Posted on: 19 January 2023

Improving Access to Psychological Therapy (IAPT) services are being renamed as NHS Talking Therapies for Anxiety and Depression, following a public consultation with close to 4,000 responses and a series of focus groups led by an independent research group.

NHS Talking Therapies for Anxiety and Depression services can help with a whole range of difficulties. CNWL has Talking Therapies Services in north west London and Milton Keynes. You can refer yourself or talk to your GP – just ask if you are unsure we accept referrals from anyone who feels their mood is impacting on their sleep or day to day life. Visit CNWL’s website to find out more. We’re just a phone call away

You can find out more about the new name below – CNWL will be refreshing its materials soon. We use the name Talking Therapies already but with enhance this with the new wording.

Update from NHS England

In 2008 new NHS IAPT services were launched that made a simple promise to the public – to provide effective psychological therapies to far more people experiencing the most common mental health problems: anxiety and depression. Immediately before this the average waiting time for psychological therapy on the NHS was 18 months. Now it is just a few weeks. The new services had three qualities embedded: that they would provide psychological therapies recommended by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence, with well-trained and supervised therapists, and would track and publish outcomes for every service. This promise remains the same, although the name of services is changing.

Thanks to the work of many, there have been great successes. As we enter the 15th Anniversary Year of these services there is a lot for patients, clinicians, educators and policymakers to be proud of. Since 2008 the services have provided a course of treatment to over 6.5 million people, with 665,187 treated in the last year alone. Around 50% of those receiving a course of therapy fully recover, with many more showing substantial improvement, results which were maintained even during the Covid-19 pandemic. Over time, the services have moved closer to equality of outcomes for all ethnicities. The services aim to be flexible, with patients often offered a choice between different effective treatments and how the treatments are delivered. We now have over 10,000 therapists and practitioners employed in the services, and employment advisors being rolled out in all areas. These advisors support people with anxiety and depression to pursue their goals for employment.

Over the years, however, we have been aware that naming the services “Improving Access to Psychological Therapies” is not the most appealing or clear. Because of this, many services developed unique local names. Although understandable, this meant it was not always obvious to the public that services delivering the IAPT promise were available in every part of the country.

Anxiety and depression are very common difficulties and many of those experiencing them have not found their way to an IAPT service yet, despite all services allowing you to refer yourself without seeing your GP first. Many of those who do find their way to services are looking for help with other difficulties that the services are not set up to treat, such as psychosis or complex emotional needs associated with a diagnosis of “personality disorder”. These problems are better tackled by other services, where psychological therapies are also being expanded. We wanted a new name that was appealing and supported people finding the right service for them, first time.

Talking Therapies

This term was strongly preferred by patients and the public. It is a shorthand for the range of psychological therapies and interventions that the services offer. Within NHS Talking Therapies services most of the psychological therapy will be quite practical. It may involve working through self-help materials with guidance from a clinician, possibly via a dedicated online platform (which we call ‘digitally enabled therapies’). It may involve help with problem solving skills or practical exercises to examine and overcome your fears. It may involve facing and working through traumatic memories in a safe way. It is likely to involve suggestions to follow through between therapy sessions. And, of course, it will involve talking – in a focused way that helps things to change.

for Anxiety and Depression

NHS Talking Therapies services can help with the following common problems with anxiety and depression:

  • agoraphobia
  • body dysmorphic disorder
  • depression
  • generalised anxiety disorder
  • health anxiety
  • mixed depression and anxiety
  • obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)
  • panic disorder
  • post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • social anxiety disorder
  • specific phobias (such as heights, flying, spiders etc.).

These problems may present themselves in a whole variety of different ways. Everyone is different. You don’t need a “diagnosis” to come for therapy, a skilled practitioner will help work out with you whether and how the service can help.