Faced with joining a frantically long NHS waiting list…Glenn Harvey Betterhelp App… “I just felt that I couldn’t wait any longer– I was motivated and ready to handle my issues and quite liked the idea of doing so in the convenience of my own house,” said the 29-year-old, who resides in London. After an online search, he discovered a therapist whose profile matched his requirements and booked a chat session for the next day.
Remote, text-based counselling is growing in appeal in the UK. The medical professional app Babylon offers treatment to 150,000 active users, while PlusGuidance, an online counselling service, has 10,000 users. The US-based service BetterHelp likewise has actually 150,000 registered UK users (though not all are active). Talkspace, another online treatment platform, reports it has 500,000 registered users worldwide, with many in the US.
Online training advises therapists on everything from using emojis to preventing misinterpretations. They also require to secure clients’ personal information– an issue that has caused controversy in the United States, where big online therapy platforms have come under the spotlight.
Buckley stated clients should inspect services’ privacy policies before registering. “Not all online counselling websites use expertly trained therapists or abide by an ethics policy, so ask your GP for a recommendation in the first instance. As with all kinds of services and assistance, what works for someone may not work for somebody else,” he said.
Marc Bush, primary policy advisor at Young Minds, said that while online counselling services are valuable, “they should not replace in person therapy with a trained specialist. If a young adult is struggling, we would encourage them to speak with their GP in the first circumstances, or to contact an established service like The Mix, Childline or the Samaritans.”.
For Rackham, who has generalised stress and anxiety condition, online counselling wasn’t the right fit. “I felt it was near difficult for the therapist to really get a sense of the issues I was handling, as all they had to go from was my typed-out words. I believe I understood after that online session how essential interpersonal interaction was.