High intensity therapist

High intensity therapists equip people with the tools and techniques they need to overcome complex problems related to anxiety and depression.  


Working as a high intensity therapist is a rewarding career and you will have the opportunity to make a difference to people's wellbeing and quality of life by providing a range of evidence-based interventions.

"Seeing people change their lives for the better and knowing I’ve helped them do that is the best part of my job." Gareth Stephens, a high intensity cognitive behavioural therapist.

Read Gareth's story in full

Working life 

As a high intensity therapist in an Improving Access to Psychological Therapy (IAPT) service, you will work with adults from a variety of backgrounds.

You’ll usually work with them on an individual face-to-face basis or through facilitating therapeutic groups. You will work with service users with problems such as obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). A large part of your role will be to assess a service user’s suitability for evidence-based psychological interventions, formulating and implementing treatment and evaluating progress.

Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) is the most common intervention offered, but you may use a range of other high-intensity psychological interventions, including:

You'll be formally trained in the therapy or therapies that you deliver in IAPT and will have a professional accreditation from the relevant professional body. 

You'll also offer specialist advice and consultation to other professionals, individuals, and groups across mental health trusts, community-based trusts and other voluntary agencies on the practice and delivery of specific therapeutic models and service provision.

You will receive regular clinical supervision to support your work. You may also provide supervision to other members of the team. 

Where will I work?

You’ll be employed as part of a team within an IAPT service, which may be within

You’ll work alongside psychological wellbeing practitioners and other clinicians who deliver evidence-based psychological therapies in IAPT, as well as employment advisers, GPs and support staff in both GP surgeries and community centres. 

You will work independently with service users and closely with other healthcare professionals, managing referrals and signposting to other agencies. 

Skills and values needed

The role can be demanding but it is also hugely rewarding. High intensity therapists meet with service users regularly, usually weekly, to measure and review progress, and tailor treatment accordingly. As a high intensity therapist, you’ll have experience of working with people with mental health conditions and will need to use a range of clinical, organisational and leadership skills on a daily basis, including:

If you're applying for a role either directly in the NHS or in an organisation that provides NHS services, you'll be asked to show how you think the values of the NHS Constitution apply in your everyday work. The same will be true if you are applying for a university course funded by the NHS. 

Find out more about NHS values

Find out about the entry requirements and training to be a high intensity therapist

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