I have always enjoyed listening to people’s stories but wished I had the tools to help.
At 16, I worked as a cleaner in a local laundrette. Every week people would come in and disclose to me what was happening in their lives.
Since then, I wanted to find a role that allowed me to help people in a way that also empowered them.
Working as a Psychological Wellbeing Practitioner (PWP) has allowed me to do this.
As a PWP, I provide low intensity cognitive behavioural-based interventions to people experiencing common mental health issues.
The role is important as clients can set their own goals that they want to work towards, for example being able to go to the local shop without having a panic attack or to increase their motivation.
I work with people at many different points in their mental health journey, some have had therapy before and for some it can be the first time they are speaking about what they are going through.
Whatever point they are at; I hope to provide each client with a safe space to work on themselves and to feel listened to.
As a PWP I work within step two of the stepped care model. Therefore I work closely with practitioners at other steps in this model, such as high Intensity therapists and counsellors.
PWPs are the main providers of psychological therapy for adults experiencing common mental health issues in England and provide present-focused and evidence-based therapy in short interventions.
The role is constantly evolving with new evidence and guidance.
At step two, a wide variety of treatment modalities are offered in order to meet the needs of the clients accessing the service.
The role usually offers telephone therapy, online therapy, computerised CBT programmes, group therapy, and face-to-face work.
At the present, the majority of my work is remote. This involves conducting sessions online and via telephone.
Although I am still doing face-to-face appointments, these are typically with clients who are unable to work remotely due to additional needs.
Despite working remotely, the day is always different.
I can be working with a client who is experiencing a phobia at 9am, and a client who has OCD with intrusive thoughts at 10am.
This variation helps whilst working remotely and always keeps the day diverse.
While the fast-paced nature of the job and the high caseload can be challenging, getting to work with such a diverse range of individuals is a privilege and something I do not take for granted.
Every person I work with is unique and I have learned something new from every client I have worked with, and I hope they have learned something from me.
- Robin Coakley (PWP)
What is a PWP?
Psychological Wellbeing Practitioners (PWPs) are trained to assess and support people who are experiencing common mental health problems - primarily anxiety disorders and depression – in the self-management of their recovery.
PWPs do this through the provision of information and using a range of low-intensity, evidence-based interventions, mainly informed by cognitive-behavioural principles.
Treatment can be delivered on the telephone, online or through face-to-face sessions, and PWPs normally operate within a stepped care service delivery model, such as Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) services in England.
Stepped care operates on the principle of offering the least intrusive most effective treatment in the first instance; patients can then be ‘stepped up’ to a more intensive treatment if required
In the IAPT service delivery model, PWPs provide care at ‘step 2’ of the stepped care model supporting low-intensity interventions alongside high-intensity workers and other clinicians delivering cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) and other evidence-based ‘step 3’ treatments.
The BPS is the accrediting body for PWP training in the UK. The society designed the accreditation process for PWP training on behalf of the national IAPT programme in 2008.
Accreditation provides quality assurance and oversight of the training route, including the apprenticeship training route which must be accredited by the BPS.
PWP training was approved for delivery as an apprenticeship in March 2019.
In August 2020, the BPS was approved by the Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education as an End-Point Assessment Organisation set up under BPS Assessment and Awards Limited.
The first apprenticeship that the organisation will be offering end-point assessment services for is the Level 6 PWP apprenticeship, assessing apprentices who have completed at least a 12-month apprenticeship programme, and are ready for their end-point assessment to complete their apprenticeship.
If you’re an employer or training provider and interested in finding out more, please get in touch with Tracey Kinsley at [email protected]