The medical professional app Babylon uses therapy to 150,000 active users, while PlusGuidance, an online counselling service, has 10,000 users. Talkspace, another online treatment platform, reports it has actually 500,000 signed up users worldwide, with a lot of in the United States.
Online training encourages therapists on everything from using emojis to preventing misconceptions. They likewise need to protect clients’ individual data– an issue that has triggered controversy in the United States, where big online therapy platforms have come under the spotlight.
Buckley said clients must check services’ privacy policies prior to signing up. “Not all online counselling websites use professionally trained therapists or abide by a principles policy, so ask your GP for a suggestion in the first instance. Similar to all kinds of services and support, what works for a single person might not work for someone else,” he said.
Marc Bush, chief policy consultant at Young Minds, said that while online counselling services are valuable, “they should not change face-to-face treatment with a qualified professional. If a young adult is having a hard time, we would encourage them to speak to their GP in the very first instance, or to call a recognized service like The Mix, Childline or the Samaritans.”.
For Rackham, who has generalised anxiety condition, online counselling wasn’t the ideal fit. “I felt it was near impossible for the therapist to actually get a sense of the issues I was dealing with, as all they had to go from was my typed-out words. I think I understood after that online session how essential social interaction was.