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  1. #1

    NHS counselling/CBT has anyone else waited an excessive amount of time for referal?

    Last June I was referred for CBT therapy for my panic attacks and agoraphobia. I was given about 7 low intensity 'over the telephone' CBT sessions which didn't do much and was told in August I'd be referred for more intense therapy or psychotherapy. I was told I'd have to wait 3 months. I have now waited over 5 months and still heard nothing.

    My symptoms are getting much worse. I am much more agoraphobic unable to drive more than 3 miles from my home. I am unable to work and reliant on disability benefits. I really can't keep living like this. I desperately need therapy sessions so I can get some confidence, go out more and eventually be confident to work. I know those things will build my confidence but the longer I am waiting the harder it's getting.

    Surely the NHS knows that neglecting people for so long will make treating them much harder. I'm very reluctant to use meds unless its alongside a CBT program.

    Has any one else experienced such long waiting times?

    With agoraphobia how can I attend face to face therapy sessions as they are in the next town and I am too afraid to drive, walk or go on public transport. Can the session be arranged at my local doctors surgery?

    Is contacting my local MP a way of getting things speeded up?

  2. #2
    Hi OP,

    Are you using an IAPT service (deal with mild - moderate psych. conditions)? If so, that's definitely not usual. 3 months is the max waiting time for higher intensity CBT therapies, but that's within the IAPT service. If they have referred you elsewhere, e.g. to secondary care psychological service (aka Community Mental Health Teams - severe psych. conditions), then that's different - they've introduced capping policies due to high waiting lists, so their waiting times differ significantly, and can be up to 6 months long.

    If you're using an IAPT service, definitely call them up and chase it up - speak to the admin/your previous therapist who gave you sessions over the phone. If that's a no go, then contact your GP - they can assert more authority with IAPT services due to being their biggest referrers. I've never known anybody to have to go to an MP, as a last resort tends to be contacting the complaints department if the steps mentioned don't work.

    I worked in an IAPT service for a long time. I hope things work out for you!



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