Therapists want guidance on prescription psychiatric drugs, survey confirms

Ella Rhodes on a survey led by the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Prescribed Drug Dependence.

Early findings from a recent survey of practising therapists provides compelling evidence that guidance for therapists to support them dealing with clients taking or withdrawing from psychiatric prescription drugs is greatly needed.

Of the 1,200 therapists that responded to the survey led by the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Prescribed Drug Dependence (APPG for PDD), nine out of ten said it would be helpful to discuss issues around taking or withdrawing from psychiatric drugs with clients, but fewer than one in ten (7 per cent) felt their training equipped them to respond to questions very well.

Over 50 per cent of respondents said that more than half of their clients were taking psychiatric drugs such as antidepressants, anxiolytics or antipsychotics. They felt their ability to provide effective therapeutic help to people on such drugs was hampered because of a lack of knowledge about their effects.

Dr Anne Guy of the APPG for PDD said: ‘The survey confirms the lack of knowledge and training in this complex area, and as the world has changed since many of us completed our training, a real need for professional guidance. The very clear message from therapists is that they want access to guidance to help them respond confidently to questions from clients.’

Over 93 per cent of respondents said they wanted to have professional guidance to help them work competently with people either taking or withdrawing from psychiatric drugs.

The All-Party Parliamentary Group for Prescribed Drug Dependence (APPG for PDD) is working with the British Psychological Society, British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy, the UK Council for Psychotherapy and the National Service User Network to produce guidance materials for the UK’s 70,000 talking therapists to support them when working with issues related to prescribed psychiatric drugs. The materials are due to be published in the Summer.

BPS Members can discuss this article

Already a member? Or Create an account

Not a member? Find out about becoming a member or subscriber