Types of Therapy

About AdEPT

AdEPT: Understanding and Preventing the Adverse Effects of Psychological Therapies

Many people with mental health difficulties are helped by psychological therapies (“talking treatments”), but there is some evidence from research studies and individual clients that people can occasionally feel worse after therapy. We do not know how often this occurs as a result of the treatment because people could have become more distressed anyway, for example, after stressful life events. The AdEPT study was aimed at understanding and preventing these adverse effects (feeling worse) following psychological therapy.

There were several strands to the project:

  • Reviewing the existing evidence about the nature and extent of the problem of adverse effects within psychological therapy - Literature Review
  • Analysing existing datasets to determine what kind of people in what type of therapy, with what kind of therapists are most likely to experience adverse effects within psychological therapies- Analysis of Routine Data and  Meta-analysis of Previous Trials
  • Undertaking in-depth interviews with clients and therapists where therapy has gone wrong to explore the process of failing or harmful therapy and generate understanding of what may have prevented the problems - Questionnaires and Interviews

All of this work led to the main objective of the project: to develop and test practical support tools for clients, therapists and service managers to reduce adverse effects and prevent harm within psychological therapy; the result is this website:  www.supportingsafetherapy.org


This research is being funded by the NIHR Research for Patient Benefit (RfPB). It lasted from January 2011 to April 2014.

Project Team

The Project team was made up of people with diverse backgrounds, including people who have used psychological therapy services, therapists and academic researchers. We believed this was important to ensure that differing perspectives were represented throughout the study.