Confronted with joining a frantically long NHS waiting list…Referral Talkspace… “I just felt that I couldn’t wait any longer– I was motivated and ready to handle my issues and rather liked the idea of doing so in the convenience of my own home,” said the 29-year-old, who resides 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 physician app Babylon uses treatment to 150,000 active users, while PlusGuidance, an online counselling service, has 10,000 users. The US-based service BetterHelp also has 150,000 signed up UK users (though not all are active). Talkspace, another online therapy platform, reports it has 500,000 signed up users worldwide, with a lot of in the US.
Online training recommends therapists on whatever from using emojis to preventing misinterpretations. They likewise need to secure patients’ personal information– an issue that has triggered debate in the United States, where huge online treatment platforms have come under the spotlight.
Buckley stated clients must inspect services’ personal privacy policies before signing up. “Not all online counselling websites utilize professionally trained therapists or adhere to an ethics policy, so ask your GP for a recommendation in the very first instance. Just like all sort of services and assistance, what works for a single person may not work for another person,” he said.
Marc Bush, primary policy advisor at Young Minds, said that while online counselling services are important, “they shouldn’t change in person treatment with a qualified professional. If a young person is struggling, we would encourage them to talk with their GP in the very first circumstances, or to get in touch with an established service like The Mix, Childline or the Samaritans.”.
For Rackham, who has generalised stress and anxiety disorder, online counselling wasn’t the ideal 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 important interpersonal interaction was.