Faced with signing up with a desperately long NHS waiting list…Reviews Of Talk Space… “I just felt that I could not wait any longer– I was encouraged and prepared to deal with my issues and quite liked the concept of doing so in the convenience of my own house,” stated the 29-year-old, who resides in London. After an online search, he found a therapist whose profile matched his needs and booked a chat session for the next day.
Remote, text-based counselling is growing in popularity in the UK. The medical professional 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 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 recommends therapists on whatever from using emojis to avoiding misinterpretations. They also need to protect clients’ individual data– a problem that has caused controversy in the US, where huge online treatment platforms have come under the spotlight.
Buckley stated clients must inspect services’ personal privacy policies before 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. As with all sort of services and assistance, what works for someone may not work for another person,” he said.
Marc Bush, chief policy advisor at Young Minds, stated that while online counselling services are important, “they should not change in person treatment with a skilled specialist. If a young person is having a hard time, we would encourage them to talk 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 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 dealing with, as all they needed to go from was my typed-out words. I believe I understood after that online session how vital social interaction was.