Psychological wellbeing practitioner

Psychological wellbeing practitioners (PWPs) are trained to assess and support people with common mental health problems – principally anxiety disorders and depression – in the self-management of their recovery. 

"Knowing that I am making a difference to people’s lives is rewarding and inspiring." Valeria Souza, psychological well-being practitioner

Read Valeria's story

Working life 

PWPs work within Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) services, using a range of psychological interventions and skills to support individuals with mental health problems such as depression and anxiety. PWPs work closely with other healthcare professionals including cognitive behavioural therapists, counsellors, adult psychotherapists and employment advisers.

As a PWP you will:

  • undertake patient-centred interviews
  • identify areas where the person wishes to change how they feel, think or behave
  • carry out thorough risk assessments
  • provide a range of evidence-based psychological interventions including guided self-help based on cognitive behavioural therapy, online psychological treatment programmes and psycho-educational groups and workshops
  • liaise with other agencies and provide information about services such as employment and housing to patients

You will offer phone, online or face-to-face support to patients from different backgrounds and signpost them to other agencies as appropriate.

Who will I work with?

You will provide treatment on a one-to-one basis or in groups or workshops. You will work with adults from many different backgrounds and work collaboratively with a range of professionals in health, mental health, social care and with community organisations.

Where will I work?

PWPs work within an Improving Access to Psychological Therapy (IAPT) service which may be within a specialist mental health trust or third sector organisation. You may be based in a GP practice, healthcare centre or community venue such as a library or leisure centre.

Entry requirements and experience needed

Training places are open to either:

  • people from the local community, with a wide range of life experience who will be trained to a graduate level
  • graduates of any discipline who can demonstrate that they can meet the academic requirements of the post graduate level qualification  

Experience of working with people with mental health problems is desirable, excellent interpersonal skills are essential. 

Training 

You need to apply for a post as a trainee or apprentice PWP in an IAPT service to access the training. All PWPs will complete an accredited IAPT training course which typically consists of 45 days of academic work (one day per week) alongside supervised practice, usually over an academic year. Whilst in training you will be employed by a local IAPT service who will employ you permanently if you pass the training.

Accredited by the British Psychological Society (BPS), PWP training is open to people with a range of experience. Graduates usually take a postgraduate certificate and those without a degree will normally do an equivalent graduate-level qualification. 

A level 6 apprenticeship has also been approved and is a great opportunity for people without a degree but with useful life experience, or who'd like to make a career change and contribute to the local community. To get onto an apprenticeship, you will need to apply for an apprentice position with a healthcare provider. Search for apprenticeships on the NHS Jobs website.   

Pay and benefits

PWPs can work full or part time. It is also possible to train part time. As a trainee PWP, you’ll be paid on the Agenda for Change (AFC) pay system at band 4. After qualifying, you will be paid at band 5.

If you work for the NHS you’ll also have access to a generous pension scheme, as well as 27 days of annual leave plus bank holidays.

Where the role can lead

As a qualified and experienced PWP you can apply for more senior posts at band 6, band 7 and band 8a, with additional management and leadership responsibilities or clinical specialism. Regular supervision will enable you to develop in your role.  

There are increasing opportunities for progression and career development including areas such as:

  • specialising in long-term conditions, for example diabetes or chronic pain 
  • perinatal - working with midwives, health visitors and specialist perinatal mental health services to support families
  • occupational health - supporting NHS staff with any mental health problems
  • supervision - providing case management and clinical skills supervision to other PWPs
  • management, for example team management, recruitment and project management
  • service promotion and leadership, for example developing and overseeing projects and liaise with partners and local organisations
  • clinical advisor, for example advising networks of healthcare professional and specialist groups regionally and nationally
  • undertaking research in the NHS or an academic institution

Some PWPs later train as high intensity therapistsclinical psychologistscounselling psychologists and counsellors. As a PWP, it is expected that you will work in the role for a minimum of two years before you can progress into another NHS funded training in the psychological professions.

From June 2022, PWPs will need to be registered with either the BPS or British Association for Behavioural and Cognitive Psychotherapies (BABCP). The registers are already open and the BPS and BABCP websites have all the details about what's required and how the registration process works. 

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