Sadieleigh95
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My dream job is to work for the NHS, providing cognitive behavioural therapy for people suffering from mental health problems.

I have just got a 2:1 BSc in Psychology and I am starting an MSc Psychology degree in September.

How can I become a CBT therapist?

What training courses do I need to do? How can I build up relevant experience to boost my career?

Do I need to become a PWP first?

Is there a route into CBT for graduates?

Any help appreciated!
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UniofReading
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(Original post by Sadieleigh95)
My dream job is to work for the NHS, providing cognitive behavioural therapy for people suffering from mental health problems.

I have just got a 2:1 BSc in Psychology and I am starting an MSc Psychology degree in September.

How can I become a CBT therapist?

What training courses do I need to do? How can I build up relevant experience to boost my career?

Do I need to become a PWP first?

Is there a route into CBT for graduates?

Any help appreciated!
Hi!

So this is informed by my current understanding, by working with various people in training, and I may have missed something, but this is what I know at this point!

To become a CBT Therapist (or High-Intensity CBT Therapist) you must get onto an NHS training course based at an NHS service (usually a job position - Trainee High Intensity CBT Therapist), which does a part learning, part placement course.
To access this, is what is most interesting, as there is no single best route to doing this, as it is accessible to lots of different entry ways.
One route is the PWP route as mentioned, as this builds up a lot of experience in a clinical environment, however you typically should do this for 2-3 post qualifying and requires some additional steps which the other route do not need, including the submission of a clinical portfolio, demonstrating your clinical competence!
Another route is directly from "core professions" such as social work, which you would have to work in before applying for a CBT training position. This does require additional training, however does sometimes require less direct paperwork than the PWP route!

So to summarise, there are many different route into a CBT training position, and hence there is no "easy" or "normal" route into it! I would suggest speaking with anyone you can about their experiences and how they applied etc, or contact workplaces directly!

I hope this helps,

Tom
Third Year Psychology and Student Ambassador
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localnatives
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Hi Sadie,

I'm a bit confused as to why you're doing a masters in psychology, you can just go straight onto a CBT course at university after an undergraduate psychology degree, that's what I'm going to do once I've got a bit more work experience under my belt, they are called Low Intensity IAPT courses and I'd go on one that is accredited too, most CBT job posts ask for the masters/postgrad in either low intensity or high intensity therapies. There might be other ways to get into a CBT therapist job but that seems the most common route, the low intensity courses involve placements so you basically start delivering your own CBT sessions to clients throughout the course while also doing coursework etc. Most of the accredited courses want someone with minimum second class degree & experience working in mental health & social care. But also I am just another student who has done a lot of research so I could be wrong and there could be other ways, I haven't spoken directly to anyone yet this is just what I've read online, I'm going to go to some open days to ask about the courses and find out a bit more.

Hope this helps! x

Clare
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marinade
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Is there a route in for graduates? Yes.

Postgraduate diploma/certificate (in some unis) in low intensity psychological interventions.

Tough interview. You usually got to uni for 1 day a week and work the other 4 days a week.

Usually need substantial - 2 years - 'clincal experience' to get on.

People who become PWPs usually build up experience at several charities and other organisations. Sort of thing might be nightline, societies at uni gets you a position at something like end of life charity, alzheimers, autism, mentoring in schools which gets you more 'direct' experience as an voluntary AP or some kind of other experience like Mencap or Mind or other charities. The MSc alone is unlikely to get you onto PWP, it's the experience that is more important.
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Nmys
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Hey, I'm in the exact same position as you. I entirely did not realise it was possible to go straight into CBT training from undergrad, but it's too late for me to back out now for the masters so I'm just gonna do it. However, having said that, a masters will give you really good knowledge and grounding in an area that will be of great use to you in the future, so it's not a waste.

As mentioned above, there are some funded CBT-IAPT trainee courses, where you study part time for the qualification and on a placement to work - I think they're called recruit to train programmes.

Experience wise, you can work as a support worker in a mental health institution, or if you can bag an AP post then that's even more perfect. I would suggest speaking to someone in your university careers service, and a lecturer or supervisor on your course, as well as programme administrators for these CBT courses in order to see what type of experience is needed and where you can get it.
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random_matt
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Best route is doing an assistant psychologist after UG, because the ones mentioned require experience. And then onto the IAPT course.
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marinade
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(Original post by Nmys)

Experience wise, you can work as a support worker in a mental health institution, or if you can bag an AP post then that's even more perfect. I would suggest speaking to someone in your university careers service, and a lecturer or supervisor on your course, as well as programme administrators for these CBT courses in order to see what type of experience is needed and where you can get it.
It's a good idea, but imagination and persistence is the key. People usually just suggest identical routes into stuff. If you look up on linkedin on how actual PWPs got there it's quite interesting and similar to real life PWPs I've met.

