Faced with signing up with a desperately long NHS waiting list…Talk Space Customer Service Associate… “I simply felt that I couldn’t wait any longer– I was motivated and prepared to deal with my concerns and quite liked the concept 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 matched his needs 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 therapy platform, reports it has actually 500,000 signed up users worldwide, with most in the US.
Online training advises therapists on everything from utilizing emojis to avoiding misinterpretations. They also need to safeguard patients’ individual information– a problem that has triggered controversy in the US, where big online treatment platforms have actually come under the spotlight.
Buckley said clients must inspect services’ privacy policies prior to registering. “Not all online counselling websites use expertly trained therapists or adhere to an ethics policy, so ask your GP for a suggestion in the first circumstances. As with all kinds of services and assistance, what works for a single person might not work for someone else,” he said.
Marc Bush, primary policy consultant at Young Minds, said that while online counselling services are valuable, “they shouldn’t change face-to-face therapy with a qualified professional. If a young person is having a hard time, we would motivate them to talk to their GP in the first circumstances, or to get in touch with a recognized service like The Mix, Childline or the Samaritans.”.
For Rackham, who has generalised anxiety disorder, online counselling wasn’t the right fit. “I felt it was near impossible 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 believe I realised after that online session how crucial social interaction was.