Confronted with signing up with a frantically long NHS waiting list…Insurance Cover Talkspace… “I simply felt that I couldn’t wait any longer– I was inspired and ready to handle my problems and rather liked the concept of doing so in the comfort of my own house,” stated 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 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 registered UK users (though not all are active). Talkspace, another online therapy platform, reports it has actually 500,000 signed up users worldwide, with a lot of in the US.
Online training advises therapists on whatever from using emojis to avoiding misconceptions. They also require to secure patients’ personal information– an issue that has caused controversy in the United States, where big online therapy platforms have come under the spotlight.
Buckley said patients need to examine services’ personal 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 instance. Similar to all type of services and assistance, what works for someone might not work for somebody else,” he stated.
Marc Bush, primary policy advisor at Young Minds, said that while online counselling services are valuable, “they shouldn’t replace in person treatment with a trained professional. If a young person is struggling, we would motivate them to speak with their GP in the very first instance, or to get in touch with a recognized 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 impossible 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 think I realised after that online session how vital interpersonal interaction was.