Faced with joining a desperately long NHS waiting list…Talk Space Yelp… “I simply felt that I could not wait any longer– I was inspired and prepared to deal with my concerns and quite 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 needs and booked a chat session for the next day.
The physician app Babylon offers therapy to 150,000 active users, while PlusGuidance, an online counselling service, has 10,000 users. Talkspace, another online therapy platform, reports it has 500,000 signed up users worldwide, with the majority of in the United States.
Online training advises therapists on everything from utilizing emojis to avoiding misconceptions. They also need to secure clients’ individual information– an issue that has actually triggered debate in the US, where big online therapy platforms have come under the spotlight.
Buckley said clients need to inspect services’ privacy policies before signing up. “Not all online counselling websites use expertly trained therapists or follow a principles policy, so ask your GP for a suggestion in the very first instance. Similar to all kinds of services and assistance, what works for a single person might not work for another person,” he stated.
Marc Bush, chief policy advisor at Young Minds, said that while online counselling services are important, “they should not change in person therapy 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 contact 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 impossible 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 understood after that online session how vital interpersonal interaction was.