There are a range of psychological therapists within our IAPT team you could see. Each one is able to offer you a variety of different treatments tailored to your needs. Our team is primarily made up of psychological wellbeing practitioners, cognitive behavioural therapists and counsellors.
Psychological wellbeing practitioner (PWP)
PWPs are the people you are most likely going to meet first within IAPT. Once you have been referred by your GP to our service, you will be given an appointment with a PWP. They will conduct a short 30-45 minute consultation with you, exploring the reasons around what has brought you to them. After this consultation, the PWP will offer you a series of treatments that they feel will be best suited for you. From here, you decide which therapy you would like to begin.
A PWPs professional relationship with a patient can be likened to that of a ‘coach’. They will devise a plan and provide you with the information, but it is you who will do most of the work. Although this may appear like it could be particularly demanding, it is a proven form of therapy for mild to moderate depression and anxiety.
Our PWPs can offer high volume, low intensity, CBT based interventions at Step 2 on the stepped care model. If you are suffering from mild to moderate depression or anxiety, it may be that you will carry out a course of treatment with one of our PWP’s. The majority of a PWP’s work is delivered through alternative mediums, such as web based services or telephone contacts. The inclusion of these delivery methods allows for flexibility with patients who are unable to attend face-to-face contact through one reason or another.
Cognitive behavioural therapist
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) is based on the idea that the way we feel is affected by the way we think and behave.
IAPT Cognitive Behavioural Therapists provide high-intensity interventions for those suffering from a range of complex disorders. The National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE) guidelines highly recommends CBT for the treatment of anxiety and depression. CBT is an approach that is intended to help clients to take stock of the way they behave and the way they think about themselves and others and to see whether there are alternative perspectives and actions that could be more useful to them. It is not about correcting “faulty” thoughts or thinking positively.
Our therapists are able to formulate, implement and evaluate specific CBT therapy programmes for their clients at Step 3 of the stepped care model. Using highly developed communication skills, the therapist will work closely with you, over a course of typically 8-12 one hour sessions, helping you understand your personal and often very sensitive difficulties.
There are many types of counselling; however, our IAPT counsellors offer a particular type, recommended by NICE, for those suffering from mild to moderate depression. Counsellors will use a more “non-directive” approach, to that of CBT, and instead of offering you specific advice and help to overcome your symptoms, they will support you and talk through your issues with you so that you can come to your own ideal conclusion.
Counselling is generally more helpful when you have persistent, mild to moderate, depression and need support with coming to terms with something that has happened to you. It is important to note that some people will find working with a counsellor more effective for them than CBT; and vice versa. Your therapist will work closely with you to help establish the best course of action.
Our counsellors target the emotional problems underlying your depression, along with the intrapersonal processes (such as excessive self-criticism) which often maintain depressed mood. The therapy aims to help you contact underlying feelings, make sense of them and reflect on the new meanings which emerge.
Similar to CBT, counselling typically lasts between six-10 sessions, yet every individual case is different. Counsellors work with clients at step 3 of the stepped care model.
All of our therapists will collect clinical records from you at the end of each session. They use these measures to provide you with instant feedback on your progress and to guide the course of your therapy. You can find a copy of the clinical recording measures our therapists use in the resource centre.