Faced with joining a frantically long NHS waiting list…Better Help Sutton Surrey… “I just felt that I could not wait any longer– I was inspired and all set to handle my concerns and rather liked the idea of doing so in the comfort of my own house,” stated the 29-year-old, who resides in London. After an online search, he discovered a therapist whose profile suited his requirements and scheduled a chat session for the next day.
Remote, text-based counselling is growing in popularity in the UK. The doctor app Babylon uses therapy to 150,000 active users, while PlusGuidance, an online counselling service, has 10,000 users. The US-based service BetterHelp also 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 many in the US.
Online training recommends therapists on whatever from using emojis to avoiding misinterpretations. They also need to safeguard clients’ individual data– an issue that has triggered controversy in the United States, where big online treatment platforms have come under the spotlight.
Buckley stated patients should inspect services’ personal privacy policies before registering. “Not all online counselling sites utilize expertly trained therapists or adhere to an ethics policy, so ask your GP for a suggestion in the first instance. As with all type of services and assistance, what works for a single person may not work for someone else,” he said.
Marc Bush, primary policy consultant at Young Minds, stated that while online counselling services are valuable, “they should not change face-to-face therapy with an experienced expert. If a young adult is having a hard time, we would motivate them to speak with their GP in the first circumstances, or to call an established service like The Mix, Childline or the Samaritans.”.
For Rackham, who has actually generalised stress and anxiety disorder, online counselling wasn’t the best fit. “I felt it was near impossible for the therapist to really get a sense of the concerns I was handling, as all they had to go from was my typed-out words. I believe I understood after that online session how crucial social interaction was.