LAURA thought she had tried every type of therapy available to treat her anxiety and depression.

The 32-year-old secretary, who works in Oxford, said: “I had tried so many therapies – hypnotherapy, counselling, just to try and work out what was causing my anxiety and depression. I never got anywhere at all.”

But last year she was referred to TalkingSpace, a “talking therapy”, by her GP and says it has transformed her life.

Now NHS bosses are urging residents to access the service directly or through their doctor.

It comes after the Oxford Mail revealed a rise in the number of prescriptions for anti-depressants.

Rather than delve into the root cause of problems, TalkingSpace tries to change patterns of thinking or behaviour.

Laura, from Faringdon, who did not want to be named in full, had been taking medication for seven years.

She said: “My doctor suggested it was a good time to get off my anti-depressants, which I was anxious about.

“I had work and home issues I needed resolving.”

She attended a workshop in Marlow where users were told how the service works and then offered one-to-one sessions.

She said: “It gave me the tools to deal with my anxiety rather than find out when I am anxious.

“My issue was ‘why me?’ I always beat myself up over it.

“TalkingSpace made me realise it just is, there might not be any reason for it, this is the way you can deal with it better.”

Laura is now facing the future with more confidence and no medication.

She said: “I still get anxious but I get less anxious because now I know how to deal with it better, to catch it before it gets out of control.”

More than 17,500 people in Oxfordshire have used the service since it launched in 2009.

Consultant clinical psychologist June Dent, who leads TalkingSpace, said: “It is really effective with common mental health problems.

“It looks at the way we think about things to help people think in different ways. More people are talking to us about money worries now.”

She said a group for people with obsessive compulsive disorder will be starting in Banbury in March.

FOR information about Talking Space, see talkingspace or call 01865 325777.

Forthcoming workshops (booking needed) are being held on:

  • Monday, Feb 20, Witney Resource Centre, Moorland Road
  • Monday, Mar 5, Abingdon Wellbeing Centre, The Charter Complex, Broad Street.

  • Monday, Mar 19, Cowley Wellbeing Centre, Between Towns Road.