Confronted with joining a desperately long NHS waiting list…Nisim Cohen Talk Space… “I just felt that I could not wait any longer– I was encouraged and ready to handle my problems and quite liked the concept of doing so in the comfort of my own home,” stated the 29-year-old, who lives in London. After an online search, he found a therapist whose profile matched his requirements and booked a chat session for the next day.
Remote, text-based counselling is growing in popularity in the UK. The doctor app Babylon provides 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 treatment 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 misinterpretations. They also require to secure patients’ personal data– a concern that has caused controversy in the United States, where huge online treatment platforms have actually come under the spotlight.
Buckley said clients need to inspect services’ privacy policies prior to registering. “Not all online counselling sites use expertly trained therapists or adhere to an ethics policy, so ask your GP for a suggestion in the first instance. Similar to all sort of services and support, what works for someone might not work for somebody else,” he said.
Marc Bush, chief policy consultant at Young Minds, stated that while online counselling services are important, “they shouldn’t change face-to-face treatment with a skilled expert. If a young adult is having a hard time, we would encourage them to talk with 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 generalised anxiety condition, online counselling wasn’t the best fit. “I felt it was near impossible for the therapist to truly get a sense of the problems I was handling, as all they needed to go from was my typed-out words. I think I understood after that online session how vital interpersonal interaction was.