Faced with joining a desperately long NHS waiting list…How I Phone Better Help Customer Support… “I simply felt that I could not wait any longer– I was motivated and prepared to deal with my issues and rather liked the idea of doing so in the comfort of my own home,” said 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 appeal in the UK. The physician app Babylon offers treatment 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 the majority of in the US.
Online training advises therapists on everything from using emojis to avoiding misinterpretations. They also need to protect patients’ personal data– an issue that has caused debate in the United States, where big online treatment platforms have actually come under the spotlight.
Buckley said clients should check services’ personal privacy policies before registering. “Not all online counselling websites utilize professionally trained therapists or stick to an ethics policy, so ask your GP for a suggestion in the first circumstances. As with all kinds of services and support, what works for someone may not work for someone else,” he said.
Marc Bush, chief policy adviser at Young Minds, said that while online counselling services are valuable, “they shouldn’t change in person therapy with an experienced expert. If a young person is struggling, we would encourage them to talk with their GP in the first instance, or to call an established service like The Mix, Childline or the Samaritans.”.
For Rackham, who has generalised anxiety disorder, online counselling wasn’t the right fit. “I felt it was near difficult for the therapist to truly get a sense of the issues I was handling, as all they had to go from was my typed-out words. I think I understood after that online session how vital social interaction was.