An evaluation of Anxiety UK's psychological therapy service outcomes

Su-gwan Tham, Nicky Lidbetter, Rebecca Pedley, Dave Smithson, Beatrice Lukoseviciute, Patricia Gooding

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Background: Anxiety and depression are highly prevalent. The aim was to examine the effectiveness of Anxiety UK's national psychological therapy service; benchmarking against NHS IAPT data.

Methods: We examined psychological therapy outcome data for Anxiety UK clients who completed therapy between April 2019 – March 2020 and benchmarked this against NHS Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) outcome data for the same period. Anxiety UK clients completed validated measures of anxiety and depression at two time points: the first and last therapy session. Caseness, recovery, reliable improvement and reliable recovery rates were based on IAPT definitions.

Results: Nine-hundred-and-fifty-seven clients completed at least two psychological therapy sessions with an approved therapist. Recovery, reliable improvement, and reliably recovered rates exceeded IAPT targets. Depression and anxiety reduced from first to last session. Cognitive behavioural therapy produced the greatest change in anxiety over time compared to counselling and hypnotherapy. The more therapy sessions attended, the greater the change in anxiety and depression scores from the first to last session.

Limitations: For some clients, anxiety and depression levels may have alleviated without therapy. No outcome data were collected following therapy cessation. Therefore, conclusions regarding maintenance and long-term effects of therapy cannot be made.

Conclusion: Anxiety UK provide highly effective psychological therapies for anxiety and depression. Flexibility in the number of therapy sessions provided is recommended for NHS services and those of external organisations.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Affective Disorders
Publication statusPublished - 4 Jan 2022


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