovations in Light of Technology- featured an article about healing from childhood trauma utilizing tools in Second Life.

Now, several years later, we are expanding the concept of healing in a virtual world to include not just therapy, but coaching and energy healing. We offer several courses and certificates ranging from online therapy and online coaching to avatar identities and intuition. We also offer online Reiki courses so it only makes sense we create a safe and nurturing Reiki space in our virtual office.




Yes, Online Therapy Institute continues to have a presence in Second Life, now along with divisions, Online Aromatherapy Institute and Online Coach Institute.

What does that mean? We continue to have a skybox classroom as well as a wonderful new building with an ocean view. Information will be placed throughout just as before- think of this as a 3-D website. We will have a gazebo, lotus pool, Reiki room, consulting room and a roof patio for contemplation, meditation, writing or virtual parties.  The lotus pool  area will be surrounded by essential oils information too.

The new build is still a work in progress but come on over and take a looksee! We have moved our location to Independence Island, a Second Life island owned and managed by Virtual Ability, Inc. 

Our new Second Life address:

Not quite ready to for Second Life?

Dip your toes in on Facebook! We have two Facebook Groups that may be of interest to you!

Avatar Identities

Kybernetes Reiki

And of course, our Facebook Business pages-

Online Therapy Institute/Online Coach Institute

Online Aromatherapy Institute



For the love of…. Journals!

September 20th, 2014   •   no comments   

Love of Books imageInternet Interventions

Editor-in-Chief: Gerhard Andersson

Internet Interventions is the official Journal of the European Society for Research on Internet Interventions (ESRII) and the International Society for Research on Internet Interventions (ISRII).

The internet is increasingly used for delivering interventions aimed at improving mental and physical health. Internet interventions — often self-guided or partly self-guided — have in the past proven effective in treating a number of psychiatric conditions, including among others: depression, panic disorder, social anxiety disorder, insomnia, as well as more general medical conditions, such as headache, back pain, tinnitus and smoking cessation.

Today’s increased focus on internet interventions can be explained by its global applicability, and cost efficiency. Technological advances allow for novel intervention components, such as user-friendly visual screening instruments, video-based exposure therapy, interactive role-playing, automated reasoning models, all lowering the help-seeking threshold.

The aim of Internet Interventions is to publish scientific, peer-reviewed, high-impact research on Internet interventions and related areas, such as:

• Intervention studies targeting the promotion of mental health and featuring the Internet and/or technologies using the Internet as an underlying technology, e.g. computers, smartphone devices, tablets, sensors.
• Implementation and dissemination of Internet interventions.
• Integration of Internet interventions into existing systems of care.
• Descriptions of development and deployment infrastructures.
• Internet intervention methodology and theory papers
• Internet-based epidemiology
• Descriptions of new Internet-based technologies and experiments with clinical applications
• Economics of internet interventions (cost-effectiveness)
• Health care policy and Internet interventions
• The role of culture in Internet intervention
• Internet psychometrics
• Ethical issues pertaining to Internet interventions and measurements
• Human-computer interaction and usability research with clinical implications
• Systematic reviews and meta-analysis on Internet interventions.

This article first appeared in the Spring 2014 issue of TILT Magazine ~ Therapeutic Innovations in Light of Technology.

Click here to read the entire PDF version of the For the love of…. Journals article.

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TILT Magazine Issue 18

September 16th, 2014   •   no comments   


To download TILT Magazine Issue 18, click here.

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Meandering through models of supervision and coaching!

September 13th, 2014   •   no comments   

cybersupervisionThe starting point of this issue’s column was an exchange I had with an online supervisee. She isn’t a counsellor, but uses counselling skills in her role as team leader of family supporters within a charity. Let’s call her Liz. She was planning a short training on interpersonal skills for her team, and we were discussing possible inputs and models. Looking at what she had planned, I said that it reminded me of Egan’s ‘The Skilled Helper’. Liz did not know the model, so I briefly and perhaps simplistically mentioned ‘explore/ understand/ act’.

The response from Liz was: ‘Yes- that is exactly what’s needed. The team manage most of the time to help the clients explore and understand their issues, but then they don’t know how to act in the clients’ best interests’.

Dilemma – do I explore with Liz how to help the assistants to ‘know how to act’ or do I explain that actually it’s about what actions the client is going to take? In this supervision, I stayed with Liz’s agenda, which was enabling her team, who are not counsellors, and part of whose job is to take action – enable links between various agencies in particular. I did later email a paper about Egan’s model.

