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Latest adviceHow to use

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LAST REVIEWED 16 January 2023

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

What is Talking Therapies?

NHS Talking Therapy services provide free NHS psychological therapies to support people with mental and emotional issues like stress, trauma, anxiety and depression.

The Talking Therapies programme began in 2008 and has transformed the treatment of adult anxiety disorders and depression in England. Today, there are 32 Talking Therapy 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

How do I access the service?

  • You can refer yourself directly to an NHS talking therapies service without a referral from a GP, or a GP can refer you.

Below is 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:

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. Sessions may be delivered in person, by video, over the phone or as an online course.
  • 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.
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  • Free

  • Local to you


  • You need to be registered with a GP

  • There may be a waiting list

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

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