We’ve published new competences for online and phone therapy (OPT) with children and young people (CYP) to acknowledge the different knowledge, skills and abilities required to work remotely with this client group.

To support members and their work during the pandemic, we revised and updated our Online and phone therapy (OPT) competence framework with support from an expert reference group. This framework focused on working with adults, so we've now developed evidence-based competences that apply to working remotely with children and young people. These have been incorporated into our existing CYP (4-18 years) competence framework and provide a valuable tool to identify important and specific professional, legal and ethical considerations and additional skills to those used in more typical in-room interactions.

The growth in online counselling services for children and young people since the COVID pandemic began has acted as an ‘evolutionary catalyst’ for research looking at remote therapeutic work. As a result, the new CYP-OPT competences are based upon a significant body of up-to-date findings.

While developing these competences, new research emerged showing that while silence may provide some children and young people with a valuable opportunity to express their feelings, others may experience it as awkward and uncomfortable. The evidence suggests that practitioners should tailor the degree of silence used to the individual client. We’ve incorporated this research in to the competence framework along with the CYP-OPT competences.

We're now reviewing how to incorporate the CYP-OPT competences into the Counselling children and young people (4-18 years) training curriculum. We aim to publish the revised curriculum later in 2022.