Faced with joining a desperately long NHS waiting list…Better Help Ghosting… “I just felt that I could not wait any longer– I was motivated and ready to deal with my problems and rather liked the concept of doing so in the convenience of my own house,” said the 29-year-old, who resides in London. After an online search, he discovered a therapist whose profile fit his requirements and booked a chat session for the next day.
The physician app Babylon provides treatment to 150,000 active users, while PlusGuidance, an online counselling service, has 10,000 users. Talkspace, another online therapy platform, reports it has 500,000 registered users worldwide, with many in the US.
Online training advises therapists on everything from using emojis to avoiding misinterpretations. They also require to protect patients’ individual information– an issue that has actually triggered controversy in the US, where big online therapy platforms have come under the spotlight.
Buckley said patients need to examine services’ privacy policies before signing up. “Not all online counselling sites utilize professionally trained therapists or abide by a principles policy, so ask your GP for a recommendation in the first circumstances. Similar to all kinds of services and assistance, what works for someone might not work for someone else,” he said.
Marc Bush, chief policy consultant at Young Minds, said that while online counselling services are valuable, “they should not change in person treatment with a trained expert. If a young adult is having a hard time, we would encourage them to speak with their GP in the very first instance, or to contact 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 difficult for the therapist to actually get a sense of the issues I was handling, as all they needed to go from was my typed-out words. I believe I realised after that online session how vital social interaction was.