Confronted with signing up with a desperately long NHS waiting list…Betterhelp Put Subscription On Hold… “I simply felt that I couldn’t wait any longer– I was inspired and prepared to deal with my problems and quite liked the idea of doing so in the comfort of my own house,” said the 29-year-old, who resides in London. After an online search, he discovered 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 offers therapy 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 treatment platform, reports it has 500,000 registered users worldwide, with the majority of in the United States.
Online training advises therapists on everything from utilizing emojis to avoiding misconceptions. They also need to safeguard clients’ individual data– an issue that has caused debate in the United States, where big online treatment platforms have actually come under the spotlight.
Buckley stated clients must inspect services’ privacy policies before registering. “Not all online counselling sites utilize expertly trained therapists or comply with an ethics policy, so ask your GP for a recommendation in the first instance. As with all kinds of services and support, what works for someone may not work for someone else,” he said.
Marc Bush, primary policy advisor at Young Minds, stated that while online counselling services are valuable, “they shouldn’t change face-to-face therapy with an experienced specialist. If a young person is having a hard time, we would encourage 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 best fit. “I felt it was near impossible for the therapist to really get a sense of the concerns I was dealing with, as all they had to go from was my typed-out words. I believe I understood after that online session how crucial social interaction was.