Faced with joining a frantically long NHS waiting list…Talk Space For Couples… “I just felt that I could not wait any longer– I was encouraged and all set to deal with my problems and quite liked the concept of doing so in the comfort of my own house,” stated the 29-year-old, who lives in London. After an online search, he found a therapist whose profile matched his needs and reserved a chat session for the next day.
Remote, text-based counselling is growing in appeal in the UK. The physician app Babylon offers 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 registered UK users (though not all are active). Talkspace, another online treatment platform, reports it has 500,000 signed up users worldwide, with many in the United States.
Online training advises therapists on everything from utilizing emojis to avoiding misinterpretations. They also need to secure patients’ individual data– a concern that has caused controversy in the United States, where big online treatment platforms have come under the spotlight.
Buckley stated clients need to examine services’ privacy policies before registering. “Not all online counselling sites use expertly trained therapists or comply with a principles policy, so ask your GP for a recommendation in the first circumstances. Just like all sort of services and assistance, what works for one person may not work for somebody else,” he stated.
Marc Bush, primary policy advisor at Young Minds, said that while online counselling services are valuable, “they shouldn’t change face-to-face therapy with a qualified expert. If a young person is having a hard time, we would motivate them to speak to their GP in the first instance, or to get in touch with an established service like The Mix, Childline or the Samaritans.”.
For Rackham, who has generalised anxiety condition, online counselling wasn’t the best fit. “I felt it was near difficult for the therapist to actually get a sense of the issues I was dealing with, as all they had to go from was my typed-out words. I believe I understood after that online session how essential interpersonal interaction was.