Faced with joining a desperately long NHS waiting list…Swimmer Talkspace… “I just felt that I could not wait any longer– I was motivated and ready to handle my issues and rather liked the idea of doing so in the comfort of my own house,” stated the 29-year-old, who lives in London. After an online search, he discovered a therapist whose profile suited his requirements and booked a chat session for the next day.
The doctor app Babylon uses therapy to 150,000 active users, while PlusGuidance, an online counselling service, has 10,000 users. Talkspace, another online treatment platform, reports it has 500,000 registered users worldwide, with most in the United States.
Online training encourages therapists on whatever from using emojis to avoiding misinterpretations. They also need to protect clients’ individual data– a problem that has caused debate in the US, where huge online treatment platforms have come under the spotlight.
Buckley stated clients should examine services’ privacy policies before registering. “Not all online counselling websites use professionally trained therapists or follow a principles policy, so ask your GP for a recommendation in the very first instance. As with all sort of services and support, what works for one person might not work for another person,” he stated.
Marc Bush, primary policy consultant at Young Minds, stated that while online counselling services are important, “they should not replace face-to-face treatment with a skilled professional. If a young adult is having a hard time, we would motivate them to talk with their GP in the very first instance, or to call a recognized service like The Mix, Childline or the Samaritans.”.
For Rackham, who has generalised stress and anxiety disorder, online counselling wasn’t the right fit. “I felt it was near difficult for the therapist to actually get a sense of the problems I was dealing with, as all they had to go from was my typed-out words. I think I realised after that online session how crucial interpersonal interaction was.