An MSc will open up a few more volunteering ideas/get you on some of the better volunteering experiences. Most MScs are very, very different skills from what they are looking at for particularly the low intensity pg dip.

Although I have to ask, if someone got on an AP, why would they want to be a PWP? PWP is **supposed** to be the new AP, although it's interesting some do one then the other both ways around.

You could just apply for a PWP, likely get an interview and then see where you're at. Most of the people I've known who have got on PWP have got on at 2nd/3rd attempt.
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Nmys
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(Original post by marinade)
It's a good idea, but imagination and persistence is the key. People usually just suggest identical routes into stuff. If you look up on linkedin on how actual PWPs got there it's quite interesting and similar to real life PWPs I've met.

An MSc will open up a few more volunteering ideas/get you on some of the better volunteering experiences. Most MScs are very, very different skills from what they are looking at for particularly the low intensity pg dip.

Although I have to ask, if someone got on an AP, why would they want to be a PWP? PWP is **supposed** to be the new AP, although it's interesting some do one then the other both ways around.

You could just apply for a PWP, likely get an interview and then see where you're at. Most of the people I've known who have got on PWP have got on at 2nd/3rd attempt.
I think the difference is, whilst being an AP gives you experience and the ability to administer therapy, it does not make you a qualified therapist, and you will always be under supervision and supporting the therapy team, not necesarrily being the therapist. However, being a PWP you are a therapist and can give low-intensity therapy to people in a variety of different settings, not just having a supporting role to the team. That's my understanding, and think people do AP before CBT training in order to have experience to get onto the course, and others may do CBT then AP to have experience of putting their new skills into practice under guidance before branching out into the world almost solo.
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marinade
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(Original post by Nmys)
I think the difference is, whilst being an AP gives you experience and the ability to administer therapy, it does not make you a qualified therapist, and you will always be under supervision and supporting the therapy team, not necesarrily being the therapist. However, being a PWP you are a therapist and can give low-intensity therapy to people in a variety of different settings, not just having a supporting role to the team. That's my understanding, and think people do AP before CBT training in order to have experience to get onto the course, and others may do CBT then AP to have experience of putting their new skills into practice under guidance before branching out into the world almost solo.
Seems a bit theoretical to me, but there you go it's peoples' lives and putting a lot of study time in so have to respect the choices of some very dedicated and hard working people.

I'd just worry when people get into IAPT (or various spin offs that different CCGs use for contracting out) on the low intensity side people might be quite frustrated with what they are actually doing and the reality of patients' views on IAPT 'low intensity'. Many (patients) don't even consider it 'therapy' or 'CBT'. Then there's the IAPT and CCGs politics and austerity cuts and having to deal with secondary issues and all that jazz.

I've definitely known a person be frustrated with AP, even as a paid one.
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Breeze95
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I don't have an answer to your question, sorry! However can I ask what GCSE's did you need to get this far on your career journey?
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Natashacroft158
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(Original post by UniofReading)
Hi!

So this is informed by my current understanding, by working with various people in training, and I may have missed something, but this is what I know at this point!

To become a CBT Therapist (or High-Intensity CBT Therapist) you must get onto an NHS training course based at an NHS service (usually a job position - Trainee High Intensity CBT Therapist), which does a part learning, part placement course.
To access this, is what is most interesting, as there is no single best route to doing this, as it is accessible to lots of different entry ways.
One route is the PWP route as mentioned, as this builds up a lot of experience in a clinical environment, however you typically should do this for 2-3 post qualifying and requires some additional steps which the other route do not need, including the submission of a clinical portfolio, demonstrating your clinical competence!
Another route is directly from "core professions" such as social work, which you would have to work in before applying for a CBT training position. This does require additional training, however does sometimes require less direct paperwork than the PWP route!

So to summarise, there are many different route into a CBT training position, and hence there is no "easy" or "normal" route into it! I would suggest speaking with anyone you can about their experiences and how they applied etc, or contact workplaces directly!

I hope this helps,

Tom
Third Year Psychology and Student Ambassador
Hi. I was hoping for advice on becoming a high intensity therapist / cbt therapist. I've done quite abit of research but really struggling to find any direct answers. My question is once qualified what are the prospects of getting a job as a high intensity therapist? I'm scared of committing only to find that I struggle in finding a job. Thanks
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Natashacroft158
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(Original post by UniofReading)
Hi!

