More and more students are looking to take action to help people affected by mental health issues. This is where PWP comes in.
What is PWP training?
PWP (Psychological Wellbeing Practitioner) training is an accredited course. The course involves 45 days of academic work and supervised practice of psychological wellbeing work. The academic days tend to run one day per week, and the supervised practice will run over an academic year. During their PWP training candidates are employed by a local IAPT service.
Anyone with an undergraduate degree can look into PWP training. The PWP training is open to people with a range of experiences, not just those in the health of psychological backgrounds.
What are psychological wellbeing practitioners?
Psychological wellbeing practitioners are trained to assess and support people with common mental health problems and conditions. These can include anxiety disorders and depression.
PWPs will support people in their self-management during their recovery, either through low-intensity or high-intensity treatments. Treatment can be delivered face-to-face, on the phone or online on a one-to-one basis. It can also be part of a group setting, with PWPs working with adults from many backgrounds and experiences.
You’ll work with a large number of people, with each client session typically lasting between 20 and 30 minutes. A fully qualified PWP can help more than 250 patients every year.
How to become a wellbeing practitioner
PWP training is, of course, a very big part of becoming a wellbeing practitioner. However, it’s important to remember that it’s not the only way that you can become one. The standards for this role are very high and will almost assuredly require you to have an undergraduate degree.
An undergraduate degree will generally be needed for this role. It is possible to find work without, but it is extremely hard. Psychology degrees will generally be best, but other medical degrees have been known to be accepted too.
Work experience is extremely useful. This could be gained by shadowing any other mental health professionals or taking on voluntary work in order to beef up your hours. Any experience working with vulnerable people will always be highly desirable.
A postgraduate certificate is not a requirement, but it’s highly desirable. Postgraduate study will put you ahead of most candidates, but a certificate allows you to also combine practical learning experience alongside it.
Try to register with a professional body if you can. Bodies such as the British Association for Behavioural and Cognitive Psychotherapies (BABCP). It’s not a requirement, and they are generally used as a means of completing a continuing professional development (CPD), but they also offer a wide array of networking events and professional help.
What work do PWPs do day-to-day?
This can vary. After PWP training, practitioners will use a range of psychological interventions and skills to support people with mental health problems. PWPs work closely with other professionals in healthcare, including high-intensity therapists, Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) counsellors and employment advisors. They also work alongside other clinicians and GPs.
There are several things as part of their job role, including:
- Patient-centred interviews.
- Identifying areas where the patient wishes to change how they think, feel or behave.
- Carrying out thorough risk assessments.
- Providing a range of evidence-based psychological interventions, including guided self-help based on cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), psycho-educational workshops and groups, and online psychological treatment.
- Liaising with other agencies and providing information regarding services, like employment and housing to patients.
Do I need a degree to get onto a PWP training course?
Those with a degree will usually start a PWP training course postgraduate certificate. Those without a degree will tend to undertake an equivalent graduate-level qualification.
The PWP training courses are accredited by the British Psychological Society (BPS).
How to apply for PWP training?
To get onto an IAPT PWP training course, you need to apply for a post as a trainee or an apprentice in an IAPT service.
This can be found on the local IAPT provider website, the NHS jobs website or the apprenticeship website.
Who provides PWP training courses?
The local IAPT provider, NHS centres or an academic course provider. There are trainee jobs or apprenticeships available, and supervisory roles for those who have been working as a PWP. PWPs tend to work and study at the same time before they are fully qualified.
What is PWP low-intensity training?
A PWP training course will look into low-intensity therapies for mental health problems like anxiety and depression. It also means fewer sessions and interventions, or the need for shorter face-to-face sessions.
The low-intensity PWP training is different to high-intensity therapists who have patients with OCD and PTSD.
What is Cognitive Behavioural Interventions?
Cognitive Behavioural Interventions are the tools PWPs use to support their patients. It’s a talking style therapy helping people manage their difficulties by changing the way they think and behave.
What is high-intensity PWP training?
This is highly specialised training. High-intensity therapies look at people with problems like obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). A large part of the role is to assess a person’s suitability for psychological interventions, implement treatment and evaluate the progress.
High-intensity PWP is specialised in comparison to PWP training, which looks at anxiety and depression mental health problems. This work is done by a high-intensity therapist and not by a PWP. However, PWP will work alongside high-intensity therapists at an IAPT provider or service.
Is there PWP supervisor training?
PWP supervision training can be offered once you’re qualified and have gained experience as a practitioner. Once you complete the further IAPT PWP supervisor training, you’ll be able to provide case management and supervision of clinical skills for other PWPs.
What are the entry requirements for PWP training?
The entry requirements for PWP training can vary. There is a level 6 apprenticeship for PWP training courses, which offers opportunities for people without a degree but useful life experience to become a psychological wellbeing practitioner. This also suits those who would like to make a career change and contribute to the local community.
To get onto an apprenticeship, you will need to apply for a position with an IAPT healthcare provider. Graduates or those who can demonstrate that they meet the academic requirements will sit the postgraduate level qualification. If English isn’t your first language, a 7.0 score on the IELTS test is required for most establishments.
Is there self-funded PWP training available?
No, there are no self-funded PWP training courses as entry needs to be through a PWP position in a local IAPT service. Employment as a trainee PWP is a prerequisite for applying to university courses related to the role.
How much is a PWP paid?
Most jobs in the National Health Service (NHS) are covered by the pay scale system for all staff except for doctors, dentists and senior managers.
Trainees and apprentices are appointed at band 4 on the pay scale and will work 37.5 hours per week. Once qualified after PWP training, you’d progress to a band 5 scale.
What are the career options with PWP training?
After receiving your qualifications and experience, you can apply for more senior positions at bands 6, 7 and 8a. These include additional management and leadership responsibilities, clinical specialism, or even IAPT PWP supervisor training, which is part of the management roles.
The role is constantly evolving, which increases opportunities for PWPs to progress and develop their career.