Faced with signing up with a desperately long NHS waiting list…The Read Podcast Talk Space… “I just felt that I couldn’t wait any longer– I was encouraged and prepared to deal with my problems and quite liked the concept of doing so in the comfort of my own house,” said the 29-year-old, who resides in London. After an online search, he found a therapist whose profile fit his requirements and scheduled a chat session for the next day.
The doctor app Babylon offers 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 the majority of in the US.
Online training recommends therapists on everything from using emojis to preventing misconceptions. They also require to secure clients’ individual information– a problem that has triggered controversy in the United States, where huge online treatment platforms have come under the spotlight.
Buckley said clients should check services’ privacy policies prior to signing up. “Not all online counselling sites utilize professionally trained therapists or abide by an ethics policy, so ask your GP for a recommendation in the first instance. As with all type of services and assistance, what works for one person may not work for someone else,” he said.
Marc Bush, primary policy consultant at Young Minds, stated that while online counselling services are valuable, “they should not change face-to-face therapy with a skilled expert. If a young person is struggling, we would motivate 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 ideal fit. “I felt it was near impossible for the therapist to truly get a sense of the problems I was dealing with, as all they needed to go from was my typed-out words. I think I understood after that online session how vital social interaction was.