Westminster Primary Care Psychology Service:
Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT)
At least 1 in 4 people experience a metal health issue at some point in their lives. If you are finding it difficult to cope with feelings of anxiety or depression, we can offer quick and easy access to help and support. Talking about your problems really can help. The Westminster IAPT service can give you the time you need to talk. We can help you learn ways to help yourself feel more able to cope with your problems.
We offer cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) as our primary treatment approach, as it has strong research evidence and is recommended by the Department of Health. There is a Psychological Wellbeing Practitioner and a CBT therapist working at the Fitzrovia Medical Centre. The service is confidential and we try to see everyone as soon as we can. Different people have different needs, and the treatment can be provided in a number of ways:
If you would like to find out more speak to your GP and ask for a referral to the Westminster IAPT service. Alternatively you can refer yourself directly by asking for an 'IAPT opt-in pack' at reception. You can also phone or email the IAPT service directly on:
Phone: 030 3333 0000
High Intensity Treatment
"I was referred to the service by my GP, for anxiety/depression brought on by large and rather sudden changes in my personal circumstances. I was feeling a high level of panic and anxiety, with pretty severe effects on my work, home life, relationships and sleep.
I was able to see a High Intensity Therapist within a week of being referred, which was absolutely brilliant - I was expecting a bit of a wait, but he assured me that if I urgently needed to speak to someone in that week, I could. This in itself gave me some much-needed reassurance that help was out there.
My first session with him was, obviously, an exploratory one, finding out a bit of background and working out exactly what the problems were and how they were affecting me. I left the first session feeling that I had done something immediate towards getting better - he was reassuring, calm, and focussed on what "plan" we could make for getting me better.
I saw him approximately every week for 6 sessions. He gave me "homework" to do in between each session, to consolidate what we had discussed, and to help me to help myself. I found cognitive behavioural therapy really, really works for me - it's something that makes a lot of sense in my mind - we are the only ones who can control our minds, and if we can firstly recognise and secondly thus change the way we THINK about things, then this can help change our (often-negative) perceptions of ourselves and the world.
I now feel equipped with tools to help myself if, in the future, I start to feel unsure or anxious again - I have been taught to recognise the signs, the triggers and the results of these feelings, which is the first and vital step in being able to change behavioural and thinking patterns. CBT is something that I feel I have learned, and can adapt this learning for future needs if they arise.
I would wholeheartedly recommend this service to anyone - it is a way of treating people which focuses on them individually, yet gives a very simple and effective way of helping them find their own way out of their difficult circumstances (which also gives a very strong sense of having "helped yourself" to some extent, as well as acknowledging the invaluable help of the trained professional - this is pretty positive stuff when you are feeling down, afraid and powerless!). It was very helpful to know that I was going to be seen within a week of referral - when you are feeling as desperate and frightened as I was, it is indescribably reassuring to know that you are not going to have to wait an indeterminate period of time to see someone. My positive experience of the service was consolidated by realising very early on that this was a method of treatment that goes straight to the crux of the situation, and provides a very swift means of addressing the problems and finding the best solution, which, happily, turns out to be inside the individual all along - it's just a matter of accessing new thought patterns and changing the way you look at something!"
Low Intensity Treatment
Francesca, a 58 year old woman, had suffered with symptoms of gastritis for a number of years.