The Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) workforce consists mainly of therapists working to deliver NICE-recommended high and low intensity interventions for people with mild, moderate and severe depression and anxiety disorders in a system of stepped care.

The NHS Mental Health Implementation Plan 2019/20 – 2023/24 provides a new framework to ensure delivery, at the local level, on the commitment made in the NHS Long Term Plan to pursue the most ambitious transformation of mental health care in England. Annex B shows the Indicative Workforce Profile by staff group and programme area in addition to requirements set out in Stepping forward to 2020/21: the mental health workforce plan for England.

For IAPT, plans set out in the Long Term Plan will see the number of people with anxiety disorders or depression who can access talking therapies increase by an additional 380,000 per year to reach 1.9 million by 2023/24.

The 2015 IAPT Workforce Census Report, produced jointly by NHS England and Health Education England, offers the most comprehensive view to date of the size and shape of the IAPT workforce in England, providing insight into the capacity of IAPT services to offer the full range of NICE-recommended psychological therapies.

The results are being used to inform workforce planning discussions and future IAPT expansion by providing information about the current skill mix and skill gaps, retention and turnover of staff, as well as identifying staff groups who could benefit from IAPT training courses to increase capacity for the full range of therapies.

Low intensity interventions

Qualified Psychological Wellbeing Practitioners (PWPs) provide high volume, low intensity CBT-based interventions at Step 2, for people with mild to moderate depression and anxiety disorders. IAPT PWP courses are accredited by the British Psychological Society (BPS).

High intensity workforce

Qualified high intensity therapists deliver evidence-based therapies for a range of mental health problems within IAPT. They offer different types of therapy:

  • Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), providing therapy for people with moderate to severe depression and anxiety disorders. IAPT CBT high intensity therapy courses are accredited by the British Association of Behavioural and Cognitive Psychotherapies .
  • Counselling for Depression. IAPT offers a particular type of counselling that has been developed to help people suffering from depression courses accredited by British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy.
  • Couple Therapy for Depression. Couple therapy can help people with their relationship and the emotional difficulties that sometimes flow from problems between partners. IAPT offers a particular type that has been developed to help people suffering from depression, courses accredited by British Association of Behavioural and Cognitive Psychotherapies .
  • Brief Dynamic Interpersonal therapy (DIT) DIT is a form of brief psychodynamic psychotherapy developed for treating depression. It can help people with emotional and relationship problems. It explores difficult things in the past that continue to affect the way people feel and behave in the present. It is also referred to as psychoanalytic psychotherapy, courses accredited by British Psychoanalytic Council
  • Interpersonal Psychotherapy for depression (IPT) Interpersonal Psychotherapy (IPT) is time-limited and structured. Its central idea is that psychological symptoms, such as depressed mood, can be understood as a response to current difficulties in relationships and affect the quality of those relationships, courses accredited by Interpersonal Psychotherapy Network UK


Supervision is a key activity that determines the success of the IAPT programme. Training for IAPT supervisors is based on a competency framework developed specifically for the programme.

The IAPT supervision guidance provides advice and guidance around supervision and the different types expected within an IAPT service.


Curricula and training materials

Training materials