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Couples therapy once more the most effective psychological treatment for depression and anxiety, NHS statistics confirm  

Published in Press Releases on August 27th 2019

Availability of highest performing treatment in IAPT now a key question.

For Immediate Release

Figures released recently by NHS Digital show that people have the best likelihood of recovery from symptoms of depression and anxiety when given Couple Therapy for Depression than other talking therapies.1

Despite growing demand for mental health services, there have been concerns since the IAPT programme’s inception around the lack of choice of therapies available.

The relative effectiveness of different talking therapies available in IAPT is published by NHS Digital,1,2,3,4.

The most recent data shows the continued success of Couple Therapy for Depression as the leading talking therapy, in that between 2017-18 Couple Therapy for Depression achieved the highest recovery rate of all - at 51.6% - against recovery rates for the most widely available treatments, Cognitive Behavioural Therapy and Counselling for Depression, of 47.4% and 47% respectively.

Over the summer, Tavistock Relationships has undertaken research regarding the availability of Couple Therapy for Depression in IAPT services and has found that nearly 1 in 3 services, do not offer this treatment option, with the effect that more than 11 million adults are effectively deprived of having any access to it.

Andrew Balfour, Chief Executive of Tavistock Relationships, commented: “With ever more evidence demonstrating the effectiveness of this treatment, and a rising demand for effective mental health treatment, it is truly disappointing that availability is so limited. We know that, for many people, relationship issues are at the heart of their depression and anxiety. It is unfair therefore that such a huge section of the adult population in England has no access to this type of help.

We are calling on CCGs who commission IAPT services to achieve a target of 90% coverage for the UK by 2025. The training is available, as is the desire from within services to deliver it.”


About Tavistock Relationships

Established in 1948, Tavistock Relationships is a registered charity internationally renowned for delivering and developing advanced practice, training and research in therapeutic and psycho-educational approaches to support couples.

Working from two London bases (Warren Street and New Street) as well as operating a nationally available online service, Tavistock Relationships has over 100 professionals providing an effective and highly-regarded form of couples’ counselling and psychotherapy.

Last year, Tavistock Relationships held nearly 19,500 therapy sessions, helping thousands of people with their relationships. The charity received very positive feedback, with more than 93% of its clients saying they would certainly rate the organisation’s services as good and would recommend it’s services.

For more press information contact:

  • Paula Scott, PR consultant T: 07932 740221, E: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Notes for editors

  1. IAPT services are the ‘front line’ of adult talking therapies treatment. Patients are referred by GPS or health professionals and then are assessed by IAPT services and offered what is deemed the most appropriate treatment available.
  2. Couple therapy for depression is a NICE-recommended treatment for depression where there are relationship issues playing a factor in the depression -


  1. (
    see Additional Analyses of Therapy-Based Outcomes, England 2017-18 – Data File)
  4. (see table 7d for outcome by therapy type)

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