However, it started a train of thought about the use of Egan’s model as an online supervision tool. This was pushed forward by a presentation which one of the participants on the Diploma in Online Therapeutic Supervision gave recently. This was around the C.L.E.A.R. model developed by Peter Hawkins in the 80s (Contract, Listen, Explore, Action, Review). Those middle three stages are so reminiscent of Egan.

Hawkins produced this as a coaching model, which led me to consider online coaching and supervision. What do they have in common? I looked up various definitions of coaching, finding a number where if the words coach was replaced with supervisor, they would still make sense to me.

Coaching is unlocking a person’s potential to maximise their own performance. It is helping them learn rather than teaching them’ (Whitmore, 2004).

Coaching is a process that enables learning and development to take place and thus performance to improve. To be successful, a coach requires a knowledge and understanding of the process as well as a variety of style, skills and techniques that are appropriate to the context in which coaching is taking place’ (Parsloe, 1999).

I then explored various models of coaching as they might well be able to inform and expand my online supervision practice. Many of them have that same similarity to Egan. I am in no way implying that they are all borrowing from Egan; simply musing about the fundamentals of coaching and supervision. Three of the models were:

GROW – Goal, Reality, Options, Way forward /Wrap up
TGROW – Topic, Goal, Reality, Options, Way forward
OSKAR – Outcome, Scaling, Know how, Affirm and Action (so should it really be OSKAAR?) and Review

If I wanted to integrate any of these coaching models, what might be the constraints in online supervision? One is the apparent emphasis on outcomes. Sometimes supervisees (and supervisors) need time to go away from an online session and muse before taking any action. That’s where email supervision can really come into its own, as it builds in this time naturally. Perhaps I also shy away from the term ‘performance’ in the definitions. That may be disingenuous of me as there is a sense in which any role, even as an online counsellor, has a degree of performance in it.

A possible downside might be another emphasis, this time on identifying the goal of supervision. I do believe this is necessary if the supervision is not to be wishy-washy and aimless, though I might prefer to use the term ‘focus’. My niggling concern is that online, we sometimes are so quick to get down to work in both synchronous text and email supervision that we miss some of what I would call ‘walking around’ the focus. However, conversely, the inclusion in all the models of Know How, Options, Ways Forward avoids another pitfall in online supervision, of ‘talking’ around the issue, but never looking at its implication for practice.

I think that is why I feel drawn toward TGROW, as the initial T stage is about clarification of the reasons the Topic is important to the coachee/supervisee at this moment in time, and what impact it may have on the longer term vision (coaching expression) or process (supervision expression). It may uncover issues and a focus which is different from whatever the supervisee/ coachee thought they wish to bring to that online exchange.

Rereading the above paragraph, I realise I had in mind synchronous supervision, so another constraint may be the application to asynchronous exchanges. In email supervision the clarification may only be possible in a more general sense, as there is no immediate interaction.

The positive that I take from looking at OSKAR in particular is the inclusion of Review, which sits well with the Cyclical Model (Page and Wosket, 2002). This seems such a necessary part of supervision and again can be missing from email supervision simply because it is not synchronous. Yes, we carry out reviews of how the online supervision is going from time to time, but often miss the review of individual exchanges.

So where have my meanderings taken me? They have reminded me of the value in staying open to considering ideas and models from other similar fields, of weighing them up and taking from them aspects that may inform or improve my own online supervision practice. Not a bad day’s work.

This article first appeared in the Winter 2014 issue of TILT Magazine ~ Therapeutic Innovations in Light of Technology.

Click here to read the entire PDF version of the Meandering through models of supervision and coaching article.

Anne Stokes is based in Hampshire, UK, and is a well-known online therapist, supervisor and trainer and Director of Online Training Ltd. She can be contacted at


Downey, M. (2003). Effective Coaching: Lessons from the Coach’s Coach Knutsford Texere Publishing (TGROW)
Hawkins, P. & Smith, N. (2006) Coaching, Mentoring and Organizational Consultancy: Supervision and Development. Maidenhead OU Press ( C.L.E.A.R.)
Jackson, P. & McKergow, M. (2006) The Solutions Focus: Making Coaching and Change SIMPLE 2nd edition London Nicholas Brealey Publishing (OSKAR)
Page, S. & Wosket, V. (2002) Supervising the counsellor: a cyclical model 2nd edition London Sage
Whitmore, J. (2002) Coaching for performance 4th edition London Nicholas Brealey Publishing (GROW)

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Check out the Fall 2014 Issue of TILT Magazine!

