ACTO The Association for Counselling and Therapy Online
21st September, 2007
ACTO (the Association for Counselling and Therapy Online) was born out of discussions among counsellors (beginning in 2005) who were already working online. We recognised that online counselling was a fast-developing branch of the profession and felt we needed an umbrella organisation to which we could belong, which would represent our specific interests and act as a regulatory body.
We set to work to develop a professional organisation whose sole focus was online counselling. Knowing that on the Internet, online counsellors were not adequately registered or regulated, we decided we would try and address this. In an unregulated environment like the internet, we are attempting to bring in some regulation and accountability. We examine the professional qualifications of everyone who applies to join as a member, reserving the right to refuse those whose qualifications cannot be confirmed by a validating body. In doing this we hope to reassure the public that all ACTO members are, indeed, the professionals they claim to be on their websites.
As well as scrutinising members’ qualifications, ACTO is also a professional body to whom clients can bring complaints against its members, and a robust code of ethics and practice and complaints procedure have been developed for this purpose to which all members are bound.
After a lengthy gestation period, ACTO was born on January 1st 2007.
Membership is open to anyone who is practising online as either a counsellor or therapist or Associate membership is open to anyone who has an interest in online therapy. The membership fee is modest and therapists who are already working online are urged to join ACTO and have a professional body to represent the online part of their work, a lively discussion forum for matters of professional interest, online meetings and general information about online counselling.
Gill Jones, MA, MBACP, Snr. Accred. Counsellor
Chairman, ACTO, 2007/8
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