Faced with signing up with a desperately long NHS waiting list…Better Help Powerpoint… “I just felt that I couldn’t wait any longer– I was motivated and ready to deal with my concerns and quite liked the concept of doing so in the convenience of my own home,” stated the 29-year-old, who lives in London. After an online search, he discovered a therapist whose profile suited 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 offers therapy to 150,000 active users, while PlusGuidance, an online counselling service, has 10,000 users. The US-based service BetterHelp likewise has actually 150,000 registered 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 encourages therapists on whatever from using emojis to preventing misconceptions. They also need to secure clients’ personal information– a problem that has triggered controversy in the US, where huge online treatment platforms have come under the spotlight.
Buckley said patients should inspect services’ privacy policies before registering. “Not all online counselling sites use expertly trained therapists or comply with an ethics policy, so ask your GP for a suggestion in the first instance. Just like all sort of services and support, what works for a single person may not work for somebody else,” he stated.
Marc Bush, chief policy adviser at Young Minds, stated that while online counselling services are important, “they shouldn’t change face-to-face treatment with a trained professional. If a young person is struggling, we would motivate them to talk to 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 condition, online counselling wasn’t the right fit. “I felt it was near difficult for the therapist to truly get a sense of the problems I was handling, as all they needed to go from was my typed-out words. I think I understood after that online session how important social interaction was.