It follows the journey of a caller to our Health Minds Bucks (part of our Improving Access to Psychological Services, IAPT), which offers quick and easy access to talking therapies, practical support and employment advice (also offered by Talking Space for Oxfordshire residents).
Rochelle Joseph, one of our Psychological Wellbeing Practitioner at the service, said of the caller:
“That is someone, you can hear it, who probably never talked to anyone about this. It may be the first time he’s said those things out loud. This is someone we would recommend for more intensive follow-up.”
This stepped care approach is similar to the ‘triage’ used in most clinics to best deploy resources, and the caller went on to have cognitive behavioral therapy.
Research by Professor David Clark and others at the University of Oxford shows that patients offered at least two sessions of therapy have recovery rates comparable to the most positive lab studies, which often have idealised conditions.
Expanding the reach of therapies
In 2013, Dr John Pimm, our clinical lead for the Buckinghamshire Psychological Therapies Pathway, also found that a combination of extending call times for phone therapy, giving some patients extra sessions with therapists, and working carefully with patients at critical junctures such as when people begin and end therapy) strikingly raised recovery rates.
But speaking to the New York Times, Dr Pimm also pointed out problems: “We cannot train therapists fast enough, and the low-intensity phone therapists turn over pretty quickly.
We have to figure out how to keep them in the job longer.”
One way around the problem might be online therapies, which are currently being pioneered by Professor Anke Ehlers, who is part of the newly-launched NIHR Oxford Health Biomedical Research Centre.
The patient treated by the Healthy Minds Bucks is however now back at work. “For me, honestly, I’m the last person who would try talk therapy,” he said. “I still can’t believe it worked.”
Read the New York Times article.
Find out more about the NIHR Oxford Health Biomedical Research Centre.