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© 2015 Taylor & Francis, LLC. Background: Improving access to psychological therapies (IAPT) is a major programme in England to treat common mental health problems, mainly through cognitive behaviour therapy. In 2012, a Pathfinder scheme was launched to develop interventions for people with chronic physical health conditions or medically-unexplained symptoms.Aim: This qualitative component of the evaluation investigated feasibility and acceptability of IAPT provision for people with enduring physical health problems.Method: Qualitative interviews were conducted with project leaders in all 14 Pathfinder sites.Findings: Various therapeutic and training interventions were introduced. Most patients received low-intensity, structured therapy, with high-intensity input provided by some Pathfinders for complex cases. Whether the focus was on psychological symptoms or on broader well-being, psychiatric terminology was avoided to improve utilisation. Participants perceived high satisfaction among service-users. Training needs were indicated for IAPT workers in this specialised work.Conclusions: Cognitive behaviour interventions appeared to be acceptable for people struggling with physical health problems. Robust outcome evidence will be pursued in Phase II.

Original publication




Journal article


Journal of Mental Health

Publication Date





379 - 384