Faced with signing up with a frantically long NHS waiting list…Betterhelp Using Unlicensed Therapists… “I simply felt that I couldn’t wait any longer– I was encouraged and all set to deal with my concerns and quite liked the concept of doing so in the comfort of my own home,” said the 29-year-old, who lives in London. After an online search, he found a therapist whose profile suited his requirements and scheduled a chat session for the next day.
The doctor app Babylon offers 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 many in the United States.
Online training advises therapists on whatever from using emojis to avoiding misconceptions. They also need to protect patients’ individual information– a problem that has actually caused debate in the US, where huge online therapy platforms have come under the spotlight.
Buckley said clients should check services’ privacy policies before registering. “Not all online counselling websites utilize professionally trained therapists or follow an ethics policy, so ask your GP for a recommendation in the first instance. Just like all type of services and support, what works for a single person may not work for another person,” he said.
Marc Bush, primary policy adviser at Young Minds, said that while online counselling services are important, “they should not replace in person treatment with a trained specialist. If a young adult is struggling, we would encourage them to talk to their GP in the first circumstances, or to get in touch with an established service like The Mix, Childline or the Samaritans.”.
For Rackham, who has actually generalised stress and anxiety condition, online counselling wasn’t the best fit. “I felt it was near difficult for the therapist to truly get a sense of the problems 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.