Confronted with joining a desperately long NHS waiting list…Talk Space Blue Cross Blue Shield… “I just felt that I couldn’t wait any longer– I was encouraged and all set to handle my issues and quite liked the idea of doing so in the convenience of my own house,” said the 29-year-old, who lives in London. After an online search, he discovered a therapist whose profile fit his requirements and scheduled a chat session for the next day.
Remote, text-based counselling is growing in popularity in the UK. The doctor app Babylon uses 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 treatment platform, reports it has 500,000 signed up users worldwide, with a lot of in the United States.
Online training advises therapists on whatever from using emojis to avoiding misconceptions. They likewise need to protect patients’ individual information– an issue that has caused controversy in the United States, where huge online treatment platforms have actually come under the spotlight.
Buckley stated patients must examine services’ personal privacy policies before signing up. “Not all online counselling sites utilize expertly trained therapists or comply with a principles policy, so ask your GP for a recommendation in the very first instance. Just like all sort of services and support, what works for someone might not work for another person,” he said.
Marc Bush, primary policy advisor at Young Minds, said 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 motivate them to speak to their GP in the very first instance, or to contact an established service like The Mix, Childline or the Samaritans.”.
For Rackham, who has actually generalised anxiety condition, online counselling wasn’t the right fit. “I felt it was near difficult for the therapist to really get a sense of the issues I was dealing with, as all they needed to go from was my typed-out words. I believe I realised after that online session how crucial social interaction was.