Confronted with signing up with a desperately long NHS waiting list…Talk Space Cancel Account… “I simply felt that I couldn’t wait any longer– I was inspired and prepared to deal with my issues and rather liked the concept of doing so in the comfort of my own house,” said 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 physician app Babylon provides 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 treatment platform, reports it has 500,000 registered users worldwide, with a lot of in the United States.
Online training advises therapists on everything from using emojis to avoiding misinterpretations. They also need to protect clients’ personal information– an issue that has actually caused controversy in the US, where big online therapy platforms have actually come under the spotlight.
Buckley stated patients must inspect services’ personal privacy policies prior to signing up. “Not all online counselling sites utilize expertly trained therapists or comply with an ethics policy, so ask your GP for a suggestion in the first instance. As with all type of services and assistance, what works for someone might not work for someone else,” he said.
Marc Bush, chief policy consultant at Young Minds, stated that while online counselling services are valuable, “they shouldn’t change in person therapy with a qualified specialist. If a young adult is having a hard time, we would motivate them to speak with their GP in the first circumstances, or to call a recognized service like The Mix, Childline or the Samaritans.”.
For Rackham, who has generalised stress and anxiety condition, online counselling wasn’t the best fit. “I felt it was near impossible for the therapist to really get a sense of the problems I was dealing with, as all they needed to go from was my typed-out words. I think I realised after that online session how important social interaction was.