Faced with joining a desperately long NHS waiting list…Darcie Kelley Betterhelp… “I just felt that I couldn’t wait any longer– I was encouraged and all set to handle my concerns and quite liked the idea of doing so in the convenience of my own house,” said the 29-year-old, who lives in London. After an online search, he discovered a therapist whose profile fit his needs and reserved a chat session for the next day.
Remote, text-based counselling is growing in popularity in the UK. The medical professional 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 actually 150,000 registered UK users (though not all are active). Talkspace, another online therapy platform, reports it has 500,000 registered users worldwide, with most in the US.
Online training recommends therapists on everything from using emojis to preventing misconceptions. They also need to protect patients’ individual information– a problem that has triggered debate in the US, where big online treatment platforms have actually come under the spotlight.
Buckley stated patients ought to inspect services’ personal privacy policies prior to registering. “Not all online counselling sites utilize expertly trained therapists or adhere to an ethics policy, so ask your GP for a suggestion in the first circumstances. Similar to all kinds of services and assistance, what works for a single person might not work for another person,” he said.
Marc Bush, chief policy consultant at Young Minds, said that while online counselling services are valuable, “they shouldn’t change in person treatment with an experienced specialist. If a young person is struggling, we would encourage them to talk to their GP in the first instance, 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 ideal fit. “I felt it was near difficult 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 realised after that online session how important interpersonal interaction was.