Faced with joining a frantically long NHS waiting list…Talk Space T… “I just felt that I couldn’t wait any longer– I was motivated and all set to deal with my problems and rather liked the idea of doing so in the convenience of my own home,” said the 29-year-old, who lives in London. After an online search, he found a therapist whose profile fit his needs and booked a chat session for the next day.
Remote, text-based counselling is growing in appeal in the UK. The medical professional app Babylon offers therapy 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 actually 500,000 registered users worldwide, with the majority of in the US.
Online training encourages therapists on everything from using emojis to preventing misconceptions. They likewise require to secure clients’ personal information– a problem that has triggered debate in the US, where big online treatment platforms have come under the spotlight.
Buckley stated clients must examine services’ privacy policies prior to registering. “Not all online counselling sites utilize expertly trained therapists or adhere to an ethics policy, so ask your GP for a suggestion in the very first instance. Just like all type of services and assistance, what works for a single 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 shouldn’t replace in person treatment with a trained expert. If a young adult is having a hard time, we would motivate them to speak to their GP in the very first circumstances, or to call a recognized service like The Mix, Childline or the Samaritans.”.
For Rackham, who has generalised anxiety disorder, online counselling wasn’t the ideal fit. “I felt it was near difficult for the therapist to truly 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.