Faced with signing up with a desperately long NHS waiting list…Betterhelp 7 Cups… “I simply felt that I couldn’t wait any longer– I was encouraged and all set to deal with my issues and quite liked the idea of doing so in the comfort of my own home,” said the 29-year-old, who lives in London. After an online search, he discovered a therapist whose profile matched his needs and reserved 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 likewise has 150,000 signed up UK users (though not all are active). Talkspace, another online treatment platform, reports it has 500,000 registered users worldwide, with the majority of in the US.
Online training encourages therapists on everything from utilizing emojis to preventing misconceptions. They also need to safeguard clients’ individual information– a concern that has actually caused controversy in the US, where big online therapy platforms have come under the spotlight.
Buckley said patients should check services’ privacy policies prior to registering. “Not all online counselling websites use professionally trained therapists or abide by a principles policy, so ask your GP for a suggestion in the first instance. As with all sort of services and support, what works for a single person may not work for somebody else,” he stated.
Marc Bush, chief policy consultant at Young Minds, stated that while online counselling services are valuable, “they should not change in person treatment with a qualified specialist. If a young adult is having a hard time, we would encourage them to talk to their GP in the very first circumstances, or to call an established service like The Mix, Childline or the Samaritans.”.
For Rackham, who has actually generalised stress and anxiety condition, online counselling wasn’t the ideal fit. “I felt it was near difficult for the therapist to actually get a sense of the problems I was handling, as all they had to go from was my typed-out words. I believe I understood after that online session how vital social interaction was.