Psychological wellbeing practitioner
Psychological wellbeing practitioners are trained to assess and support people with common mental health problems – principally anxiety disorders and depression – in the self-management of their recovery.
This page has information on the role of a psychological wellbeing practitioner. It also includes information on the training and entry requirements for the role.
Psychological Wellbeing practitioners work to aid clinical improvement and social inclusion, including return to work, meaningful activity or other occupational activities. This is done through the provision of information and support for evidence-based low intensity psychological treatments, but also includes physical exercise and supporting medication adherence.
As a psychological wellbeing practitioner (PWP), you’ll:
- undertake patient-centred interviews
- identify areas where the person wishes to change how they feel
- make an assessment of risk the client poses to themselves and others
- provide assisted self-help, liaise with other agencies and provide information about services
Who will I work with?
Treatment is provided to groups of people as well as to individual patients on a one-to-one basis, and is provided by telephone and increasingly through electronic media as well as face-to-face.You’ll work with adults, children and young people from many different backgrounds.
PWPs work alongside high intensity therapists and other clinicians delivering evidence based therapies.
Where will I work?
You’ll typically work within an Improving Access to Psychological Therapy (IAPT) service which may be within a clinical commissioning group, specialist mental health trust or in the third or private sector. You’ll work closely with other healthcare professionals, such as high intensity therapists, employment advisers and other therapists and support staff.
For PWP training, trainees will be employed in a trainee PWP role for the duration of their training. The training is commissioned by the NHS and delivered by local universities. It consists of 45 days of academic work (at one day per week) and four days supervised practice, usually distributed over two or sometimes three semesters.
PWP training is open to people from a range of educational and vocational backgrounds. Those with a degree will typically undertake a postgraduate certificate and those without a degree will normally undertake an equivalent graduate-level qualification. The training is accredited by the British Psychological Society (BPS). PWPs who have completed an accredited course can join the BPS PWP register, or apply for recognition by the British Association for Behavioural and Cognitive Psychotherapies (BABCP).
You need to apply for a post as a trainee PWP in order to access the training. See the section on 'Job market and vacancies' below.
Entry requirements and experience needed
Training places are open to either:
- graduates or those who can demonstrate that they can meet the academic requirements of the post graduate level qualification
- people from the local community, with a wide range of life experience who will be trained to a graduate level
Experience of working with people with mental health problems is essential.
- 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. Trainee PWPs are appointed at band 4 and will usually work standard hours of 37.5 per week. Once qualified as a PWP, you would usually progress to a band 5 position. Terms and conditions can vary for employers outside of the NHS.
- Where the role can lead Expand / Collapse
As a qualified and experienced PWP you can apply for more senior posts at band 6, with additional management and specialist responsibilities.
- Job market and vacancies Expand / Collapse
Applications for trainee PWP 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 third sector 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 500 training places are available every year.
Trainee 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 Turning Point.
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.
Find out more about NHS values.
- Further information Expand / Collapse
- Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (for general information about IAPT, but not for job vacancies)
- British Association of Behavioural and Cognitive Psychotherapies (BABCP)
- Health Education England - Expanding the children and young people's mental health workforce