COVID-19’s nudge to modernise: An opportunity to reconsider telehealth and counselling placements

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Nathan Beel



Telehealth may become a more accepted format of service delivery after COVID-19 and it is essential that counsellors and counsellor educators are suitably prepared for contemporary professional practice in its diversity. While technology-assisted counselling has been practiced in Australia for 60 years, the Psychotherapy and Counselling Federation of Australia’s (PACFA) current Training Standards mandate that the 40 hours of placement done in training must be delivered in the same room as clients. This privileging of face-to-face (F2F) experience may reflect outdated practitioner reservations that demonstrate inadequate awareness of existing research on alternative delivery formats. In addition, I argue this restriction may run counter to employability aims of placements and has broader ramifications on students, training providers, and research. I argue that non-F2F formats such as those delivered by telehealth should be treated without prejudice and should be counted with or without the presence of F2F hours for student placements.


Keywords: Counsellor education, placements, telehealth, employability


Address for Correspondence
Nathan Beel