Stress and burnout in Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) trainees: A systematic review

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For more than a decade, Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) has been training a new workforce of psychological therapists. Despite evidence of stress and burnout both in trainee mental health professionals, and qualified IAPT clinicians, little is known about these topics in IAPT trainees. Consequently, this systematic review sought to establish the current state of the literature regarding stress and burnout in IAPT trainees. Electronic databases were searched to identify all published and available unpublished work relating to the topic. On the basis of pre-established eligibility criteria, 8 studies (including 6 unpublished doctoral theses) were identified and assessed for quality. This review identifies that research into the experience of IAPT trainees is under-developed. Existing evidence tentatively suggests that IAPT trainees may experience levels of stress and burnout that are higher than their qualified peers and among the higher end of healthcare professionals more generally. The experience of fulfilling dual roles as mental health professionals and university students concurrently appears to be a significant source of stress for IAPT trainees. More research regarding the levels and sources of stress and burnout in IAPT trainees is urgently needed to confirm and extend these findings. Recommendations for future research in the area are given.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere20
JournalCognitive Behaviour Therapist
Publication statusPublished - 16 Jul 2021


  • burnout
  • IAPT
  • mental health
  • stress
  • systematic review

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