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NHS Talking Therapies has been given uncritical acclaim in an international declaration

on the future of psychological treatments, but closer inspection of the authors of the paper, in the Clinical Psychology Review, reveals that one is the lead psychologist of the Service, another his partner and another a former researcher in their Department. No mention is made of any study that casts doubt on the evidence for the effectiveness of the Service. If this is not allegiance bias, I do not know what is, yet the matter is not even raised.

The mantra of a 50% recovery rate is quoted as gospel, with no dissenting voices from the great and the good. It appears to matter little to the international luminaries, that NHS Talking Therapies (and its predecessor the Improving. Access to Psychological Therapies Service):

  1. has never been subject to independent evaluation, using a ‘gold standard diagnostic interview
  2. there has been no fidelity checks to see that practitioners deliver what they say they deliver
  3. the best evidence suggests a tip of the iceberg recovery rate Scott (2018)
  4. only 40% of clients compete 2 or more treatment sessions

How NHS Talking Therapies Has Got Away With It

The paper reveals that they told the UK Government it can get people back to work, thereby paying for itself. But it did this without referring to its own data,  but by quoting a) an apparent Norwegian study that included the British lead psychologist, but is not found in the references at the end of the paper and I have not been able to locate it  and b) citing a Spanish study, of their IAPT, which bizarrely makes no claim that it got people back to work.

Recently helped secure UK government funding to expand further the English iapt workforce so that 344,000 more people can have a course of treatments in the next five years (UK Government Back to Work Plan 2023)’ it states.

Dr Mike Scott

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