The industrialisation of therapy:  What is the impact of IAPT on counselling and psychotherapy? - Manchester

The industrialisation of therapy:  What is the impact of IAPT on counselling and psychotherapy? - Manchester
  • When: Saturday, 28th March 2020, 9:00 am
  • Where: The Mechanics Institute, Manchester M1 6DD
  • Ticket price: £66 including VAT

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The industrialisation of therapy: What is the impact of IAPT on counselling and psychotherapy

After the success of this day long conference in London (June 2019) we are now bringing the event to Manchester.

This conference aims to bring together practitioners, academics, researchers and all those interested in the future of mental health services for a day of discussion and debate.

Since 2008, the government’s Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) programme has been rolled out across England. In the ten years of its existence, it claims to have transformed mental health services, bringing therapy to thousands of people experiencing depression and anxiety. But what has been the impact of IAPT’s tightly-regulated, medicalised model of mental health care on services and those who work in them?  Can IAPT’s ‘factory’ system of care, driven by psychiatric diagnosis, fast through-put and quick outcomes really address the rising tide of mental distress?

Tickets cost £66 (vat inc), including lunch and refreshments.  


9.20 Registration opens.  

9.50 Chair’s opening remarks. 

10.00  The modern myths of IAPT

Rosemary Rizq starts by unpicking the ‘modern myths’ that underpin the rapid rise and expansion of the government’s IAPT programme. She will argue these myths serve to obscure rather than reveal the social, cultural, economic and political factors underlying the current rise in mental distress.

Rosemary Rizq is a BPS Chartered Psychologist and a UKCP-accredited psychoanalytic psychotherapist.  She is Professor of Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy at the University of Roehampton.

10.40     What is neoliberalism and why does it matter?

Philip Thomas explores how neoliberalism has given birth to a ‘malignant individualism’ in our health services that blames the individual’s ‘faulty thinking’ for their anxiety and depression and fails to engage with the socio-economic adversity from which misery so often originates.

Philip Thomas worked as a consultant psychiatrist in the NHS for over 20 years, before leaving clinical practice in 2004 to write.

11.20 Coffee

11.50 IAPT and the medical model: ideological fits and misfits.

David Murphy questions whether we should be arguing for all therapies to be included within IAPT. Some, like CBT, are a good ‘fit’ with IAPT’s medicalised model; others are not. What are the principles at stake for these ‘ideological misfits’? 

David Murphy is Associate Professor at the University of Nottingham where he is course director for the MA in person-centred experiential counselling and psychotherapy.

12.30 Break-out small group discussions. 

13.00 Lunch provided.   

14.00 Industrialising relational therapy: ethical conflicts and threats for counsellors in IAPT

Gillian Proctor asks if it is possible for counsellors to stay true to their relational training and beliefs when working within the IAPT system. They will explore the dilemmas and costs of attempting to straddle these conflicting therapeutic cultures. 

Gillian Proctor is the programme leader of the MA in psychotherapy and counselling at the University of Leeds.  

14.40 Surviving Work in IAPT

Using the latest research on the experiences of IAPT workers, Clare Slaney will explore the similarities between IAPT and other counselling and psychotherapy cultures that are informed by wider values, fashions and conventions. She will discuss strategies practitioners can use to navigate and perform in the current climate.

Clare Slaney is a psychotherapist, supervisor and a member of the steering group for Psychotherapists and Counsellors for Social Responsibility ( For her MA, she studied the role of class and income in counselling and psychotherapy and these subjects remain of central interest to her. Clare has worked as a counsellor, assessor and groupworker with women affected by domestic violence and is now in private practice.

15.20 Tea.   

15.40 Panel questions and discussion.  

16.15 Closing remarks and end.