Faced with signing up with a frantically long NHS waiting list…Better Help Counselor Clinical Quiz Assessment… “I just felt that I couldn’t wait any longer– I was encouraged and ready to handle my issues and quite liked the idea of doing so in the convenience of my own home,” stated the 29-year-old, who resides in London. After an online search, he found a therapist whose profile matched his needs and booked a chat session for the next day.
Remote, text-based counselling is growing in popularity in the UK. The physician app Babylon provides treatment to 150,000 active users, while PlusGuidance, an online counselling service, has 10,000 users. The US-based service BetterHelp likewise has 150,000 signed up UK users (though not all are active). Talkspace, another online treatment platform, reports it has 500,000 registered users worldwide, with many in the United States.
Online training advises therapists on everything from utilizing emojis to avoiding misinterpretations. They also require to safeguard patients’ individual information– an issue that has triggered debate in the US, where huge online therapy platforms have come under the spotlight.
Buckley said clients ought to examine services’ personal privacy policies prior to registering. “Not all online counselling websites utilize expertly trained therapists or follow an ethics policy, so ask your GP for a recommendation in the first instance. Just like all kinds of services and assistance, what works for one person may not work for someone else,” he stated.
Marc Bush, chief policy consultant at Young Minds, stated that while online counselling services are valuable, “they should not replace in person treatment with a qualified specialist. If a young person is having a hard time, we would encourage them to speak to their GP in the very first instance, 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 ideal fit. “I felt it was near impossible for the therapist to really get a sense of the concerns I was dealing with, as all they needed to go from was my typed-out words. I think I realised after that online session how essential interpersonal interaction was.