Module 3: Modalities


Online therapy tip:

Not all clients and therapists suit online therapy. It is up to the team to decide together which goals are achievable through online media.

Modalities: How should I use the tools in my toolbox and when?

Tool How and when should I use this?
Internet connection If your client is based remotely, or if they don’t have consistent access to internet for financial reasons, look to local services to support in this area – is there a library in town? Will the school support the client by using their wi-fi network to share data?
Data storage Store your data somewhere where both you and your client can access it. Families have busy lives, and they might see more than one therapist, so having information online in one place in invaluable
Videoconferencing software Do you really need to videoconference? If a phone call will do, use a phone call. If an email will do, use an email. If you need to see movement, behaviour, or a visual strategy, then this is probably the modality to use.
Email Email is good for connecting with multiple people in the team, and sending official documents. Don’t use email if SMS or instant messaging can get the message across more quickly and easily.
Headset If you or you client is in a loud space, try to use earphones. It decreases background noise and will make any recordings clearer
Tablet This is a fantastic tool for following active clients with active goals. If you’re trying to observe a child’s behaviour around the home, you might ask a parent to follow the child with the tablet to see where they go and what they do.
Video sharing Remember therapy is a process – it happens all the time, not just when we’re with a client. Sharing videos that you’ve made, or that others have made (e.g. YouTube) are a great way to keep your clients motivated, focused, and teach new skills.
Smart phone It might sound obvious, but keep in touch with your client by regular communication. A phone makes it easy to be responsive to your client whatever their need might be

Is online therapy right for my client?

These are some questions that you might like to ask to see if online therapy is right for your client.

1. Has my client seen an allied health professional before? People who have engaged with allied health in the past might be more likely to be familiar with how therapy can work, and the role of the therapist in coaching the team through goals.

2. Does my client have a key worker? Is there someone who can support the family to continue on with their work and to “manage” the team while you’re not there? Who will remember to practice? Who will remember when the next call is? Etc.

3. MOST IMPORTANTLY, does my client and the team want to do online therapy? If your client and the team is not invested in therapy, they won’t be motivated, and won’t be exercising choice and control. Respect their wishes.

Online therapy example:


Isabelle has selective mutism. She doesn’t talk with unfamiliar people if they’re looking at her. She and her father talk to her therapist on the phone twice a week to practice desensitisation strategies without the need for Isabelle to be anxious about someone looking at her. Isabelle’s therapist also sends videos that remind her of which strategies she’s practising – she watches them in her own time at home.