Psychological Wellbeing Practitioner

Occupational overview

This occupation is found in in the public sector within the NHS England Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) initiative, which is a world leading programme in psychological healthcare. This is an exciting role where practitioners make a difference to people’s lives. Psychological Wellbeing Practitioners (PWP) delivers the service from different venues for example GP surgeries, community healthcare settings and other community based venues, such as job centres.. The broad purpose of the occupation is for PWPs to interact with adult patients in primary care, across a number of different services and variety of environments including being able to practice in diverse cultures. PWPs offer assessments for mild to severe common mental health problems, undertaking assessment of risk and making of safeguarding referrals. They offer evidence based interventions to patients with mild to moderate anxiety and depression as well as other common mental health problems determined by National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE)*1, the Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT)*2 manual. PWPs operate within a stepped care service delivery model which operates on the principle of offering the least intrusive effective psychological treatment in the first instance, patients can then be ‘stepped up’ to a more intensive treatment if required. The treatment aids clinical improvement and social inclusion, such as a return to work, meaningful activity or physical wellbeing and is delivered through a variety of methods including individual work courses and group work, which can be via face-to-face, telephone, email or other contact methods including digital platforms.

Skills

  • Communicate effectively with individuals verbally and in writing to build successful caring relationships with patients and colleagues, whilst also keeping information confidential.
  • Respond to peoples’ needs sensitively with regards to all aspects of diversity.
  • Handle personal and sensitive information in line with local and national policies and legislation. Keep information secure and ensure that any information audits are compliant with such policies and legislation.
  • Accurately record interviews and questionnaire assessments using paper and electronic recording keeping systems in a timely manner.
  • Communicate effectively with and signpost to other agencies with informed consent. For example, employment, occupational and other advice services.
  • Use a range of assessments to aid problem recognition and definition e.g. psychometric assessment, problem focused assessment and intervention planning assessment.
  • Recognise patterns of symptoms of conditions such as anxiety disorders and depression and determine the patient need and level of ongoing risk to themselves and others.
  • Work collaboratively with patients’ to provide patient-centred care and enable shared decision making.
  • Recognise, respect and engage with people from a diverse demographic that includes personal, family, social and spiritual values held by communities served by the service.
  • Recognise the limitations to your competence and role and direct people to resources appropriate to their needs, including step-up to high-intensity therapy and onward referral.
  • Manage a caseload of patients with common mental health problems efficiently and safely.
  • Build a therapeutic alliance with patients to manage emotional distress in sessions and understand patient’s perspectives.
  • Collaboratively use behaviour change models to help identify patient goals and choice of low-intensity intervention.
  • Effectively plan and deliver evidenced based low-intensity psychological treatments. For example, recommended treatments for problem solving, panic and sleep management and to review treatment plans continually.
  • Use clinical skills supervision to assist the delivery of low-intensity interventions and case management supervision for individual case discussion and skills development
  • Practice autonomously within your scope of practice and be responsible and accountable for safe, compassionate, patient-centred, evidence based practice.
  • Work within your own practice boundaries and levels of competence.
  • Work with patients who have consented and agreed to be treated.
  • Establish and maintain appropriate professional and personal boundaries with patients.
  • Communicate using a range of methods including face-to-face, telephone, presentations and electronic mediums.
  • Support patients using medication to help them optimise medication use and minimise adverse effects in liaison with the patient’s GP.
  • Work collaboratively with patients' to provide patient-centred care and enable shared decision making.
  • Use clinical skills supervision to assist the delivery of low-intensity interventions and case management supervision for individual case discussion and skills development.
  • Reflect on your practice, keeping your knowledge and skills updated and respond to appraisal/feedback appropriately.
  • Respond professionally to supervisor feedback and implement feedback in a timely manner to ensure high quality patient care.
  • Adhere to employers ethical local and national policies and procedures.

Knowledge

  • The significance of effective communication within the workplace setting.
  • How to build partnerships and therapeutic relationships that take into account individual differences and needs including language preferences.
  • The policies and guidelines that relate to the handling of confidential information and the importance of recording accurate patient records securely and how to escalate matters if data protection breaches occur.
  • The principles, purposes and different types of assessments, undertaken with people with common mental health problems.
  • Patterns of symptoms consistent with diagnostic categories and psychological models.
  • Process of ongoing risk assessment, safeguarding and any policies that support this.
  • The importance of actively involving people in their own care.
  • The stepped care model in IAPT services and NICE guidelines for depression and anxiety disorders.
  • Understand how to respond to people’s need sensitively with regards to individual differences.
  • The boundaries of the role and how low intensity interventions differ from other methods of psychological treatment.
  • How to work within a team and other agencies with additional specific roles which cannot be fulfilled by the PWP alone.
  • How to manage risk and promote health and well-being while aiming to empower choices that promote self-care and safety.
  • Understand the importance of gaining informed consent.
  • The principles of patient-centred care and support, and why it makes a difference to how people feel.
  • How to competently use behaviour change models and strategies in the delivery of low-intensity psychological interventions.
  • How to practice in a non-judgemental, caring and sensitive manner.
  • How to maintain a therapeutic alliance with patients during their treatment programme, including dealing with issues and events that interfere with the therapeutic relationship that threaten the alliance.
  • How to adapt and use communication skills to deliver low-intensity treatments using a range of methods including face-to-face, telephone, presentations and other electronic communication.
  • The importance of signposting patients, with informed consent, to other services and the services that are available locally.
  • The principles and implementation of medication management.
  • The importance of timely record keeping.
  • The principles of caseload management.
  • The structure of both clinical skills and case management supervision and the difference between the two forms of supervision.
  • Models of critical reflection, self-reflection, and use of feedback, to enhance the quality of patient care you provide personally and as part of the team.
  • A range of codes of conduct and employers’ policies relevant to the role.

Behaviours

  • You will treat people with dignity, respecting diversity, beliefs, culture, needs, values, privacy and preferences.
  • You will show respect and empathy for those you will work with, have the courage to challenge areas of concern and work to evidence based best practice.
  • You will be adaptable, reliable and consistent, demonstrate competence, resilience and responsibility.

Entry Requirements

GCSE grade C or above in Maths and English or Functional Skills Level 2 in Maths and English.

Employers and universities will set their own entry requirements which might typically include a requirement for applicants to have previous experience of working in mental health or experience of a setting where they are likely to be exposed to people at increased risk of experiencing mental health difficulties.

Apprentices without level 2 English and maths will need to achieve this level prior to taking the End-Point Assessment.  For those with an education, health and care plan or a legacy statement, the apprenticeship’s English and maths minimum requirement is Entry Level 3. A British Sign Language (BSL) qualification is an alternative to the English qualification for those whose primary language is BSL. 

Mandatory qualification: Certificate in Psychological Wellbeing Practice (PWP)

Duration

12 months.

Professional Qualification

Regulatory or professional body: British Psychological Society (BPS)

This is a level 6 apprenticeship.

Originally published on Gov.uk, this information has been re-used under the terms of the Open Government Licence.

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