Faced with signing up with a frantically long NHS waiting list…Betterhelp Monthly Or Quarterly… “I just felt that I couldn’t wait any longer– I was motivated and prepared to handle my concerns and quite liked the idea 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 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 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 registered UK users (though not all are active). Talkspace, another online therapy platform, reports it has actually 500,000 registered users worldwide, with most in the US.
Online training recommends therapists on everything from using emojis to avoiding misinterpretations. They likewise need to secure clients’ individual information– an issue that has caused debate in the United States, where big online therapy platforms have come under the spotlight.
Buckley said patients should examine services’ personal privacy policies before registering. “Not all online counselling sites use professionally trained therapists or comply with a principles policy, so ask your GP for a recommendation in the very first instance. Just like all kinds of services and assistance, what works for a single person might not work for another person,” he said.
Marc Bush, chief policy advisor at Young Minds, said that while online counselling services are valuable, “they should not change face-to-face therapy with a skilled expert. If a young adult is struggling, we would encourage them to speak to their GP in the very first instance, or to contact an established service like The Mix, Childline or the Samaritans.”.
For Rackham, who has actually generalised anxiety disorder, online counselling wasn’t the ideal fit. “I felt it was near impossible for the therapist to actually get a sense of the issues I was dealing with, as all they needed to go from was my typed-out words. I think I understood after that online session how essential interpersonal interaction was.