High intensity therapist
High intensity therapists equip people with the tools and techniques they need to overcome complex problems related to anxiety and depression.
You’ll make a difference to people's quality of life by providing a range of evidence-based interventions.
Life as a high intensity therapist
You’ll see individuals face-to-face or facilitate therapeutic groups. You’ll work with people with depression and anxiety disorders, such as obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
High intensity cognitive behavioural therapist
Seeing people change their lives for the better and knowing I’ve helped them do that is the best part of my job.
To work as a qualified high intensity therapist, you need to undertake training in a one of the high intensity therapies such as:
- cognitive behavioural therapy
- interpersonal psychotherapy for depression
- couples therapy for depression
- brief dynamic interpersonal therapy
- counselling for depression
- mindfulness-based cognitive therapy
- behavioural couples therapy
You'll be given formal training in the therapy or therapies that you deliver in NHS Talking Therapies and will be accredited by the relevant professional body.
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 on the practice and delivery of specific therapeutic models and service provision.
You may, in turn, provide supervision to other members of your team.
How much can I earn?
There are nine pay bands and you’ll usually be paid at band 6 as a trainee. Once you qualify, you’ll usually move up band 7 and will have opportunities to progress with experience.
Terms and conditions can vary if you are employed outside the NHS.
How about the benefits?
- fully funded training plus a salary while you train and a job in the service when you qualify
- an excellent pension scheme
- NHS discounts in shops and restaurants
- excellent communication and interpersonal skills
- empathetic listening skills
- ability to remain solution-orientated
- ability to work well in a fast-paced, challenging environment
- ability to provide supervision
- ability to participate in shared decision-making
- a critical understanding of the phenomenology, diagnostic classifications and epidemiological characteristics for all conditions seen in NHS Talking Therapies.
- a critical understanding of the current, evidence-based pharmacological and psychological treatment for all conditions seen in NHS Talking Therapies
- ability to identify triggers, patterns of avoidance and safety-seeking behaviours
- the use of standard and idiosyncratic measures to evaluate outcomes ability to develop formulation and use this to develop treatment plans/case conceptualisation
You'll also need to be able to demonstrate the values of the NHS Constitution.
Selection is carried out jointly between the NHS Talking Therapies service and academic course provider. If successful, you will be offered both a job and a training place on a British Association for Behavioural and Cognitive Psychotherapies (BABCP)-accredited postgraduate diploma in CBT or one of the other therapies.
While training, you’ll spend two days a week at university and the remaining three days working in your NHS Talking Therapies service under supervision.
Entry requirements vary, depending which type of therapy you choose, so it’s important to check carefully before you apply.
You might also be able to secure a trainee position if you are a healthcare professional with a degree or the academic equivalent and relevant healthcare experience. Usually, you would hold a British Association for Behavioural and Cognitive Psychotherapies (BABCP)-recognised core professional qualification.
If you don’t have a core profession, you may be able to secure a trainee role if you can demonstrate your competence via a Knowledge, Skills and Attitudes (KSA) portfolio of evidence. Find out more information about compiling a KSA portfolio on the BABCP website.
How to become a high intensity therapist
Where a career as a high intensity therapist can take you
It’s important to note that a two-year psychological professions funding rule policy was implemented on 1 April 2022. This means that if you start NHS-funded psychological professions training from April 2022, you won’t be eligible for NHS funding for further psychological profession training for two years from the expected completion date of your first training, where it would lead to a change in your job role.
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