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Title: The experiences of therapists working in improving access to psychological therapies services
Author: McFadden, Aisling
ISNI:       0000 0004 7972 0173
Awarding Body: University of Sheffield
Current Institution: University of Sheffield
Date of Award: 2019
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Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) services were implemented in England to meet the needs of adults experiencing depression and anxiety. IAPT services are under pressure to meet the needs of increasing numbers of individuals who require the service. Practitioners working in these settings also experience additional pressures to meet recovery rate targets with clients. The experience of burnout has been demonstrated amongst individuals working in IAPT settings and the negative impact of service and organisational pressures on IAPT workers has also been investigated. Ultimately, the experiences of IAPT therapists and practitioners, especially if they feel burnt out and stressed, can impact negatively upon their work with clients. With this in mind, it is imperative that the experiences of individuals working in IAPT are explored to understand more about what it is like to work in this setting. This is important in order to ensure that IAPT services can develop and improve whilst considering the views and experiences of their workers. It is also essential in making sure that therapists and practitioners are offered the support that they need and want within the service. A meta-synthesis of 15 studies was carried out to understand more about the experiences of IAPT practitioners. The findings from this thematic synthesis identified a number of themes including the concept of the development of the therapeutic relationship, the social and cultural context of clients and the experience of developing and working in an IAPT setting. Participants also expressed their need for support and the impact of IAPT service pressures on therapists and practitioners. The results found that there was overlap across the themes that captured participants' experiences and a tension between flexibility and adherence within IAPT services was identified. The study limitations, clinical implications and ideas for future research are discussed. A study exploring the experiences of IAPT therapists was conducted to understand more about what factors IAPT therapists believe impact upon client outcomes. The 12 therapists involved in this study had been involved in a research trial in their IAPT service and the study also aimed to explore their experiences of working as part of this trial. Template analysis was used to analyse the data gathered from semi-structured interviews with 7 CBT therapists and 5 counsellors. Results revealed common themes across both groups of therapists. The therapeutic relationship was considered very important by therapists and that therapist and client factors contribute to its development. Participants also discussed the importance of being supported at work and the impact of service pressures on them. Additionally, participants discussed their own emotional wellbeing. Experiences of working on a trial were also shared amongst participants. Unique themes included the experiences of counsellors working in an IAPT service and the trial being experienced as exciting by CBT therapists and seen as supporting their profession by counsellors. Study limitations are discussed and it was concluded that IAPT services should consider the impact of service pressures on their workers.
Supervisor: Hardy, Gillian Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (D.Clin.Psy.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available