Analysis of Iapt

Critically analyse the IAPT initiative and the development of the low intensity therapist role.

In 2005 Lord Richard Layard, Professor Emeritus at the London School of Economics, an expert in the economic costs of unemployment, in his book, Happiness; Lessons From a new science. (Penguin. London. ISBN 9780141016900), made proposals which led to a new government initiative to reduce the number of days lost to society, and the number of people on benefits in the United Kingdom due to depression.

He noted the paradox that instead of happiness increasing with greater wealth, the richer populations of the western nations were less happy in general than populations of developing countries.

Lord Layard and the government proposed to reduce the cost of the amount of working days lost by an initiative to make treatment for depression available more quickly and to increase the number of channels of referral to expedite the process. Traditionally, a depressed person would have to see a doctor who would refer them to the local Community Mental Health Team, who would arrange an appointment with a health care professional as appropriate.

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy was chosen as the most effective treatment regime as the results have been well documented since the 1980s and because it does not appear to require as much time spent in in depth psychotherapy and should as a result reduce costs. To add a personal note here, I found that, as a student counsellor with the community Mental Health Team (West), the clients I referred to the CBT computer programme, “Beating the blues”, found it helpful in most cases.

Two towns,   Doncaster in South Yorkshire, which has had a high rate of unemployment since the collieries and the railway works were closed and Newham in London which has a high proportion of people in unemployment as well as a high mix of ethnicities, were chosen as demonstration sites for trials and IAPT (Individual Access to Psychological Therapies) was...