Confronted with joining a frantically long NHS waiting list…Betterhelp Michael Phelps Commercial… “I just felt that I couldn’t wait any longer– I was motivated and all set to deal with my problems and rather liked the concept of doing so in the convenience of my own home,” said the 29-year-old, who lives in London. After an online search, he found a therapist whose profile matched his requirements and reserved a chat session for the next day.
Remote, text-based counselling is growing in popularity in the UK. The physician app Babylon provides treatment 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 actually 500,000 registered users worldwide, with many in the United States.
Online training encourages therapists on whatever from using emojis to preventing misinterpretations. They also need to protect patients’ individual information– an issue that has triggered controversy in the United States, where big online therapy platforms have actually come under the spotlight.
Buckley said clients need to check services’ personal privacy policies prior to signing up. “Not all online counselling sites use expertly trained therapists or stick to a principles policy, so ask your GP for a recommendation in the very first instance. Similar to all type of services and assistance, what works for a single person may not work for someone else,” he said.
Marc Bush, chief policy consultant at Young Minds, stated that while online counselling services are valuable, “they shouldn’t change face-to-face treatment with a qualified professional. If a young adult is having a hard time, we would motivate them to speak to their GP in the first circumstances, 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 right fit. “I felt it was near impossible for the therapist to truly get a sense of the problems I was handling, as all they had to go from was my typed-out words. I think I realised after that online session how crucial social interaction was.