Confronted with joining a frantically long NHS waiting list…Better Help Counselling… “I simply felt that I could not wait any longer– I was encouraged and all set to handle my problems and rather liked the idea of doing so in the convenience of my own house,” said the 29-year-old, who resides in London. After an online search, he found a therapist whose profile matched his requirements and booked a chat session for the next day.
Remote, text-based counselling is growing in appeal in the UK. The physician 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 signed up users worldwide, with the majority of in the United States.
Online training encourages therapists on everything from utilizing emojis to avoiding misconceptions. They also need to secure clients’ personal data– an issue that has caused debate in the United States, where big online treatment platforms have come under the spotlight.
Buckley stated patients should check services’ privacy policies before signing up. “Not all online counselling sites utilize expertly trained therapists or follow a principles policy, so ask your GP for a suggestion in the very first circumstances. As with all type of services and support, what works for one person may not work for someone else,” he stated.
Marc Bush, chief policy advisor at Young Minds, stated that while online counselling services are valuable, “they shouldn’t replace in person treatment with an experienced expert. If a young adult is having a hard time, we would encourage them to talk with their GP in the very first instance, or to call a recognized service like The Mix, Childline or the Samaritans.”.
For Rackham, who has generalised anxiety disorder, online counselling wasn’t the best fit. “I felt it was near difficult for the therapist to truly get a sense of the problems I was dealing with, as all they had to go from was my typed-out words. I believe I understood after that online session how important social interaction was.