Go to homepage
Latest adviceHow to use
Latest adviceHow to use

Approved by

NHS logo

LAST PUBLISHED 21 October 2021

NHS logo
Talking therapies are psychological treatments for mental and emotional issues, available free through the NHS

What is Talking Therapies?

NHS Talking Therapy services are also known as Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) services. These services provide free NHS psychological therapies to support people with mental and emotional issues like stress, trauma, anxiety and depression.

The IAPT programme began in 2008 and has transformed the treatment of adult anxiety disorders and depression in England. Today, there are 32 Talking Therapy (IAPT) services in London delivering psychological treatments – one for each of London’s boroughs.

There are many other names for this type of service that you may hear, including:

  • talking treatments
  • counselling
  • psychological therapies or treatments
  • psychotherapies

You will find on this page a map of all the local Talking Therapy services across London. You can find the one nearest to you by selecting your borough and then the service within that borough:

How do I access the service?

  • You can access the service either by a referral from your GP or by self-referral from your local Talking Therapy service. Please use the map above to find your local service.

Following referral, you can expect the following:

  • What to expect: As part of the self-referral process you may be asked to complete a questionnaire which may ask questions about you and the reasons why you are seeking support. Your answers will be reviewed by someone from the talking therapies service who will then get in touch to arrange a time to talk to you, either by phone or video conference. They will use this time to speak to you about some of the problems you're having and to see if this is the right service for you. They will also tell you how long you’re likely to wait for your first therapy session.
  • The service will recommend a therapy for you: The right therapy for you will depend on what problems you're experiencing and how severe they are. Therapies include but are not limited to cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) for mental health conditions like stress, anxiety, depression, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) and phobias (excessive and irrational fears).
  • Talking therapies are offered in different ways: This could include support using a self-help workbook, an online course, one to one session, in a group or a blend of some of these sessions. During the Covid-19 pandemic sessions are likely to be delivered by either phone or video-conference.
  • How long will the treatment take?: The length of your treatment will depend on the delivery of the sessions needed to support you. This can be anywhere between 6 – 24 (1-1.5hr) sessions.
Share to FacebookShare to WhatsAppShare to TwitterShare to LinkedInShare via email


  • Free

  • Local to you


  • You need to be registered with a GP

  • There may be a waiting list

NHS logo

Talking therapies are psychological treatments for mental and emotional issues, available free through the NHS

Subscribe to our newsletter

Get the latest tips and resources for Londoners delivered to your inbox every month.

Good Thinking logo in white

Good Thinking provides a range of resources to help Londoners improve their mental wellbeing.

SleepAnxietyLow moodStress
About Good Thinking
Healthy London PartnershipLondon CouncilsThrive LDNMayor of London
Was this page helpful?