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Review of CoachingSpaces

31 May 2016    

Review by Dr Carole Francis-Smith, a BPS chartered and HCPC registered counselling psychologist, currently working in private practice


Description: On CoachingSpaces (CS) you can set up a project page using an array of 3D virtual images and tools. There are different types of packages some of which come with a cost (see below). Several of the packages allow secure video and IM communications within a project you have created. Communication facilities are available when using a desktop but mobile devices can be used to create projects.

Setting up: An easy process of email and password set up. You are then in the system and able to start a project and begin. I suggest looking at the tutorial videos on offer first – I didn’t do this and was faced with a very unfamiliar looking system, which took me a while to navigate. Inviting an attendee involves the system sending an email. They also offer a demo session that could be useful. Otherwise support is via email.

Client experience: A client receives an email invite, follows the link and sets up a sign in. They then enter the project via IM and/or video (which appears in a box on the project). Feedback suggests this is an easy process and communications was clear.

Ongoing use: You can invite a client into an empty project page to create something together or have a project set up. There is a dazzling array of people, animals, objects, backgrounds and other facilities (e.g. speech bubbles) to choose from – as well as being able to manipulate by size and colour. There is an option to allow or not allow the visitor to change anything, and this might be useful as it is certainly very distracting if you are both doing this at the same time. Projects are safely saved as you go along and the save button allows for a screenshot of the project at a certain point (maybe for the project maker and/ or client to take away). There is a note-taking section for both users, if required. Whilst using the project features was fun I could also see it being useful in working creatively, and perhaps with systemic/family type therapies. 

Security: CoachingSpaces are EU based with servers in the EU. If you would like to read more about how CS attends to ICO data protection issues please follow the link to their Trust policy. You can be excused for feeling confused about the most recent advice regarding safety of data and legal jurisdiction for online practitioners. Philippa has very up to date and understandable advice in this area – please follow her link to learn more.


Free – This allows creation of a single project but no online share option. They suggest this might be useful if working f-2-f with a client or communicating by another system whilst looking at the project.

Starter (7.99 euros) – This allow for 10 projects to be created and to share online with 1 person.

Pro (14.99 euros) – allows for unlimited projects and online sharing with up to 4 people.

You do not have to commit long term and your regular subscription can be cancelled (perhaps through holiday), and then re-invoked at a later time (where all your projects will be waiting for you).


  • CS offers a UK secure platform to communicate your project via IM and video.
  • It is easy to set up and access as a client.
  • There is a huge selection of features to create your project which you have unlimited access to, whatever version you choose.
  • There is an option to stop subscription and restart (keeping your project/s) at a later time, if you wish to.
  • This system allows for working creatively and felt a bit like I was working with online Lego.


  • CS is not HIPAA compliant (if this is something you are looking for).
  • It can be a bit confusing to understand the project system unless you perhaps have a demo and/or check out the tutorials.
  • The free version does not allow the online communication that practitioners might be looking for.
  • It could be a bit disorientating and confusing working with a client in this way – especially if you are allowing both of you to move features. 

These reviews were conducted on therapist usability basis and are not a definitive guide. Usability is affected by; what type of computer, computer program and broadband service you, and the person you are connecting with, utilise. The reviews are intended to provide helpful information for therapists looking for an online platform.

Philippa has produced a very useful Online Platforms Comparison Summary, designed to help you decide on a platform that suits you. To view a quick comparison of all software log in to your member account here. If you are not yet a member, join here to have access to a variety of exclusive resources and special offers.



About The Author

Dr Carole Francis-Smith is a BPS chartered and HCPC registered counselling psychologist, currently working in private practice. Carole provides therapy both in-person and online from her base near Bristol, and also offers training in mental health issues to organisations. Having undertaken doctoral research into ‘Email therapy and the therapeutic relationship’ Carole has developed a special interest in the process of online communications, and  is committed to the promotion of safe online practice. With this in mind Carole also offers training for new therapists contemplating online working, bespoke training to complement core therapy trainings, and also with businesses to improve communication networks.

Please feel free to contact her by email, visit her website and read a blog she wrote called ‘Therapy through the looking glass; implications for training and beyond…’ on aspects of her research, published on the Online Therapy Institute website.