Renee McDonald is an online clinical counsellor and psychotherapist, an accredited clinical supervisor, an academic educator, a coach, a speaker, an author and the Founder of Australian Online Therapy Training (AOTT).


This episode examines online therapy, from its fundamentals to the techniques and opportunities used to reimagine healthcare using this approach. Renee discusses how this extends to modern healthcare practice and the relationships with patients, their activated care networks and even supervisor and peer-to-peer communities around the therapist.


With fifty per cent of her client sessions now taking place online, Renee believes that the growing global demand for online therapy has the potential to become a useful export for Australia, given the quality of Australian healthcare practitioners. She discusses the different levels of training provided by AOTT, and how she wants to help Australian therapists reconnect with Australian clients.


Key takeaways:

  1. There is a global demand for online therapy. Internet access is universal and available to people all over the world.
  2. American practitioners can counsel Australian clients, but Australian practitioners can’t work with American clients, so Australian online therapists are losing potential business to the U.S. There’s essentially a ‘non-free trade agreement’.
  3. Online therapy could be a useful export for Australia, given the quality of Australian healthcare practitioners.
  4. Through trial and error, it was found that certain real-life scenarios needed to be played out in the virtual space, i.e. emulating a virtual waiting room and having the practitioner in charge of activating and closing the session.
  5. There is more capacity in the virtual space to work with disabled people, because of the lack of physical issues to navigate (i.e. stairs, etc.).
  6. Australia is moving towards a ‘user pays’ model which is similar to the U.S. We can learn something from other countries like Scandinavia, where you get two full years of therapy paid for by the government.
  7. Patients shouldn’t have to be diagnosed with something to go to a councillor, psychotherapist or psychologist.


Resources and links:



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