Faced with joining a frantically long NHS waiting list…Better Help Worksheets… “I just felt that I could not wait any longer– I was motivated and all set to deal with my concerns and quite liked the idea of doing so in the convenience of my own house,” said the 29-year-old, who lives in London. After an online search, he found a therapist whose profile suited his needs and reserved 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 actually 150,000 registered 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 everything from using emojis to preventing misinterpretations. They also require to secure patients’ personal data– an issue that has caused debate in the US, where huge online treatment platforms have come under the spotlight.
Buckley said patients ought to check services’ personal privacy policies prior to signing up. “Not all online counselling websites utilize professionally trained therapists or abide by a principles policy, so ask your GP for a recommendation in the first circumstances. Just like all kinds 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, said that while online counselling services are important, “they should not change in person therapy with an experienced specialist. If a young person is having a hard time, we would encourage them to talk to their GP in the first instance, or to contact an established 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 think I realised after that online session how vital social interaction was.