News: NHS Talking Therapies

NHS Talking Therapies for Anxiety and Depression is the new name for Improving Access to Psychological Therapy (IAPT) services.

A rebranding of NHS therapy services took place in January 2023 which will affect those seeking psychological treatment for Social Anxiety.

Since the IAPT launch in 2008 the NHS has been aware that naming the services ‘Improving Access to Psychological Therapies’ was not the most appealing name for the general public to understand. Whilst the name described the policy ambition, it didn’t explain what the services offer.

The new NHS Talking Therapies for Anxiety and Depression name was chosen after a public consultation with close to 4,000 responses and a series of focus groups led by an independent research group.

Whilst other charities, such as OCD-UK have welcomed the rebranding, they want to reiterate with quality improvements of the services being provided. Not everyone receives fully appropriate treatment experiences through IAPT or idea, and that needs to change or the rebranding simply becomes a costly name change

Whilst the name change is an improvement, it’s worth adding that Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) for Social Anxiety is not meant to be just a talking therapy, it should also be considered with worksheets, journals, hierarchies and exposure therapy being a pivotal part of treatment.

How to access your local service
If you live in England and are aged 18 or over (some local services accept people from age 16), you can access NHS talking therapies services for social anxiety (and other conditions). A GP can refer you, or you can self-refer directly, without having to go to your GP. Click here to find your local NHS Talking Therapies service –