After eight weeks, the first cohort of Learn to Love Online Therapy have graduated! It has been a challenge and a joy for many of us, but 80 hours of Continuing Professional Development later, I can say I have been deeply moved by the engagement and participation of the students on the programme.
For years, I have been waving the flag of legitimacy for online and telephone therapy, having undertaken a transformational training with Sarah Hart a decade ago.
My return after maternity leave led me serendipitously to Dr Amber Lyda whose facebook group Online Therapists Group and personal coaching led to a major professional overhaul and improvement in client experience.
I would take any opportunity to talk about the depth of the work online, and until recently was seen amongst my peers as a bit kooky for using Zoom with clients.
Following this major global crisis, almost all therapists and many doctors have discovered a newfound respect for working online. The convenience, the continuity, the screenshare… you all know the benefits as well as the Zoom fatigue, blue light filter glasses and aching backs from not moving as much.
Last year, I wrote a course outline for therapists who want to love working online but just haven’t had the right support. I planned to fill out the content and launch it as a webinar series.
In March, I received a call from Counselling Tutor. They were writing a course and wanted to consult with me on the content. I pitched the idea of a progression course and they loved it. The idea was that their course provides all the nuts and bolts, builds a strong foundation and mine gives structured, practice, feedback and review. With a sprinkle of enthusiasm and inspiration of course!
With a very limited sales strategy (I only sent one email out with course details and produced a video for Counselling Tutor graduates!), we began the first run of “Learn to Love Online Therapy: the Experiential Programme” in May with 45 participants.
I originally wanted to call it something else but all of a sudden, I realised what I wanted to help my fellow therapists with. It wasn’t so much about deciding on video platforms, but it was getting confident with their chosen platform. It was a collaborative exchange of ideas and feedback that I wanted to create.
The first programme began in May 2020 and after eight weeks, I have reluctantly stopped devising homework and sending out modules. We included private practice building as well as online and telephone therapy practice and the feedback has been a joy to read.
We call the participants of Learn to Love Online Therapy LOTTIES.
It is a suitably British nickname for an incredibly generous and connected group who have emerged as a fully functional and cohesive community.
A tentative start to asynchronous group study resulted in a two and a half hour graduation party. The thoughtfulness of my first group of students will stay with me well beyond the three bouquets of flowers they sent me and the group donation to an animal charity.
They are continuing their practice by building a referral network and volunteering to host support groups in the cohort secret Facebook group and in the second cohort beginning 3rd August.
The transformation in confidence is mapped through worksheets.
Students self-graded their confidence levels at the start of the programme, with most ranging from 0 to 5.
Enrolment opens 26 July 2020. If you would like to sign up, visit the enrolment page where you can also download the course guide, watch the welcome video and check out Live teaching dates.
If you would like to know more, you are invited to a webinar where I will show you the programme outline and answer questions. I realise this is a financial investment and time commitment so please don’t hesitate to join the webinar or email me to learn more before committing!
Thank you to my May LOTTIES for joining me and I look forward to meeting my August LOTTIES!