Faced with signing up with a frantically long NHS waiting list…Talkingspace Plus… “I just felt that I could not wait any longer– I was encouraged and ready to handle my issues and quite liked the idea of doing so in the comfort of my own home,” said the 29-year-old, who resides in London. After an online search, he discovered a therapist whose profile suited his needs and scheduled a chat session for the next day.
Remote, text-based counselling is growing in appeal in the UK. The medical professional app Babylon uses 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 United States.
Online training recommends therapists on everything from using emojis to avoiding misconceptions. They also require to protect patients’ personal data– a problem that has actually caused controversy in the United States, where huge online therapy platforms have come under the spotlight.
Buckley said clients should examine services’ privacy policies before registering. “Not all online counselling sites use expertly trained therapists or abide by an ethics policy, so ask your GP for a recommendation in the first instance. Just like all sort of services and assistance, what works for a single person might not work for somebody else,” he said.
Marc Bush, primary policy consultant at Young Minds, said that while online counselling services are important, “they shouldn’t change in person therapy with an experienced specialist. If a young person is having a hard time, we would encourage them to speak with their GP in the very first instance, or to call an established service like The Mix, Childline or the Samaritans.”.
For Rackham, who has actually generalised anxiety disorder, online counselling wasn’t the ideal fit. “I felt it was near difficult for the therapist to actually get a sense of the concerns I was handling, as all they had to go from was my typed-out words. I think I understood after that online session how vital social interaction was.