Entry requirements and training (high intensity therapist)
The first step to becoming a trainee CBT high intensity therapist is to apply for a trainee post within an Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) service. IAPT services are provided directly by NHS or third sector providers such as Mind.
Selection is carried out jointly between the IAPT 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 post graduate diploma in CBT.
For a list of BABCP-approved programmes, see Your postgraduate diploma in CBT below.
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.
Postgraduate diplomas in CBT are usually aimed at experienced healthcare professionals. To access a postgraduate diploma in CBT, you need to have secured a high intensity therapist trainee position within an IAPT service.
These positions are open to healthcare professionals with a BABCP-recognised core professional qualification, including:
- mental health nursing
- clinical or counselling psychology
- social work
- occupational therapy
- psychotherapy/psychotherapeutic counselling
- teacher of special education / needs
- probation services
If you don’t have a core profession, you may be able to secure a trainee role by demonstrating your competency via a portfolio of evidence. Further details can be found under Your application below.
Psychological wellbeing practitioners (PWPs) are eligible to apply for high intensity therapist training when they have completed a minimum of two years of continuous employment as a PWP and passing all PWP course requirements. The only exception to this two-year rule is if a PWP holds a previous core professional qualification recognised by the BABCP.
If you are currently working within an IAPT service, speak to your manager to find out which courses are available to you.
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Applications for trainee high intensity CBT posts will usually be made through IAPT services recruiting trainee high intensity therapists. Applications are not usually made directly to the university, although this may vary across regions.
Selection processes including shortlisting and interviews are carried out jointly between IAPT services and the university. As such, successful applicants will be required to meet the requirements of the employing service’s job description and person specification and the university entry requirements. See the BABCP accredited high intensity therapist courses.
In your application you will also be asked to provide evidence of your core professional qualification. If you do not have a core profession, you may be able to secure a trainee position by demonstrating your competency via a portfolio of evidence, which meets the criteria of the Knowledge Skills and Attitude (KSA) requirements of the BABCP. See the guidance on building your portfolio.
Your postgraduate diploma in CBT
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Postgraduate diplomas in CBT normally last for one academic year. Trainees will usually spend two days a week at university and the remaining three days working in their IAPT service under supervision.
BABCP-accredited courses must meet certain standards but programmes may vary in the way they are structured, and how you are taught and assessed. The facilities available and amount of support may also differ from course to course. Find out more by looking at university websites and prospectuses, attending university open days and contacting admissions staff. See the BABCP register of approved programmes.
After your diploma
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To practise as a high intensity CBT therapist, you must be able to demonstrate accreditation with the BABCP or provide evidence that you are working towards accredited status.
To remain accredited with the BABCP, you must maintain its set standards for your role. This includes taking part in continuing professional development (CPD). 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.
Within IAPT services there are opportunities to work in a range of settings such as in community mental health teams, health centres, GP surgeries and hospitals, with social services, or for charities such as Mind.