Faced with signing up with a frantically long NHS waiting list…Better Help Hudson… “I just felt that I couldn’t wait any longer– I was inspired and all set to deal with my concerns and rather liked the idea of doing so in the convenience of my own home,” stated the 29-year-old, who lives in London. After an online search, he found a therapist whose profile suited his requirements and scheduled a chat session for the next day.
The doctor app Babylon provides therapy 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 signed up users worldwide, with most in the United States.
Online training advises therapists on everything from utilizing emojis to avoiding misconceptions. They also require to protect clients’ individual information– a concern that has triggered debate in the US, where huge online therapy platforms have come under the spotlight.
Buckley said clients ought to check services’ privacy policies before registering. “Not all online counselling sites utilize professionally trained therapists or stick to an ethics policy, so ask your GP for a recommendation in the first circumstances. Similar to all kinds of services and support, what works for someone may not work for someone else,” he said.
Marc Bush, chief policy consultant at Young Minds, said that while online counselling services are important, “they should not replace in person therapy with an experienced professional. If a young adult is having a hard time, we would encourage them to speak with their GP in the very first circumstances, or to call a recognized service like The Mix, Childline or the Samaritans.”.
For Rackham, who has generalised anxiety condition, online counselling wasn’t the ideal fit. “I felt it was near impossible for the therapist to actually get a sense of the concerns I was dealing with, as all they needed to go from was my typed-out words. I believe I understood after that online session how vital social interaction was.