Youth intensive psychological practitioner 

Youth intensive psychological practitioners provide psychological assessment and psychologically informed interventions support for young people (aged 13-17 years old) with severe mental health needs.

Based in inpatient and intensive home treatment services, you’ll have an important role in supporting young people towards recovery and helping them to live fulfilling lives.

Life as a youth intensive psychological practitioner  

You’ll work as an integral part of a multidisciplinary team where you will form collaborative relationships with young people and their families. You'll develop an understanding of their current difficulties and shape the young person’s psychological care.  

You’ll be supervised by and work closely with clinical psychologists and spend much of your time working with other health and care professionals as part of the multidisciplinary team.  

You’ll use assessment, engagement and formulation (making a map of current difficulties and what keeps them going) skills under supervision. Using these skills, you’ll support the young person with psychologically informed interventions and active risk management, as well as strategies for daily living and self-care.  

This is a new role currently being piloted across England. While training, you’ll typically spend one day a week studying at university (45 days in total) with almost all of this being remote learning. You'll spend the remainder of your time (four days a week) working in or undertaking specific training tasks in your placement setting. You'll spend time in both an inpatient and intensive home treatment team as part of your placements.  

You will have regular meetings with your supervisor to support you to deliver high quality, evidence-based interventions. You will also have contact with other trainee youth intensive psychological practitioners through your university and on your placements.  

You will also be required to undertake a minimum of 40 hours of clinical supervision, of which at least 20 hours should be case management supervision and at least 20 hours clinical skills supervision.  

Once qualified, you’ll spend at least 20 hours a week seeing patients and their parents and carers either in an inpatient setting, clinic, in their own homes, or via video link or telephone.  

You will also develop relationships across the children and young people’s mental health and care system to help co-ordinate the most appropriate care for your patients. 

How much can I earn?  

As a trainee youth intensive psychological practitioner, you’ll be paid on the Agenda for Change (AfC) pay system at band 4. After qualifying, you’ll be paid at band 5.  

How about the benefits?  

You’ll:  

  • be part of an exciting new role established to help transform children and young people's mental health services
  • contribute to ensuring children and young people with severe mental health needs have greater access to the psychological support they need  
  • have fully funded training and a salary while you train  
  • have the opportunity to progress to the next pay point annually until you reach the top of the pay band
  • have access to a generous NHS pension scheme and a minimum of 27 days annual leave per year, plus approximately eight public holidays (or equivalent)  

Must-have skills  

You’ll be someone who wants to work closely with children, young people, their families and carers at some of the most difficult times in their lives. You’ll have a resilient character and be emotionally self aware.  

You’ll need:  

  • to be able to recognise the expression of emotion in others and how it manifests in their behaviour 
  • excellent interpersonal skills and the ability to build trusting and productive relationships with a wide range of people in a variety of situations  
  • to be able to work well within a multidisciplinary team  
  • a good understanding of mental health issues  
  • strong written and verbal communication skills, tailored to a variety of audiences  
  • the ability to work independently where appropriate, and use initiative to think quickly on the spot, often in challenging situations and with competing priorities 
  • knowledge and skills in looking after your own mental wellbeing at the same time as supporting others with theirs 

Entry requirements  

The youth intensive psychological practitioner training programme is open to applicants with the right aptitude to learn how to work collaboratively in a mental health team.  

Most importantly, you’ll need to be able to demonstrate a willingness to work in a hopeful and productive way with young people with severe and complex mental health needs.  

You'll train on a one-year, salaried postgraduate certificate training programme. Most of your training will be spent gaining practice skills under supervision in both in-patient and intensive community treatment settings. 

You’ll need to be able to study at postgraduate certificate level so you will need to either have:  

  • a first degree in psychology at a minimum level of 2:2 and which confers eligibility for graduate basis for chartered membership (GBC) of the British Psychological Society (BPS) 

Or  

  • completed a qualifying course which confers graduate basis chartered membership of the BPS  

For a place on the programme, you’ll need to apply for a position as a trainee youth intensive psychological practitioner.  

To apply, you will need:  

  • direct experience of people who use mental health and care services in a personal, voluntary or paid capacity (for example as someone with lived experience or as a carer)
  • demonstrable interpersonal skills and values consistent with providing hopeful, person-centred care  
  • commitment to working with young people with complex mental health needs and their families or carers  
  • demonstrable ability to study at degree level or above  
  • good communication and interpersonal skills  
  • motivation and commitment to undertake and complete the course  

Your training will be fully funded, and you’ll earn an Agenda for Change band 4 salary while you train, which will increase to a band 5 salary after successful completing the postgraduate certificate.  

How do I become a youth intensive psychological practitioner?  

Once employed as a trainee, the NHS will offer you a package of learning and support including:  

  • fully funded one-year postgraduate certificate qualification (predominantly online)  
  • a band 4 Agenda for Change salary  
  • placement opportunities to develop and practice evidence-based skills under supervision in both children and young people mental health inpatient and intensive community mental health services  

Opportunities to apply for youth Intensive psychological practitioner roles are advertised on the NHS Jobs website. Set up an alert for ‘youth intensive psychological practitioner' to find training opportunities near you. You can also see some current vacancies below.

Once qualified, your employer will provide you with ongoing training to keep your skills and knowledge up to date. To support your practice and your wellbeing as a practitioner, you will be provided with regular supervision.  

Where a career as a youth intensive psychological practitioner can take you  

You could progress to a specialist role in the psychological professions, for example in clinical psychology or cognitive behavioural therapy, or retrain in another mental healthcare professional role such as nursing or the allied health professions.  

Youth intensive psychological practitioners will normally be unable to access another NHS-funded training in the psychological professions until two years after they qualify. For more information on NHS funding, please visit the funding for psychological professions training programmes web page

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