Focus Groups for Carers on Talking Therapies

Talking therapies services (otherwise known as Improving Access to Psychological Therapies – IAPT) are being recommissioned and redesigned in Bristol, South Gloucestershire and North Somerset.  IAPT services provide support for adults who are experiencing low mood, anxiety and depression, stress, excessive worry or difficulties controlling emotions. These therapies are sometimes known as ‘talking therapies’.  Typical treatments include cognitive behavioural therapies, mindfulness, counselling, couples therapies, psychodynamic therapy, psychosexual therapy, and group-based support.

We’d like to invite you to attend a focus group so that we can make sure that your views on how these services could be improved, what should be included in the redesign and also, any positive experiences that you or the person you care for have experienced (if any) around talking therapies.

There is also an online survey if you’d rather comment anonymously rather than comment as a group. Click here to take part in the online survey.

The dates of the sessions are as follows:

  • Tuesday 9th January from 6-6.45pm in the Dawn James Room, Vassall Centre. There will be food from 5.45pm (or you can have a plate while we run the session).
  • Monday 15th January from 1.30-3pm in the Rowlings Room, Carers Support Centre, Vassall Centre. This time there will be cake!

Both focus groups are the same, and you’d only need to attend one of these. If you would like to attend please click here to contact us and let us know which day you would like to attend.

The questions that we will run through at the focus groups are:

Question 1 – Values and approaches

BNSSG CGG aims to commission a single service with one lead provider and an outcomes-based specification, which places IAPT treatments into a wider social, cultural and economic context, by:

  • embedding equality
  • taking a holistic approach
  • offering a flexible and responsive service
  • deploying a wide range of approaches
  • providing a timely service
  • improving access to the service
  • improving recovery rates
  • communicating strongly

Based on your experiences of IAPT, do you think that these are the right principles and approaches?

Question 2 – Referral

The CCG wants the new service to be more holistic by linking in with other existing services, including:

  • primary care
  • secondary mental health services
  • other health pathways – long-term conditions, medically unexplained symptoms etc.
  • perinatal mental health pathway
  • social care
  • wellbeing and healthy lifestyles provision
  • social prescribing
  • welfare rights/debt advice
  • housing and homelessness services
  • sexual violence services
  • substance misuse services
  • employment and job retention support

Based on your experiences, how do you think this more holistic approach could work?

Question 3 – Geography and place

There are currently geographic inequalities and service differences in the provision of IAPT: your ability to access IAPT is disproportionately determined by where you live.

Based on your experiences, what do we need to think about that would help the service work better for everybody?

Question 4 – Learning and improvement

The CCG want to take an approach to monitoring and improving the service that:

  • sets local outcomes and performance indicators to satisfy national reporting requirements
  • learns from the current services
  • learns from South Gloucestershire’s research pilot
  • adopts practice from elsewhere
  • takes note of national guidance, research and review evidence
  • takes note of the experience of people who have used and not used IAPT services
  • proceeds by testing, exploring and experimenting

What would you like the commissioners to hear about your experiences that would help develop the new IAPT service?

More information about current talking therapies services in Bristol and South Gloucestershire can be found here: