Confronted with joining a desperately long NHS waiting list…Better Help Leadership… “I just felt that I could not wait any longer– I was motivated and all set to handle my problems and rather liked the concept of doing so in the convenience of my own house,” stated the 29-year-old, who lives in London. After an online search, he discovered 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 provides therapy 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 therapy platform, reports it has 500,000 signed up users worldwide, with a lot of in the US.
Online training encourages therapists on everything from using emojis to avoiding misinterpretations. They also need to secure patients’ personal data– an issue that has actually triggered controversy in the US, where big online treatment platforms have come under the spotlight.
Buckley stated clients should inspect services’ privacy policies before registering. “Not all online counselling websites utilize professionally trained therapists or stick to a principles policy, so ask your GP for a recommendation in the first instance. Just like all type of services and support, what works for one person may not work for someone else,” he stated.
Marc Bush, primary policy advisor at Young Minds, stated that while online counselling services are valuable, “they shouldn’t change in person therapy with an experienced specialist. If a young person is struggling, we would motivate them to speak with their GP in the very first instance, or to get in touch with an established service like The Mix, Childline or the Samaritans.”.
For Rackham, who has generalised stress and anxiety condition, online counselling wasn’t the right fit. “I felt it was near impossible for the therapist to truly get a sense of the issues 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.