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Improving access to psychological therapies

For this blog, I wanted to give an overview of the system in England known as the “Improving access to psychological therapies” or IAPT for short. As a practicing CBT therapist, it is important that we as practitioners are constantly looking at the developments within the mental health sectors across the world and keeping up to date with advancements and new emerging ways of treatment.

Over in England under the NHS (National Health Service) a program began in 2008 which has transformed the treatment for anxiety disorders and depressive disorders. The program is called “The improving access to psychological services). Under this program, the NHS wanted to reach 1.9 million people with talking therapies by 2023/2024.

Three characterizations of the IAPT program are:

1 – Evidence based therapy: Under this first pillar, the basis is that all talking therapies offered under this program will be evidence based and delivered by fully trained and accredited practitioners.

2 – Routine monitoring: That all therapy will be monitored for outcome to show the client and therapist how the process is developing and helps focus on the collaborated goals.

3 – Outcome focused supervision: This is to ensure all practitioners are supported to improve and deliver the highest quality care

The main ideas for this service are that when presenting to your GP for any mental health issues, especially when the GP is normally the first port of call, that you will be directed to the relevant support services aimed at therapy. The majority of the IAPT programs are CBT based and allow a quick referral system to allow people to get the help they need as soon as they need it.

This service can also be self-referred into, but you do need to be registered with a GP. This service since going into practice has allowed countless people quick and affordable access to CBT programs, it has revolutionised the mental health care system in England and has only grown each year since commencement.

The reason for giving an overview is to highlight the need for similar systems in Ireland and allowing that smooth transition from GP to mental health care when needed. In 2014-2015 alone, 1.3 million people were referred through the IAPT programme.

We here at Evolve are constantly growing and keeping up to date with relevant research that can help us ensure we are delivering the best CBT we can. We hope that these style blogs can give some overviews of various CBT practices happening across Europe or the Internationally.


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