IAPT shouts eureka at this point, discharges the client and claims the improvement is due to the therapists efforts. It is like declaring that a person who is terminally ill is cured because they have had a good refreshing day gardening. In effect IAPT has gone fishing for flashes in the pan – I make similar points in a forthcoming BBC Radio 4 investigation into IAPT.
But studies of depression and the anxiety disorders e.g Bruce et al (2005) require a 2 month period of symptoms not significantly impairing functioning (see also DSM-5 criteria for recurrence of depression). Bruce et al (2005) point out that anxiety sufferers naturally only have symptoms 80% of the time. With regards to depression Stegenga et al (2012) point out that for 40% of depression sufferers their depression naturally takes a variable course. Without independent assessment of the period for which the person is without significant symptoms talk of remission/ recovery is meaningless. IAPT’s clients have not been assessed using this metric.
Bruce et al (2005) https://www.dropbox.com/s/9powmto8miw60a2/Natural%20recovery%20in%20Social%20Phobia%20Panic%20Disporder%20and%20Generalised%20Anxiety%20Disorder.pdf?dl=0
Stegenga et al (2012) https://www.dropbox.com/s/k0x2fm0ds01no0k/natural%20course%20of%20depression%20stegenga%202012.pdf?dl=0
Dr Mike Scott