Confronted with joining a frantically long NHS waiting list…Talk Space Affiliate… “I just felt that I couldn’t wait any longer– I was encouraged and prepared to deal with my concerns and quite liked the concept of doing so in the convenience of my own house,” stated 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.
Remote, text-based counselling is growing in appeal in the UK. The doctor app Babylon provides 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 signed up users worldwide, with many in the United States.
Online training encourages therapists on everything from using emojis to avoiding misinterpretations. They also require to protect clients’ personal information– a concern that has actually triggered debate in the United States, where huge online therapy platforms have come under the spotlight.
Buckley said clients should examine services’ privacy policies before signing up. “Not all online counselling websites utilize professionally trained therapists or comply with an ethics policy, so ask your GP for a recommendation in the first circumstances. As with all sort of services and support, what works for one person may not work for somebody else,” he said.
Marc Bush, chief policy consultant at Young Minds, said that while online counselling services are valuable, “they shouldn’t replace face-to-face treatment with a qualified expert. If a young adult is struggling, we would encourage them to speak to 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 actually generalised stress and anxiety condition, online counselling wasn’t the ideal fit. “I felt it was near impossible for the therapist to really get a sense of the issues I was handling, as all they needed to go from was my typed-out words. I think I realised after that online session how vital social interaction was.