NICE under scrutiny

Although several years old, this paper – “NICE Under Scrutiny” still has great relevance. It looks at the impact of the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) guidelines on the provision of counselling/psychotherapy in the UK.

Produced by the UKCP Research Unit, it’s a critique of NICE and Randomised Control Trials (RCTs), including how and why the NICE Guideline development process is inherently biased against non-behavioural therapies.

It examines the negative consequences for people of their inability to access the full range of psychotherapies due to a combination of NICE’s approach to mental health and the implementation of its guidance through the Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) programme.

The paper concludes that NICE’s methodology has been inappropriately applied to psychotherapy in that:

  • It adheres to an overly medicalised perspective on emotional distress.
  • It has not consulted with the full range of relevant professional psychotherapy groups and psychotherapy research experts in the field.
  • It treats psychotherapy as if it were a drug for research purposes when a more appropriate metaphor might be therapy as a dialogue.
  • It uses an inflexible hierarchy of evidence which its own Chairman has criticised.

You can read or download the paper here.

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