Intensive Psychological Therapies Service (IPTS)

The IPTS team provides specialist therapy for service users with complex trauma and long-standing interpersonal difficulties such as personality disorders and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

We aim to help service users develop openness and curiosity around their behaviours, manage and express their emotions effectively, and increase their connection with others through developing healthy relationships.

We are a dedicated multi-disciplinary team of therapists from a variety of core professional backgrounds including clinical psychology, nursing, social work and occupational therapy. All staff are professionally trained, post qualification, in a minimum of one therapy that is delivered at the IPTS. We have won national recognition as a model of good practice.

You will need a referral from a community mental health team to access the service. All therapy sessions, groups and classes are face-to-face at the IPTS.

We also offer skills webinars in DBT and RO-DBT for service users who are not able to access therapy but who are engaging with a CMHT or other Dorset HealthCare mental health service.

The IPTS offers signposting to local and partner organisations including Vocational Services and the Recovery Education Centre (REC).

“Self-harm became like a second nature to me. I was addicted and it would manifest itself in many forms including substance abuse, risky behaviour (promiscuity), cutting myself and starving myself.

"DBT has been the most life changing thing that I have ever been through, not to mention the most difficult thing I have ever been through. I am so proud of myself for completing things I never thought it would be possible and building myself a life worth living.”

Izzy, former dialectical behaviour therapy (DBT) client.

Referral and assessment

You will be invited to attend an assessment which is made up of several stages incorporating a clinical interview, completion of psychometric tests and discussions to help us understand your difficulties and what changes you would like to make. You will have the opportunity to ask any questions about therapy here. Your assessment will be discussed by the Clinical Decision Team to determine which therapy, if any, could be of benefit to you.

What is expected

Once you have agreed to attend the IPTS for therapy, it is important that you are committed to therapy. In order for you to benefit and for the IPTS to run effectively for others, the following will be expected of you:

• To take an active role in your therapy and take responsibility for the changes which you may make to your life as a result of therapy.

• Regular attendance at arranged groups and sessions with your therapist/s. If you cannot attend a session for some reason, please telephone to let us know. An answer phone will be on if no-one is available to take your call.

• To arrive for group and individual sessions on time. This helps minimise disruptions once the group has started.

• To read the “Psychometric Tests: Introduction” leaflet included in your assessment pack and complete the attached slip agreeing to complete the tests at the required stages.


Seven former clients share their therapy experiences at the service and what it helped them to learn.

RO-DBT testimonial from Andy G

When I was offered RO-DBT, I thought, “Right, this is going to make everything better. Let’s go.” I figured that I would turn up every week, listen to what I was told, and by the time I reached the end of the course, as if by magic, I would be cured, my life would be in order and I’d be free of any mental health issues.

The first few weeks, I wondered why that wasn’t happening. If each lesson was a step on the road to this idealised future, surely I would feel forward progress? Why were things still such a struggle? Wasn’t it working?

It was then that I realised the course doesn’t ‘fix’ you. Instead, it gives you the tools to face the challenges of life a bit more flexibly so that when you’re released back out into the wild, you can deal with things more effectively than you did before. You can’t just sit there and passively absorb the information – you have to do the work yourself.

RO-DBT isn’t like surgery where somebody else comes in and repairs the damage. It’s more like learning to ride a bike. The therapists fit on the stabilisers, hold you up, give you encouragement and pick you up when you fall, but ultimately, you’re the one pedalling. It’s terrifying and uncomfortable and you wobble all over the place. It feels really unnatural. But as you go into the classes and one-to-ones and tell them about your experiences – this week I hit a rock, last week I struggled with a hill – things slowly start to make sense.

Before the end, your confidence grows, you experiment with new ways of riding, and you start thinking about what happens next. Finally, when it’s time to leave, they take off the stabilisers and you’re away, with new skills to see you through the hard times and more flexible ways of coping.

Am I ‘fixed’? No. That’s an unrealistic goal for therapy. However, I can now ride a bike and I know how to get back on if I fall off. The future remains up to me and it is on me how I apply these lessons to my life. At the end of the day, it remains a choice, but so long as I continue to take things one hour, one minute, one breath at a time, I think I’ll be okay.

