The Department of Health has invested over £300 million in the Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) programme the aim of which is to increase access to evidence based psychological therapies for people with high prevalence mental health difficulties. A major part of the IAPT programme has resulted in a revolution in the way in which mental health services are delivered, with the development of the role of the Psychological Wellbeing Practitioner (PWP) featuring prominently. The role of the PWP has been developed to support a range of low-intensity interventions based upon cognitive behavioural therapy and operate within a values driven service.
This programme provides a thorough grounding in the theory, evidence base and practice of low-intensity psychological therapy for anxiety and depression. It is heavily rooted within the development of clinical skills associated with a patient-centred approach; promoting recovery and recognising and respecting diversity. It develops competencies in core patient centered interviewing and assessment skills, case management, and the delivery of a range of low intensity interventions including behavioural activation, exposure, cognitive restructuring, sleep management, problem solving alongside support for medication taking. Particular innovations in the low intensity model of working is the way in which the approach is embedded within a model of collaborative care and supported through the use of case management supervision.
Given the success of the role in bringing large numbers of patients with anxiety and depression to recovery and increasing access, the practitioner role is now being accredited by several professional bodies and likely to be included within the Health Professions Council psychotherapy registration process in the next couple of years.
This programme offers applicants a unique opportunity to develop competence and knowledge required to gain accreditation and practice as a Psychological Wellbeing Practitioner, either within a developed IAPT service, or as part of other services seeking to provide evidence based interventions for depression and anxiety. The profile of the teaching team in the area of low intensity psychological therapy establishes the training as the leading programme in the country.