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Caring at a Distance: Online Counselling Best Practices

Presenter: Vanessa McConnell

Overview: Caring at a Distance: Online
Counselling Best Practices was an interactive
workshop to learn and share with other
agencies adapting their services to meet
evolving demands. Catholic Family Service
(CFS) has developed best practices, policies,
and consent processes specific to this new
way of working with clients. CFS shared their
approach and journey so far in online
counselling. This session was designed to be a
forum for program managers and staff striving
to meet community needs in the context of
COVID-19. Participants were asked to
contribute to the conversation by sharing
struggles and successes with the group.

When: May 21, 2020 and June 11, 2020

Contact: vanessa.mcconnell@cfs-ab.org


What We Heard…

Attendees were asked to reflect on their learnings from the session and peers during the event:

What was your one big takeaway?

“Promoting treatment and proactive mental health promotion via online platforms”

“Learning about consent forms for virtual support”

What did you learn?

“Consent and confidentiality are at the core of the work and it’s not a modality that fits all clients or all therapists.”

“Additional questions and conversations to engage clients In considering their privacy and safety.”

What will you do differently?

“I can see me using mixed modes of therapy – nice to use zoom when people can’t make it in person.”

“I’ll be more stringent about reading over the consent forms, etc with clients ahead of time. Also give them a free initial time to try different modes of virtual communication so that we can pick the best for them.”

Resources from the event:

Regulatory Body Information (CAP, ACSW, CCPA):

Systemic reviews on efficacy of videoconferencing:

Alberta Nonprofit Network:

Consent for Videoconference counselling: