Faced with joining a frantically long NHS waiting list…Talk Space Therapist App… “I just felt that I could not wait any longer– I was encouraged and all set to deal with my issues and rather liked the idea 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 requirements and booked a chat session for the next day.
The physician app Babylon provides treatment to 150,000 active users, while PlusGuidance, an online counselling service, has 10,000 users. Talkspace, another online therapy platform, reports it has actually 500,000 signed up users worldwide, with most in the United States.
Online training encourages therapists on everything from using emojis to preventing misinterpretations. They also require to safeguard clients’ personal data– a problem that has caused controversy in the US, where big online treatment platforms have come under the spotlight.
Buckley said clients need to check services’ privacy policies before registering. “Not all online counselling websites use expertly trained therapists or abide by a principles policy, so ask your GP for a recommendation in the very first instance. As with all type of services and support, what works for someone may not work for somebody else,” he stated.
Marc Bush, chief policy adviser at Young Minds, said that while online counselling services are important, “they shouldn’t change face-to-face therapy with a trained professional. If a young person is having a hard time, we would encourage them to talk with their GP in the very first instance, or to get in touch with a recognized 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 concerns I was handling, as all they needed to go from was my typed-out words. I think I realised after that online session how crucial social interaction was.