Confronted with joining a frantically long NHS waiting list…Talk Space Trademark… “I simply felt that I could not wait any longer– I was encouraged and ready to handle my concerns and quite liked the idea of doing so in the comfort of my own home,” stated the 29-year-old, who lives in London. After an online search, he discovered a therapist whose profile suited his needs and booked a chat session for the next day.
Remote, text-based counselling is growing in appeal in the UK. The doctor app Babylon uses 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 registered UK users (though not all are active). Talkspace, another online therapy platform, reports it has 500,000 registered users worldwide, with most in the US.
Online training encourages therapists on whatever from using emojis to avoiding misinterpretations. They also require to secure clients’ personal information– an issue that has caused controversy in the US, where big online treatment platforms have come under the spotlight.
Buckley stated patients need to examine services’ personal privacy policies prior to signing up. “Not all online counselling websites use expertly trained therapists or stick to an ethics policy, so ask your GP for a recommendation in the first circumstances. As with all type of services and assistance, what works for someone may not work for somebody else,” he said.
Marc Bush, primary policy consultant at Young Minds, stated that while online counselling services are important, “they should not change in person treatment with a trained expert. If a young adult is having a hard time, 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 generalised anxiety disorder, 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 had to go from was my typed-out words. I believe I realised after that online session how important social interaction was.