Faced with signing up with a desperately long NHS waiting list…Betterhelp Phelps… “I just felt that I couldn’t wait any longer– I was encouraged and all set to deal with my concerns and rather liked the concept of doing so in the comfort of my own home,” said the 29-year-old, who resides in London. After an online search, he found a therapist whose profile fit his needs and booked a chat session for the next day.
Remote, text-based counselling is growing in appeal in the UK. The medical professional app Babylon uses therapy to 150,000 active users, while PlusGuidance, an online counselling service, has 10,000 users. The US-based service BetterHelp also has actually 150,000 signed up 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 whatever from using emojis to preventing misinterpretations. They also need to safeguard clients’ individual information– an issue that has triggered debate in the US, where big online treatment platforms have come under the spotlight.
Buckley stated patients must examine services’ personal privacy policies prior to signing up. “Not all online counselling websites use expertly trained therapists or comply with an ethics policy, so ask your GP for a recommendation in the first instance. As with all type of services and assistance, what works for a single person might not work for another person,” he stated.
Marc Bush, primary policy consultant at Young Minds, stated that while online counselling services are valuable, “they shouldn’t change in person treatment with a qualified professional. If a young person is having a hard time, we would encourage them to speak to their GP in the first circumstances, or to get in touch with a recognized 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 problems 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 social interaction was.