Confronted with joining a desperately long NHS waiting list…Putting Account On Hold Talk Space… “I simply felt that I could not wait any longer– I was encouraged and all set to handle my issues and rather liked the concept of doing so in the comfort of my own home,” said the 29-year-old, who lives in London. After an online search, he discovered a therapist whose profile matched his needs and booked a chat session for the next day.
The physician app Babylon provides therapy to 150,000 active users, while PlusGuidance, an online counselling service, has 10,000 users. Talkspace, another online therapy platform, reports it has 500,000 registered users worldwide, with most in the United States.
Online training advises therapists on everything from using emojis to avoiding misconceptions. They also need to safeguard clients’ personal data– an issue that has actually triggered debate in the US, where big online therapy platforms have come under the spotlight.
Buckley stated clients need to check services’ personal privacy policies prior to registering. “Not all online counselling websites utilize professionally trained therapists or stick to an ethics policy, so ask your GP for a recommendation in the first instance. Similar to all sort of services and support, what works for a single person may not work for someone else,” he said.
Marc Bush, primary policy advisor at Young Minds, stated that while online counselling services are valuable, “they should not change face-to-face therapy with a qualified specialist. If a young person is having a hard time, we would encourage them to speak with their GP in the very first instance, or to get in touch with an established service like The Mix, Childline or the Samaritans.”.
For Rackham, who has actually generalised stress and anxiety condition, 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 dealing with, as all they needed to go from was my typed-out words. I think I realised after that online session how important interpersonal interaction was.