Faced with joining a frantically long NHS waiting list…Talk Space Scam… “I just felt that I could not wait any longer– I was inspired and all set 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 lives in London. After an online search, he found a therapist whose profile suited his needs and scheduled a chat session for the next day.
Remote, text-based counselling is growing in popularity in the UK. The medical professional app Babylon uses therapy to 150,000 active users, while PlusGuidance, an online counselling service, has 10,000 users. The US-based service BetterHelp also has actually 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 most in the US.
Online training advises therapists on everything from utilizing emojis to avoiding misinterpretations. They also need to secure patients’ individual information– an issue that has triggered controversy in the US, where huge online therapy platforms have come under the spotlight.
Buckley stated patients need to check services’ privacy policies before signing up. “Not all online counselling sites utilize expertly trained therapists or follow a principles policy, so ask your GP for a suggestion in the very first circumstances. As with all sort of services and assistance, what works for someone might not work for somebody else,” he stated.
Marc Bush, primary policy adviser at Young Minds, said that while online counselling services are important, “they should not change face-to-face treatment with a skilled expert. If a young adult is struggling, we would motivate them to speak with their GP in the very first instance, or to contact an established service like The Mix, Childline or the Samaritans.”.
For Rackham, who has generalised anxiety disorder, online counselling wasn’t the best fit. “I felt it was near impossible for the therapist to truly get a sense of the problems I was dealing with, as all they had to go from was my typed-out words. I think I realised after that online session how vital social interaction was.