Confronted with signing up with a desperately long NHS waiting list…Oren Frank Betterhelp Twitter… “I just felt that I could not wait any longer– I was encouraged and ready to deal with my problems and quite liked the idea of doing so in the comfort of my own home,” stated the 29-year-old, who resides in London. After an online search, he found a therapist whose profile matched his requirements and reserved a chat session for the next day.
Remote, text-based counselling is growing in appeal in the UK. The medical professional app Babylon uses therapy to 150,000 active users, while PlusGuidance, an online counselling service, has 10,000 users. The US-based service BetterHelp likewise has 150,000 signed up 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 encourages therapists on everything from utilizing emojis to avoiding misinterpretations. They also require to secure patients’ personal data– an issue that has triggered controversy in the US, where huge online treatment platforms have come under the spotlight.
Buckley said patients must examine services’ privacy policies prior to registering. “Not all online counselling websites utilize expertly trained therapists or comply with an ethics policy, so ask your GP for a suggestion in the very first circumstances. Just like all kinds of services and assistance, what works for one person might not work for another person,” he stated.
Marc Bush, chief policy consultant at Young Minds, stated that while online counselling services are valuable, “they should not replace face-to-face treatment with a skilled expert. If a young adult is struggling, we would encourage them to speak 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 disorder, online counselling wasn’t the right fit. “I felt it was near impossible for the therapist to truly get a sense of the concerns I was dealing with, as all they needed to go from was my typed-out words. I believe I understood after that online session how crucial interpersonal interaction was.