NHS Psychological Therapists feel so threatened by their employer that Consultant Psychologist, Dr Michael Scott has set up an independent online support group for them at cbtwatch.com. A Therapist from the Government funded, Improving Access to Psychological Therapy (IAPT) Service, in the South of England, wrote to the forum:
I am leaving… .. while many patients have a very positive experience of IAPT, a significant number have had a far more negative, even sometimes damaging experience:
- I have spoken to people who have I have spoken to people who have told me their 30 minute telephone assessment left them distressed and confused, having talked about highly sensitive topics without the time to process the emotional aftermath.
- I have spoken to people who dropped out of treatment and decided CBT was a waste of time, after being misdiagnosed and offered unsuitable guided self-help.
- I have come across people with deep seated trauma being offered six sessions of telephone therapy, and feeling that this left them ultimately worse off.
- I have also spoken to people dismayed and angry because they unavoidably missed one appointment and subsequently received a letter telling them they had been discharged and would need to re-refer, and go back on the waiting list’.
Dr Scott commented that ‘it speaks volumes that I have to use a pseuodonym, Zara, to express the therapist’s voice’. He is author of ‘Towards a Mental Health System That Works’ published by Routledge earlier this year and said ‘I had to set up a safe harbour for therapists like ‘Zara’ at cbtwatch.com. My own research, conducted without any conflict of interest, across services across Merseyside suggests that the recovery rate from a diagnosed disorder in IAPT is just 15%’. ‘Zara’ added ‘I won’t miss the lost sleep worrying that I may be put on performance management measures if I fail to maintain a 50% recovery rate, and I certainly won’t miss witnessing, and indeed experiencing, some of the management bullying tactics I have seen in IAPT’. Dr Scott commented ‘ IAPT have always marked their own homework, there has never been an independent audit, using a ‘gold standard’ diagnostic interview. Not only is it likely that taxpayer’s money is being wasted but the average therapist and patient far from being helped, is stressed by the experience, MPs, Clinical Commissioning Groups and the National Audit Office need to take up this issue’.
Dr James Davies, Reader in Social Anthropology and Mental Health at the University of Roehampton, author of the forthcoming book ‘Mental Health and Neo-liberalism’ comments ‘an impartial observer looking at the IAPT data, could not help but conclude that the Service haemorrhages clients, and that the criteria it uses for success are very suspicious’.
Dr Mike Scott