Faced with signing up with a desperately long NHS waiting list…Talkspac… “I simply felt that I couldn’t wait any longer– I was motivated and prepared to deal with my concerns 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 found a therapist whose profile suited his needs and reserved a chat session for the next day.
Remote, text-based counselling is growing in popularity in the UK. The medical professional app Babylon uses treatment to 150,000 active users, while PlusGuidance, an online counselling service, has 10,000 users. The US-based service BetterHelp likewise has actually 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 most in the US.
Online training advises therapists on everything from utilizing emojis to preventing misinterpretations. They likewise require to protect patients’ personal data– an issue that has caused debate in the US, where big online treatment platforms have actually come under the spotlight.
Buckley stated clients must examine services’ privacy policies prior to signing up. “Not all online counselling websites utilize expertly trained therapists or abide by an ethics policy, so ask your GP for a recommendation in the first instance. As with all sort of services and assistance, what works for a single person may not work for someone else,” he said.
Marc Bush, chief policy adviser at Young Minds, stated that while online counselling services are important, “they should not replace face-to-face treatment with a trained professional. If a young person is having a hard time, we would motivate them to speak to 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 stress and anxiety condition, online counselling wasn’t the best fit. “I felt it was near impossible for the therapist to actually get a sense of the concerns I was dealing with, as all they needed to go from was my typed-out words. I believe I understood after that online session how important interpersonal interaction was.