High intensity therapist
High intensity therapists provide a range of high-intensity psychological interventions, including cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) and interpersonal psychotherapy (IPT).
This page has information on the role of a high intensity therapist, the entry requirements, skills and how to apply.
"Seeing people change their lives for the better and knowing I’ve helped them do that is the best part of my job." Gareth Stephens, a high intensity cognitive behavioural therapist.
You'll treat people from different cultural backgrounds and ages who have a range of complex problems related to anxiety and depression. You'll assess a client's suitability for psychological interventions and formulate, implement and evaluate therapy programmes.
You may use a range of high-intensity psychological interactions, including:
- cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT)
- interpersonal psychotherapy (IPT)
- behavioural activation
- couple therapy for depression
- brief psychodynamic therapy
- counselling for depression
You'll also offer specialist advice and consultation to other professionals, individuals, and groups across mental health trusts, community-based trusts and other voluntary agencies regarding the practice and delivery of specific therapeutic models and service provision.
Where will I work?
You’ll be employed within Improving Access to Psychological Therapy (IAPT) services, which may be within a clinical commissioning group, specialist mental health trust, the third or independent sector. You’ll work closely with other healthcare professionals, such as psychological wellbeing practitioners, employment advisors and other therapists and support staff.
You’ll need a registered qualification in one of the following areas:
It is also possible to train as a high intensity therapist without one these qualifications but you’ll need to demonstrate your competency via a portfolio of evidence, which meets the criteria of the Knowledge Skills and Attitude (KSA) requirements of the British Association of Behavioural and Cognitive Psychotherapies (BABCP).
You’ll need to undertake training on a specifically commissioned high intensity CBT course. The course consists of two days a week at university and three days supervised practice in the clinical setting over a 12 month period, leading to a post graduate diploma.
To access this training, you'll need to apply for a trainee high intensity therapist post (see the Job market and vacancies section below for details)
Skills and values needed
Good communication skills are essential to convey CBT and other psychological formulations, with sensitivity in easily understood language.
If you're applying for a role either directly in the NHS or in an organisation that provides NHS services, you'll be asked to show how you think the values of the NHS Constitution apply in your everyday work. The same will be true if you are applying for a university course funded by the NHS.
- Pay and conditions Expand / Collapse
Most jobs in the NHS are covered by the Agenda for Change (AfC) pay scales. This pay system covers all staff except doctors, dentists and the most senior managers. Trainees are appointed at band 6 or band 7, depending on their current psychological therapy expertise. High intensity therapists in the NHS will usually work standard hours of 37.5 per week. Terms and conditions can vary for employers outside of the NHS.
- Where the role can lead Expand / Collapse
Once you have qualified as an high intensity therapist, there are a wide range of opportunities. You could apply for more senior positions or contribute to the development of the profession through research and teaching.
- Job market and vacancies Expand / Collapse
Applications for trainee posts need to be made to an organisation providing Improving Access to Psychological Therapy (IAPT) services. IAPT services are provided directly by NHS organisations in some parts of the country and in others, the NHS commissions certain charities to provide them.
Selection is carried out jointly between service and academic course providers. If successful, both a job and a training place are offered. Over 300 training places are available every year.
Trainee high intensity therapist vacancies can be found on the NHS Jobs website or may be advertised locally within newspapers or local job sites. Vacancies may also be advertised on charity websites - such as Mind, Rethink and TurningPoint.
If you're applying for a role either directly in the NHS or in an organisation that provides NHS services, you'll be asked to show how you think the NHS values apply in your everyday work.
- Further information Expand / Collapse
- Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (for general information about IAPT, but not job vacanacies)
- British Association of Behavioural and Cognitive Psychotherapies (BABCP)