Anxiety UK’s psychological therapy services are effective

27th June 2022

Anxiety UK is the UK’s leading anxiety charity, providing a range of services, including talking therapy support,  for people affected by anxiety.   Outcome data for 957 clients who accessed the charity’s therapy services during the period: Apr 2019 – March 2020, were evaluated to determine effectiveness.   This study is of relevance, given the increased demand for support and treatment options for anxiety that has arisen since the pandemic.

We’ve always been proud of the high-quality therapy we offer here at Anxiety UK, and now there is very real evidence that shows it makes a real difference.

A newly published study has proven that the therapy provided by our network of over 400 Anxiety UK Approved therapists helps people recover from anxiety and depression.

The research looked at the outcome of therapy for 957 Anxiety UK clients between April 2019 and March 2020. The resulting paper, ‘An evaluation of Anxiety UK’s psychological therapy service outcomes’, has just been published in the highly acclaimed Journal of Affective Disorders, which you can read here.

Anxiety UK therapy outcomes were compared to those from the NHS talking therapies programme, Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT). The national target for IAPT is for at least 50 per cent of people in receipt of therapy to move to recovery, and two thirds of people completing therapy should be ‘reliably improved’.

Findings showed that Anxiety UK therapy services exceeded these targets, with 62 per cent recovering and 71 per cent reliably improving.

The conclusion in the paper makes it clear when it states: “Anxiety UK provide highly effective psychological therapies for anxiety and depression.”

And there’s more…

The research additionally found that Anxiety UK’s counselling, CBT, and clinical hypnotherapy services, are equally as effective as each other.

Another finding was that outcomes were not affected by the way the therapy was delivered, with telephone, online platforms with a webcam, face-to-face, or combination therapy, all found to be effective.

The study also concluded that just a small increase in the number of sessions has a positive impact on therapy outcomes. The average number of sessions for people who finished a course of therapy through IAPT was 6.9, compared to 8.5 for Anxiety UK clients.

At Anxiety UK we have always championed choice and innovation, and it is encouraging to see that this is making a real difference.

In embracing choice and innovation, we offer our clients a range of therapy and have been offering counsellingcognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), and clinical hypnotherapy for some time.

More recently, we have expanded our therapy offer to include Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing (EMDR) and Compassion Focused Therapy (CFT). The growth in the therapeutic approaches available through Anxiety UK, fits with our fundamental principle of offering choice and innovation when it comes to the treatment and management of anxiety.

By doing things differently, we are showing there is another way.

The COVID-19 pandemic has been fantastically challenging, creating heightened need for mental health support alongside the exacerbation of NHS waiting lists. NHS mental health services are under more strain than ever, and this research shows that alternative provision from a third sector organisation/charity, offers an accessible and effective alternative route to therapy.

At Anxiety UK we have a target waiting time of up to just two weeks from the point of contact about therapy, to delivery of the first session. So, we get people the help that they need fast.
As well as being accessible, we have been accredited by the Accreditation Programme for Psychological Therapies Services (APPTS) since 2017 – which is further proof of our high standards.

We’re delighted with the findings of this research, but we’re not stopping here.

Over the last two years we have added to our therapy provision by developing a range of online services, including groups and courses, and we plan to investigate the effectiveness and acceptability of these new services, by undertaking further auditing and evaluations in the coming year.

It’s important for charities like Anxiety UK to show they provide quality services that are as effective as the NHS, and for people to have confidence that accessing them will make a difference.

A final word…

Here at Anxiety UK, as a small team we are driven by passion and commitment, with many of us having personal, lived experience of anxiety. This study shows we have a wonderful, highly skilled team of Anxiety UK Approved Therapists who are making a huge difference to people living with anxiety, stress, and anxiety-based depression. Our Approved Therapists are great people, doing superb work which is ultimately changing lives.

We hope the findings of this study mean members feel further reassured they are in very capable hands with Anxiety UK.

The study was funded via a grant from the Katharine and Harold Fisher Anxiety Research Fund, named after our founders and set up to support research into improving treatment and services for people experiencing anxiety, stress and anxiety-based depression.
You can find out more about the fund here.

Helpful links

Find out more about accessing therapy from Anxiety UK, and find answers to common questions, here

Find out more about becoming an Anxiety UK Approved Therapist here

Discover more about Anxiety UK:

Established in 1970, Anxiety UK is a national charity, run by and for, those with lived experience of anxiety.  The charity provides helpline support, therapy services, groups, and courses as well as operating an annual research fund  – the Katharine & Harold Fisher Anxiety Research Fund, to further research into anxiety.

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