Faced with joining a frantically long NHS waiting list…Betterhelp Or Talk Space… “I simply felt that I couldn’t wait any longer– I was encouraged and all set to handle my concerns and rather liked the idea of doing so in the convenience of my own house,” stated the 29-year-old, who resides in London. After an online search, he found a therapist whose profile matched his requirements and booked a chat session for the next day.
Remote, text-based counselling is growing in appeal in the UK. The physician app Babylon offers treatment 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 most in the US.
Online training recommends therapists on everything from utilizing emojis to avoiding misconceptions. They also need to protect patients’ individual data– an issue that has caused debate in the United States, where huge online therapy platforms have come under the spotlight.
Buckley said patients should check services’ personal privacy policies prior to registering. “Not all online counselling websites utilize expertly trained therapists or adhere to an ethics policy, so ask your GP for a recommendation in the first circumstances. Just like all kinds of services and assistance, what works for a single person might not work for another person,” he said.
Marc Bush, primary policy advisor at Young Minds, said that while online counselling services are important, “they shouldn’t change in person treatment with a qualified specialist. If a young adult is having a hard time, we would encourage them to talk with their GP in the first instance, or to get in touch with an established service like The Mix, Childline or the Samaritans.”.
For Rackham, who has generalised anxiety disorder, online counselling wasn’t the best 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 believe I understood after that online session how important interpersonal interaction was.