Faced with signing up with a desperately long NHS waiting list…Betterhelp Spac Presentation… “I simply felt that I couldn’t wait any longer– I was encouraged and prepared to handle my problems and rather liked the idea of doing so in the convenience of my own home,” stated the 29-year-old, who resides in London. After an online search, he found a therapist whose profile suited his needs and scheduled a chat session for the next day.
The medical professional app Babylon uses therapy to 150,000 active users, while PlusGuidance, an online counselling service, has 10,000 users. Talkspace, another online therapy platform, reports it has 500,000 registered users worldwide, with a lot of in the US.
Online training encourages therapists on everything from using emojis to preventing misinterpretations. They also need to secure clients’ personal data– a problem that has caused debate in the United States, where huge online treatment platforms have actually come under the spotlight.
Buckley said patients must check services’ privacy policies before registering. “Not all online counselling websites utilize expertly trained therapists or follow a principles policy, so ask your GP for a suggestion in the first instance. Similar to all sort of services and support, what works for someone may not work for another person,” he said.
Marc Bush, primary policy adviser at Young Minds, said that while online counselling services are valuable, “they shouldn’t replace in person therapy with an experienced specialist. If a young person is having a hard time, we would motivate them to speak with their GP in the first circumstances, or to contact a recognized 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 handling, as all they needed to go from was my typed-out words. I believe I understood after that online session how crucial social interaction was.