The Ch@advice project is well on its way and the Belgian digital counselling establishment, which advices children and young people online and offline on issues concerning sexual abuse has functioned since January 2012 and has just about found its professional standpoint. As written earlier in May CfDP has been invited to join the advisory board, which objective is to ensure that the new counselling project works well on the basis of a strong, professional foundation. Last week I participated in the first advisory board meeting.

Handbook on online chat counselling for all of Europe

Ch@advice is a Daphne project supported by EU and besides having a counselling platform for children and teens the intention is to create a European platform for sharing knowledge of digital counselling and furthermore to contribute with a handbook on online chat counselling. It is meant to function as a source of inspiration to digital chat counselling associations that are already established in EU but also organisations that contemplate starting one.

The preparation of the handbook is the crowning glory for Arteveldehogeschool, University of Brussels, which is a collaboration partner at Ch@advice and has researched in online chat counselling since 2007. This is the most intense focus on this digital platform that I know of. The handbook will be published in March 2013.

No answers, only questions

No answers – but the necessary questions you must ask yourself as a digital counselling establishment are in focus. This is the construction chosen for the book by the researchers based on the acknowledgment that cultural and professional differences between borders exclude the option to write an actual manual.

And it is a good conclusion because in a field where method and practice vary according to matters such as the target group, the reflection on and the argumentation for the choices that you make in the shaping of the counselling establishment will be an important tool for the ensuring of the quality.

A little praise to CfDP and our digital counselling platform Cyberhus

An important part of the researchers’ work with online chat counselling has been to scan and analyse the digital counselling offers that exist within EU. On their way they also ran into Cyberhus and apart from using Cyberhus as an example of practice I also received a bunch of praising words. In their point of view, Cyberhus came across as being one of the most innovative, well-considered and reflective digital establishments for children and teens in EU.

When I was asked how we got this far I answered that we are really good at asking ourselves critical questions and being curious about our own and new practices. This is also one of the reasons why I look very much forward to the publications of their new handbook on online chat counselling, and hopefully there are questions in there which we have not yet considered asking ourselves and which can inspire us in the future.


Written by Erroll Marshall