Talking therapies

7. What is the best way to find a therapist?

Your GP is a good place to start if you are looking for a therapist. Talking therapies accessed through the NHS are usually free of charge.

Many of the talking therapies for depression and anxiety mentioned in this factsheet are now available through an NHS programme called Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT - see 'Other useful organisations'). Your doctor can refer you to a local IAPT service where you will be assessed and offered support. This could include signposting to relevant activities, self-help materials or psychological therapies. Some IAPT services also now offer people the option to refer themselves without having to go through their GP.

GPs can often provide details of other local therapists and some GP surgeries have talking therapy services based in their practices. While talking therapies are becoming increasingly available, you may still find that there is a wait before you are seen.

Your GP or local social services department may also have information about local charities offering services - the number of your local social services department will be in the phone book.

Another option is to find a private therapist. There are many ways to find a private therapist but a recommendation from someone you trust - or possibly also your GP - can be very helpful. Most private services operate a sliding scale for fees. The British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP) can provide more information about local counselling and psychotherapy services. For an accredited CBT therapist, contact the British Association for Behavioural and Cognitive Psychotherapies (BABCP). For a clinical psychologist or counselling psychologist, contact the British Psychological Society (BPS). See 'Other useful organisations'.