2022 Annual ACTO Conference: Innovation, Creativity and Effectiveness in Online Therapy

This is a conference for all mental health practitioners working online, including therapists, psychologists, psychiatrists,...

Last updated 3 May 2024

This is a conference for all mental health practitioners working online, including therapists, psychologists, psychiatrists, social workers and other health care professionals.


Anne Stokes

I was a senior accredited BACP counsellor, a supervisor and trainer and directed Online Training Ltd. With my co-director, Gill Jones, we founded the Online Counselling and Therapy In Action conferences and were instrumental in setting ACTO up.

Working with BACP, I produce a curriculum for Distance Therapy and have written and edited several books concerned with online counselling and supervision.

My time now is divided between homes in England and France, which was much easier pre Covid and Brexit!

Covid catapulted me out of retirement as so many counselling services needed their counsellors to be trained to work online. I am now endeavouring to redress the balance once more.

For many years, I lectured part-time at Bristol University and also with the University of Malta.

Basi Amodu

Basi is an accredited Integrative counselling therapist having qualified with a master’s in counselling children. She has a background in domestic abuse, family and parent work that led her to becoming a therapist. She enjoys working online as a therapist and clinical supervisor in private practice. She works in schools, is a trainer and consults. She is a registered and accredited member of the BACP. A professional Member and Director of ACTO and a qualified Clinical Supervisor. Internationally, she is an Associate Member of the BSP (Barbados Society of Psychology). She has a personal and professional connection to neurodiversity.

Basi presents the second part of the workshop which is about Neurodiversity and Race. She raises some issues that have been highlighted in research, personal experiences both here and internationally. The aim of this part of the workshop is to raise awareness of the Black, Asian and Global Majority experience, to inspire further insight and research into these lived experiences. And hopefully to create more visibility and focus on this community of people.

Ben Wright

Dr Wright is a consultant psychiatrist in medical psychotherapy specialising in CBT, EMDR, Psychosexual, and Couple therapies. He led the Newham IAPT National Demonstration Site and was the Lead Clinician of the Newham IAPT Service till 2010. He was subsequently the Lead Clinician of an integrated primary care mental health service in Richmond until 2021. In parallel, he was the senior clinical informatician for East London NHS Foundation Trust from 2012 to 2022, when he retired as the Chief Clinical Digital Officer. He has a particular clinical interest in the treatment of trauma. He is a Trustee of the EMDR UK Association Board and chair of the Scientific and Research Committee of the Association. He is an Honorary Senior Lecturer at City, University of London and at Queen Mary, University of London. He is visiting Assistant Professor at NOVA Medical School Lisbon.

Ellie Finch

Ellie Finch, MA, MBACP (Accred) is a counsellor and social worker who specialises in supporting parents and siblings of children with additional needs. She provides consultancy and training to professionals and organisations who wish to use video games in their practice.

Gracy Andrew

Gracy Andrew is the first level 3 ACTO registered online therapist based in Goa, India. She is also Special Advisor for CorStone an international organization that implements personal resilience programs for low income communities and is a tutor at the Academy for Online therapy. She works with children and young people and their families as well as adult populations and is passionate about the role of research in evidencing online.

Mental health is gaining attention in India, yet even though one finds a lot more written around mental health, most people suffering from mental health problems hesitate to approach a therapist or counsellor specially one providing services online. In this scenario setting up an online therapy that maintains highest standards of practice with no regulations to fall back on among other challenges is an interesting ongoing experience. This workshop will highlight the role of culture and how to navigate and establish a service within low resource settings.

Helen Mason

I am a qualified music therapist registered with the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) and a member of the Association of Music and Imagery (AMI). I am qualified as a Fellow of the Association of Music and Imagery (FAMI) having done an in depth training in Guided Imagery and Music (GIM). I also have a diploma in couples therapy.

I have 30 years experience working as a music therapist with a diverse range of client groups, mostly adults, in a variety of settings. I have worked for over 15 years within the National Health Service in the UK and was instrumental in setting up and developing an Arts Psychotherapies department for adult mental health, taking the lead role for 7 years.

Now, my work is in private practice with Music Imagery Therapy and also Couples Therapy, and I have worked in private practice for over 12 years. I am based in Bristol, UK and I offer sessions online using zoom with enhanced security and optimum audio settings for music.

Hilary Davies

Hilary Davies is an HCPC-registered Music Therapist, currently working freelance primarily with autistic adults. She is also studying for a PhD in Music Therapy at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama. Hilary has an MA in Music Therapy (with distinction) from the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, and an MA (Cantab.) in Music from the University of Cambridge (Gonville and Caius College). Prior to re-training as a music therapist she worked for over a decade as a professional musician and music teacher.

Jimmy Brennan

I am Jimmy, one of the senior leaders at Tacklit. After 20 years in the world of retail banking I moved over to Mental Health due to my own struggles. Having gone through therapy for many years I found that Tacklit was something very special, that would enable me to give back to therapists what they have given to me, and to also assist them in helping more people in this world where mental health is a global pandemic.

The demand for online therapy has increased so much in the past 2 years, and yet the technology to manage your practice hasn’t really caught up to the needs of therapists or their clients.

Most software out there is built for small businesses, and therapists are forced to make it work for their mental health practices, forcing different systems to work together, while navigating GDPR and security concerns.

