Talking Therapies - How to get therapy
How do I get therapy?
The main way to get therapy on the NHS is to talk to your GP or mental health worker. If you are under a community mental health team your care coordinator or psychiatrist will be responsible for organising NHS therapy. If you are not with a community mental health team your GP will be responsible for helping you get therapy. After you talk about what you want they can pass your details to a therapist or local therapy service, this is called a referral.
You should tell whoever is making the referral if you would like a particular type of therapy. You can then talk about what is available in your area and he or she can pass your details to the most appropriate service.
Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT)
The Government's ‘Improving Access to Psychological Therapies’ (IAPT) programme has made psychological therapy more available on the NHS. IAPT services mainly offer CBT for anxiety and depression.
The service can be run by the local NHS Trust or a non-NHS agency, like Rethink Mental Illness, who work with the local NHS Trust. IAPT should be available in your area. You can often self refer or ask your GP to refer you. To find out more about who is providing the IAPT service in your area contact your GP, local PALS service or go on the IAPT Website.
You can choose to pay to see a therapist privately. The benefits of private therapy are:
- you have more choice,
- there will be shorter waiting times, and
- you can be more flexible about who you go to.
However, the clear drawback is the cost, the average price of a session is £50 upwards. Some therapists have a sliding scale and have reduced fees for people on low incomes. You can find organisations that hold lists of therapists that offer private therapy in further information.
You may be able to to see a counsellor at a local mental health group, such as Rethink Mental Illness or Mind. You may not need a GP referral but this depends on what services are available in your area. For more information go to www.mind.org.uk or www.rethink.org.
What if I have problems with accessing therapy on the NHS?
You may come across some problems getting talking therapy on the NHS. Some of these problems can include:
- long waiting lists,
- you did not get enough sessions,
- your GP does not understand mental health conditions or treatment,
- talking therapy is not included in your care plan,
- your care coordinator does not think you need therapy, or
- the therapy you want is not available in your local area.
There are some things you can do such as:
- get the support of an advocate,
- ask for a second opinion of your treatment plan,
- ask for a review of your care plan approach, or
- make a complaint.
You can read the following pages for more information about:
Need practical advice & info? We can help.
Contact our Advice team about mental health & related issues
0300 5000 927 Monday - Friday 9.30am - 4pm, not including bank holidays