Faced with signing up with a desperately long NHS waiting list…Better Help 100 Off… “I simply felt that I could not wait any longer– I was inspired and all set to deal with my problems and quite liked the idea of doing so in the convenience of my own house,” said the 29-year-old, who lives in London. After an online search, he found a therapist whose profile fit his needs and booked a chat session for the next day.
Remote, text-based counselling is growing in appeal in the UK. The doctor app Babylon offers therapy to 150,000 active users, while PlusGuidance, an online counselling service, has 10,000 users. The US-based service BetterHelp also has 150,000 registered UK users (though not all are active). Talkspace, another online therapy platform, reports it has actually 500,000 registered users worldwide, with the majority of in the United States.
Online training encourages therapists on everything from using emojis to avoiding misinterpretations. They also need to secure clients’ personal data– a problem that has actually caused debate in the United States, where big online therapy platforms have actually come under the spotlight.
Buckley stated patients should check services’ personal privacy policies before signing up. “Not all online counselling websites use expertly trained therapists or follow an ethics policy, so ask your GP for a recommendation in the very first circumstances. As with all sort of services and support, what works for a single person may not work for somebody else,” he stated.
Marc Bush, chief policy advisor at Young Minds, stated that while online counselling services are valuable, “they should not change in person therapy with a qualified expert. If a young person is having a hard time, we would encourage them to talk to their GP in the very first circumstances, or to call an established service like The Mix, Childline or the Samaritans.”.
For Rackham, who has generalised stress and anxiety disorder, online counselling wasn’t the right fit. “I felt it was near difficult for the therapist to truly get a sense of the concerns I was handling, as all they needed to go from was my typed-out words. I think I understood after that online session how essential interpersonal interaction was.