My advice to people starting RO-DBT is to see it as it as a new way of moving around your life. Your current coping style, walking, is comfortable and it’s familiar, but it was walking that got you here in the first place. Perhaps riding a bike might make things a little easier? That’s up to you, but one thing is certain: you’ll never know until you try.

Things to remember


The IPTS is open from 9.00 am to 5.00 pm, Monday to Friday (except Bank Holidays).


Children are not permitted in the clinic. Unfortunately, there are no facilities for providing care for your children so you will need to make arrangements for them when you come to the IPTS for appointments or groups.


There is a no-smoking policy on this NHS site, including the use of any electronic smoking device. Your co-operation would be appreciated.


The NHS Zero Tolerance Zone is a nationwide campaign to stop violence against staff working in the NHS. ‘Violence’ means any incident where staff are abused, threatened or assaulted in circumstances related to their work, involving an explicit or implicit challenge to their safety, wellbeing or health. The definition is not subjective – it is what is meant by ‘zero tolerance’.


We recognise that you may feel anxious attending the clinic at times and wish to bring someone with you. Whilst we understand this will help you to attend your appointment, please be aware that this person will not be able to stay in the clinic unless this has been previously discussed and agreed.


The use of mobile phones is not permitted in the clinic. Your co-operation would be appreciated.

Location and contact details

01202 584120

Branksome Clinic,
51a Layton Road,
BH12 2BJ

At the corner of Sunny Hill Road

WiFi: No

Parking: Yes

Disabled Access: Yes

Opening times:
Monday to Friday from 09.00 to 17.00
Closed on Bank Holidays and weekends

By Rail Branksome Train Station is approximately 10 minutes away by taxi or a 20 minute walk.

By Bus Both Bournemouth and Poole are approximately 25 minutes away by bus on the numbers M1, M2, 1 and 3. Services run every 10 minutes during the day.

You may be eligible for reimbursement of travel costs subject to certain conditions. Please ask at Reception for details.

Selected publications co-authored by IPTS therapists

Bates, A., Golding, H., Rushbrook, S., Highfield, J., Pattison, N., Baldwin, D., Grocott, M. P. W., & Cusack, R. (2024). Mixed-methods randomised study exploring the feasibility and acceptability of eye-movement desensitisation and reprocessing for improving the mental health of traumatised survivors of intensive care following hospital discharge: protocolBMJ Open.

Bates, A., Golding, H., Rushbrook, S., Shapiro, E., Pattison, N., Baldwin, D. S., Grocott, M. P. W., & Cusack, R. (2022). A randomised pilot feasibility study of eye movement desensitisation and reprocessing recent traumatic episode protocol, to improve psychological recovery following intensive care admission for COVID-19. Journal of the Intensive Care Society (24)3.

Clarke, S., Thomas, P., & James, K. (2013). Cognitive analytic therapy for personality disorder: randomised controlled trial. British Journal of Psychiatry, Feb:202, 129-134.

Coulter, N., & Rushbrook, S. (2010). Playfulness in CAT. Reformulation, 35, 24-27.

Coulter, N., & Rushbrook, S. (2012). Sleep Tight: Working Creatively with Dreams in CAT. Reformulation, 38, 7-12.

Dawson, M., Rowell, K., Johnstone, L., Pampoulov, P., & Rushbrook, S. (2023). Measuring the Effectiveness of Cognitive Analytic Therapy: An Evaluation of Using Psychological Outcome Measures in a Personality Disorder Service. International Journal of Cognitive Analytic Therapy & Relational Mental Health, 5, 57-70.

Pond, R., Rushbrook, S., & Clarke, S. (2013). Celebrating 15 years of providing specialist therapeutic interventions. Clinical Psychology Forum, 251, 22-26.

Pollock, P., Broadbent, M., Clarke, S., Ryle, A., & Dorrian, A. (2001). The Personality Structure Questionnaire (PSQ): A Measure of the Multiple Self-States Model of Identity Disturbance in Cognitive Analytic Therapy. ­Clinical Psychology and Psychotherapy, 8(1), 59-72.

Mental Health and learning disabilities