September 12th, 2014   •   1 comment   



It’s been a nail-bitingly exciting time here at TILT Towers between issues!  Your Managing Editors decided to reach out to you, our readers, to help us keep the magazine going for the foreseeable future, and we held a Kickstarter campaign to achieve that.  Our goal of $5000 within three months was well met, including a generous contribution by Hushmail. We tell you the story of TILT’s creation, process and future in this issue, and we are also pleased to welcome Lyn Kelley to our Innovations column to talk you through the options available to start a crowd funding campaign of your own. The gratitude we feel to have received such support from colleagues, friends and strangers in supporting us really cannot be put into words. It was a great creative boost, and we hope that is evident in this latest issue.

Also in this issue, Darlene Ouimet tells us the exciting story of how her recovery from dissociative issues and chronic depression led to her sharing her journey via a website and subsequently a blog – and how this led to being contacted by award winning producer Robin Jay, with an invitation to be in her next self-help movie “The Secrets of the Keys” which is a prequel to her first movie “The Keeper of the Keys”.  Darlene writes of how she never imagined that her passion for reaching the world with her message of hope and healing would land her a movie deal! Her four and a half year journey, via “Emerging from Broken”, is an inspiration to us all.

Susie Mullens and Teresa Warner tell us of their work in the ongoing support of people in recovery via their innovative app A-CHESS.  A-CHESS is comprised of many features to help those in recovery and is currently being vetted as an evidence-based practice, theoretically based in Self Determination Theory (SDT) which focuses on how social and cultural factors facilitate or undermine people’s sense of volition and initiative, in addition to their well-being and the quality of their performance. A-CHESS has been well received by its users as part of their recovery programmes, enhancing the client’s treatment experience and improving client engagement.

Elsewhere we have all our usual regular columnists to keep you abreast of developments and work in the field, including CyberSupervision, Research, Views from the Frontline and of course our resident cartoonist!  Our Student Spotlight column features Thomas Tsakounis, who recently completed the Online Therapy Institute’s Reiki training, and who exemplifies the Institute’s mission to bring innovative ideas and practice to traditional ways of working to those with an open mind and a passion for delivering their services in a dynamic and sophisticated way.

Best wishes to all our readers for the autumn!

Kate and DeeAnna


Subscribe to read these feature articles:


Crowdfunding How Communities Pull Together

From Starting A Blog To Landing A Movie Deal…All On The WWW

“Tech Support” Using Technology To Support Ongoing Recovery

Cybersupervision, Marketing Toolbox, Student Spotlight and much, much more!


Go to TILT Magazine Archives!


Therapy Workshops Online – a new bonus for all Online Therapy Institute students!

September 10th, 2014   •   no comments   

Over the years, we have collaborated in many ways with our colleagues over at OnlinEvents!  Not only do we get together at face-to-face conferences whenever possible (easier for Kate than DeeAnna of course), we also meet at online conferences such as CESL (Counselor Education in Second Life) and even shared an island in Second Life for awhile.  John has filmed our Open Office hours, and Chat-Queen Sandra facilitated the live events for us.  John has also contributed chapters in two of our edited textbooks. Wherever possible, we share resources and put our heads together to work out how we can best serve our respective audiences in the therapy/coaching field and its related professions.


For example, the free-to-attend online interviews that John and Sandra so generously make available to practitioners worldwide are a staple of Online Therapy Institute (OTI) courses – whether as part of the fields of online therapy and coaching (such as Phillipa Weitz talking about the online therapeutic relationship) or more general issues in psychotherapy (such as Mick Cooper being interviewed about systematic outcome and process feedback).  Our students get alerted well in advance to these free events through their private closed Therapist Community on Facebook, and can use them in writing up their course assignments.

We were pleased to see the new development of Therapy Workshops from our colleagues – these low-cost online events have more of a workshop feel than an interview, while retaining all the learning philosophy that John and Sandra are rightly proud of – watch the video below to hear more about that philosophy.

One of the obvious bonuses of recording online interviews and workshops is that they are available online for evermore – and we have teamed up with OnlinEvents to ensure that our students now get FREE access to the back catalogue!  That’s over 200 educational CPD videos that our students can take advantage of, and the list grows every week!

If you’re already one of our students, you can sign up for your student membership here!  If you’re not, remember us when you are researching your training needs – remember, as well as free access to the OnlinEvents library, you also get a free subscription to TILT Magazine!

Thanks again to John and Sandra for their ongoing collaboration with us to meet the needs of those interested in our field – we look forward to many more years of it!

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