Faced with joining a desperately long NHS waiting list…Betterhelp Therapy For… “I simply felt that I couldn’t wait any longer– I was inspired and prepared to handle my problems 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 discovered a therapist whose profile matched his needs and reserved a chat session for the next day.
Remote, text-based counselling is growing in popularity in the UK. The physician app Babylon uses therapy to 150,000 active users, while PlusGuidance, an online counselling service, has 10,000 users. The US-based service BetterHelp likewise has 150,000 registered UK users (though not all are active). Talkspace, another online treatment platform, reports it has 500,000 signed up users worldwide, with a lot of in the US.
Online training advises therapists on everything from using emojis to preventing misconceptions. They likewise need to protect clients’ personal data– an issue that has triggered debate in the US, where big online treatment platforms have actually come under the spotlight.
Buckley said clients ought to examine services’ personal privacy policies before registering. “Not all online counselling websites use expertly trained therapists or follow an ethics policy, so ask your GP for a suggestion in the very first instance. As with all type of services and support, what works for one person might not work for someone else,” he said.
Marc Bush, primary policy consultant at Young Minds, said that while online counselling services are valuable, “they should not replace face-to-face treatment with a trained professional. If a young person is struggling, we would motivate them to talk with their GP in the very first circumstances, or to get in touch with 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 truly get a sense of the concerns I was handling, as all they had to go from was my typed-out words. I believe I realised after that online session how vital interpersonal interaction was.