Faced with signing up with a frantically long NHS waiting list…Talk Space Tax Id Number… “I simply felt that I could not wait any longer– I was inspired and all set to handle my issues and quite liked the idea of doing so in the comfort of my own house,” stated the 29-year-old, who resides in London. After an online search, he discovered a therapist whose profile matched his requirements and reserved a chat session for the next day.
Remote, text-based counselling is growing in appeal in the UK. The doctor 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 signed up UK users (though not all are active). Talkspace, another online therapy platform, reports it has 500,000 signed up users worldwide, with many in the US.
Online training encourages therapists on whatever from using emojis to avoiding misinterpretations. They also need to safeguard patients’ personal information– a concern that has triggered debate in the United States, where huge online therapy platforms have come under the spotlight.
Buckley stated patients should examine services’ personal privacy policies before registering. “Not all online counselling websites use expertly trained therapists or adhere to a principles 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 might not work for somebody else,” he said.
Marc Bush, chief policy advisor at Young Minds, stated that while online counselling services are valuable, “they shouldn’t replace face-to-face treatment with a skilled professional. If a young person is struggling, we would encourage them to talk to their GP in the first instance, or to get in touch with 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 difficult for the therapist to really get a sense of the concerns I was handling, as all they needed to go from was my typed-out words. I think I understood after that online session how vital interpersonal interaction was.