Jo Ames

When dial up internet was a reality and encryption was an aspiration, Jo developed and provided online counselling services. Initially this was in response to the children and young people who contacted her via ‘MSN or Yahoo chat’ at the youth service where she worked in the late 90’s/early 2000’s. This was an increasing request, as a preferred method of communication by young people. As a direct result and with strong reservations, Jo embarked on online therapy training (with OLT) believing that while it may be helpful to communicate in this way – it was not ‘real counselling’. During a clinical supervision session with Anne Stokes, as part of that training, the potency and impact of therapeutic relating online became a reality.

Lesley Simpson-Gray

Lesley is an experienced Child and Adolescent Psychotherapist. After a successful career in marketing, she explored a long-held passion for music and the creative arts which led to her completing her psychotherapy training at the Institute for Arts in Therapy and Education.

Lesley is also dedicated to raising the profile of neurodiversity, especially amongst ethnic minorities, and upholding the rights of care-experienced young people. For several years she worked for a national UK charity as a young people’s advocate and independent mental health advocate.

Liz Ashall-Payne

Liz Ashall-Payne, CEO at ORCHA, will outline what is happening across the globe in this space and how best practice can be achieved.

The Organisation for the Review of Care and Health Apps (ORCHA) is the world’s leading independent digital health evaluation and distribution organisation. It helps health and care organisations to deliver the right digital health apps, to the right people, at the right time. Its unique insight, assessment, and implementation services are improving the health of the population, the health of our health systems and the health of the health app ecosystem.

ORCHA conducts reviews for government organisations across Europe, the Middle East, the Americas and Australasia.

In the UK, ORCHA conducts reviews for Health Education England, CQC, NICE NHS Digital and NHS providers in 70% of regions.

Liz Harrison

I have worked with couples and individuals for many years in both private practice and for organisations such as universities and charities. I have been working with survivors of sexual abuse for the past ten years with the specialist charity Safeline and have been managing the National Telephone and Online Counselling Service for adult survivors of childhood sexual abuse since 2016. I also manage the National Male Survivor Helpline and Online Service for any adult or child who identifies as male and for those who support a male survivor affected by sexual violence in England and Wales.

In my private work I now focus on working with couples online helping them to explore their issues and have those difficult conversations and improve their communication and understanding of themselves and each other. My cockapoo Lenny is my trusted buddy who sits near me all day and takes me out for walks!

Olivia Djouadi

My name is Olivia Djouadi and I am a UKCP member and a graduate of Regents University in Integrative Counselling and Psychotherapy. I also trained with IMT Integrative Mindbody Therapy, a type of Body Therapy with Dr. Asaf Rolef Ben-Shahar. I also trained with OLT online counselling for therapists and did the general, diploma and DOTS course so I can practice as an online supervisor.

Ch. 14 – Using creativity in online supervision and chronic illness (OLIVIA DJOUADI) from the book: “Online Supervision – Anne Stokes” – (May 2018)

Pip Weitz

I am I am Director of the Harley Street Online Therapy Centre providing online therapy and online supervisor. I am an Association for Counselling and Therapy Online (ACTO) Level 3 Senior Professional Member, and an ACTO Honorary Fellow and former Vice Chair. I am also a registered member of the BACP.

I also teach a diploma course in online therapy, and a second one in online supervision and I am Principal of The Academy for Online Therapy. I work closely with therapists working with NHS Trusts, businesses, universities and also provide consultation to many organisations academic, commercial and health.

I am author/editor of Psychotherapy 2.0: where Psychotherapy and Technology Meet (Karnac, 2014) as well as series editor for the Karnac Psychotherapy 2.0 series which include Online Supervision: a handbook for practitioners.

Sarah Worley-James

Sarah is passionate about online counselling, setting up the online service at Cardiff University in 2011 and contributing to the BACP’s initial response to the COVID 19 pandemic in 2020. She has had a regular column about online counselling, ‘Cyberwork’, in the BACP Workplace journal since 2016 and published a series of articles about the process of setting up an university online counselling service in the BACP AUCC 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. It was here that she first developed her passion for online counselling, noticing that few universities were offering this, whilst being convinced that students would benefit from the potential for online counselling to provide a safer and creative way to enter into therapy.

Terry Hanley

Terry Hanley is a Professor in Counselling Psychology at the University of Manchester. He is a HCPC Registered Counselling Psychologist and a Fellow of both the BPS and the Higher Education Academy. He is editor of The SAGE Handbook of Counselling and Psychotherapy (Sage, 2017), co-author of Introducing Counselling and Psychotherapy Research (Sage, 2013) and lead editor of text Adolescent Counselling Psychology (Routledge, 2013). He has been researching web-based therapy with children and young people for over 20 years and has a growing interest in the use of artificial intelligence in the caring professions.

Vauna Beauvais

MSc Psychotherapy, Certified Transactional Analyst, Certified Cybertherapist, PGCDip Counselling. UKCP registered Psychotherapist.

Vauna is a Psychotherapist, Coach, Trainer, and Clinical Supervisor. She has been seeing clients for over 20 years in private practice, and for 4 years in NHS primary care, and now works solely online. Discovering herself, at over 40 years old, that she is Autistic with ADHD, she turned her interest toward understanding neurodiversity and working well with neurodivergent clients. As well as drawing on lived experience, and the insights from some small courses, she is embarking on a postgraduate study of Autism from Autumn 2022.