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Working as a counselling psychologist in Improving Access to Psychological Therapy (IAPT) services

Omylinska-Thurston, Joanna; Frost, Charles


Charles Frost


Daisy Best

Helen Nicholas

Mark Bradley


IAPT is the main provider of psychological therapy for adults within the National Health Service (NHS). It was developed in 2008 as a way of organising a systematic delivery of evidence-based interventions for anxiety and depression. Counselling psychologists are usually employed within IAPT to work with clients with complex presentations. The skills required involve being able to undertake thorough assessments (including risk), preparing formulations as well as delivering a range of evidence-based therapies. Counselling psychologists take a range of roles within IAPT including therapy, supervision and management roles. Roles in research and training are less common. Working within IAPT commonly requires counselling psychologists to consider risk and safeguarding issues and BPS and HCPC ethical and legal guidelines are thus particularly relevant when working in this setting. Working in IAPT involves tight structures around client throughput, which is challenging in terms of the counselling psychology humanistic value base. However, counselling psychologists have an opportunity to work with a diverse group of clients within IAPT and connect with the social justice agenda, especially when working in deprived areas.


Omylinska-Thurston, J., & Frost, C. (2022). Working as a counselling psychologist in Improving Access to Psychological Therapy (IAPT) services. In D. Best, H. Nicholas, & M. Bradley (Eds.), Roles and Contexts in Counselling Psychology. Taylor and Francis.

Online Publication Date Oct 1, 2023
Publication Date Oct 1, 2022
Deposit Date Oct 7, 2023
Publisher Taylor and Francis
Book Title Roles and Contexts in Counselling Psychology
Chapter Number 3