Faced with joining a desperately long NHS waiting list…Talk Space Mindfulness… “I simply felt that I could not wait any longer– I was inspired and ready to handle my problems and rather liked the concept of doing so in the convenience of my own house,” stated the 29-year-old, who resides in London. After an online search, he discovered a therapist whose profile fit his needs and scheduled a chat session for the next day.
Remote, text-based counselling is growing in popularity in the UK. The physician app Babylon offers 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 therapy platform, reports it has 500,000 registered users worldwide, with the majority of in the US.
Online training encourages therapists on everything from using emojis to avoiding misinterpretations. They also need to safeguard patients’ individual information– an issue that has triggered controversy in the United States, where big online therapy platforms have actually come under the spotlight.
Buckley stated patients need to examine services’ privacy policies prior to registering. “Not all online counselling sites use professionally trained therapists or abide by an ethics policy, so ask your GP for a suggestion in the first instance. As with all sort of services and support, what works for one person may not work for another person,” he stated.
Marc Bush, chief policy advisor at Young Minds, stated that while online counselling services are important, “they should not replace face-to-face therapy with an experienced expert. If a young adult is having a hard time, we would encourage them to talk to their GP in the very first instance, or to call 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 right fit. “I felt it was near impossible for the therapist to really get a sense of the issues I was handling, 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.