Faced with joining a desperately long NHS waiting list…Youtube Better Help Controversy… “I simply felt that I couldn’t wait any longer– I was encouraged and prepared to handle my concerns and quite liked the concept of doing so in the comfort of my own home,” stated the 29-year-old, who resides in London. After an online search, he discovered a therapist whose profile matched his needs and booked a chat session for the next day.
The doctor app Babylon provides treatment to 150,000 active users, while PlusGuidance, an online counselling service, has 10,000 users. Talkspace, another online treatment platform, reports it has 500,000 registered users worldwide, with most in the US.
Online training encourages therapists on everything from using emojis to preventing misinterpretations. They also need to secure clients’ individual information– a problem that has actually caused debate in the US, where big online treatment platforms have come under the spotlight.
Buckley said patients should inspect services’ personal privacy policies prior to registering. “Not all online counselling sites use expertly trained therapists or follow an ethics policy, so ask your GP for a suggestion in the very first instance. Just like all type of services and support, what works for someone may not work for somebody else,” he said.
Marc Bush, primary policy consultant at Young Minds, said that while online counselling services are valuable, “they should not replace face-to-face therapy with a skilled expert. If a young adult is struggling, we would motivate them to speak to 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 issues I was handling, as all they had to go from was my typed-out words. I think I realised after that online session how important social interaction was.