Building our resilience to support our students: removing the barrier of fear and inexperience in providing therapeutic interventions for students in an online environment


Mrs Kellie Cathcart1

1Whole Psychology / University Of Newcastle, Newcastle, Australia

It has been largely thought that clinician reluctance to step into offering e-mental health services to students has been about concern that technology will fail, privacy will be compromised or that it will replace the traditional modes of therapy. However, initial research has indicated that the largest barrier is the clinician’s self confidence in providing the services. Specifically clinician’s indicated that they were concerned about being unable to develop rapport and a working therapeutic relationship with clients as well as feeling they lacked the skills to use specific psychological techniques outside the face-to-face environment (Inglis & Cathcart, 2016). The aim of this workshop is to increase the confidence of the clinician in providing these services through having an opportunity to see examples of successful engagement and use of a range of therapeutic techniques, and through the practice of their own skills within these environments during the workshop. The workshop will focus on the following core skills:

  • Using basic counselling principles across text, audio and visual environments
  • Using the core components of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy in an online setting
  • Using the core components of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy in an online setting
  • Preparing to act on risk of harm in an online setting.

Workshop participants will be asked to bring a tablet, phone or laptop to the workshop with access to Skype for participation in the workshop activities.


Kellie is a clinical psychologist who has worked in clinical, research and project work for over 15 years. Kellie has worked with both adults and children in a broad range of services across a number of modalities both within the public and private domain.

Kellie has also worked with the Hunter Institute of Mental Health on their Mindframe projects with the media, mental health and drama industries around responsible reporting and portrayal of mental health and suicide. She has also worked with the National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre in the development and implementation of clinical trials of online therapeutic interventions for individuals with drug and alcohol disorders.

Kellie also works at the University of Newcastle both as a counsellor and guest lecturer. During this time Kellie developed, implemented and evaluated a unique and highly successful model for online counselling services offered to students. She has published work on this model and presented at major conferences over the past two years.

As the founder of Whole Psychology Kellie is interested in continuing her work in the online environment in collaborating across Australian and New Zealand Universities as well as within organisations and individual work.


The Australian and New Zealand Student Services Association Inc. (ANZSSA) is a professional association for people with an interest in the role of support services in post secondary education.

For more information, please visit ANZSSA website by


ISANA International Education Association is the representative body for professionals in Australia and New Zealand who work in international student services, advocacy, teaching and policy development in international education.

For more information, please visit the ISANA website at

Conference Managers

Please contact the team at Conference Design with any questions regarding the conference.