Faced with joining a frantically long NHS waiting list…Coo Talkspace… “I simply felt that I couldn’t wait any longer– I was inspired and ready to handle my concerns and rather liked the idea of doing so in the comfort 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 requirements and reserved a chat session for the next day.
Remote, text-based counselling is growing in popularity in the UK. The doctor 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 signed up 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 US.
Online training advises therapists on everything from using emojis to avoiding misinterpretations. They likewise require to secure clients’ individual information– a problem that has actually caused controversy in the United States, where big online treatment platforms have actually come under the spotlight.
Buckley said patients need to check services’ privacy policies before signing up. “Not all online counselling sites utilize professionally trained therapists or abide by an ethics policy, so ask your GP for a suggestion in the first circumstances. As with all sort of services and assistance, what works for a single person may not work for someone else,” he stated.
Marc Bush, chief policy adviser at Young Minds, said that while online counselling services are valuable, “they should not replace in person therapy with a qualified professional. If a young adult is struggling, we would encourage them to talk with their GP in the very first instance, or to get in touch with an established service like The Mix, Childline or the Samaritans.”.
For Rackham, who has generalised anxiety condition, 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 think I realised after that online session how important social interaction was.