So this is informed by my current understanding, by working with various people in training, and I may have missed something, but this is what I know at this point!

To become a CBT Therapist (or High-Intensity CBT Therapist) you must get onto an NHS training course based at an NHS service (usually a job position - Trainee High Intensity CBT Therapist), which does a part learning, part placement course.
To access this, is what is most interesting, as there is no single best route to doing this, as it is accessible to lots of different entry ways.
One route is the PWP route as mentioned, as this builds up a lot of experience in a clinical environment, however you typically should do this for 2-3 post qualifying and requires some additional steps which the other route do not need, including the submission of a clinical portfolio, demonstrating your clinical competence!
Another route is directly from "core professions" such as social work, which you would have to work in before applying for a CBT training position. This does require additional training, however does sometimes require less direct paperwork than the PWP route!

So to summarise, there are many different route into a CBT training position, and hence there is no "easy" or "normal" route into it! I would suggest speaking with anyone you can about their experiences and how they applied etc, or contact workplaces directly!

I hope this helps,

Tom
Third Year Psychology and Student Ambassador
Hi. I was hoping for advice on becoming a high intensity therapist / cbt therapist. I've done quite abit of research but really struggling to find any direct answers. My question is once qualified what are the prospects of getting a job as a high intensity therapist? I'm scared of committing only to find that I struggle in finding a job. Thanks
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Natashacroft158
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(Original post by localnatives)
Hi Sadie,

I'm a bit confused as to why you're doing a masters in psychology, you can just go straight onto a CBT course at university after an undergraduate psychology degree, that's what I'm going to do once I've got a bit more work experience under my belt, they are called Low Intensity IAPT courses and I'd go on one that is accredited too, most CBT job posts ask for the masters/postgrad in either low intensity or high intensity therapies. There might be other ways to get into a CBT therapist job but that seems the most common route, the low intensity courses involve placements so you basically start delivering your own CBT sessions to clients throughout the course while also doing coursework etc. Most of the accredited courses want someone with minimum second class degree & experience working in mental health & social care. But also I am just another student who has done a lot of research so I could be wrong and there could be other ways, I haven't spoken directly to anyone yet this is just what I've read online, I'm going to go to some open days to ask about the courses and find out a bit more.

Hope this helps! x

Clare
Hi. I was hoping for advice on becoming a high intensity therapist / cbt therapist. I've done quite abit of research but really struggling to find any direct answers. My question is once qualified what are the prospects of getting a job as a high intensity therapist? I'm scared of committing only to find that I struggle in finding a job. Thanks
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A Arias
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Hi! I did undergrad and then MSc in psychology, then a CBT course on SDS Seminars alongside clinical volunteer work for Anxiety UK, now am applying for BABCP accreditation by submitting a KSA application.... hope that helps!
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madboo
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(Original post by localnatives)
Hi Sadie,

I'm a bit confused as to why you're doing a masters in psychology, you can just go straight onto a CBT course at university after an undergraduate psychology degree, that's what I'm going to do once I've got a bit more work experience under my belt, they are called Low Intensity IAPT courses and I'd go on one that is accredited too, most CBT job posts ask for the masters/postgrad in either low intensity or high intensity therapies. There might be other ways to get into a CBT therapist job but that seems the most common route, the low intensity courses involve placements so you basically start delivering your own CBT sessions to clients throughout the course while also doing coursework etc. Most of the accredited courses want someone with minimum second class degree & experience working in mental health & social care. But also I am just another student who has done a lot of research so I could be wrong and there could be other ways, I haven't spoken directly to anyone yet this is just what I've read online, I'm going to go to some open days to ask about the courses and find out a bit more.

Hope this helps! x

Clare
I've just finished my 3rd year of psychology and am starting my MSc in September

While you can go into a CBT course straight from undergrad, from my understanding (and universities I've emailed/ spoken to) you need to already be employed as a trainee in an IAPT service to access the CBT course, it's not as simple as just applying to a university (believe me I've tried).
You apply to the university through the NHS service and these IAPT jobs are really competitive unfortunately.

I began applying to one university and then emailed to ask:
'Is there any point me continuing with my application as I do not already hold the trainee position?'

This is the response I received:

'With regards to the application then we would not process any of these until we have completed recruitment of those who have applied for a trainee position (please see attached sheet, route 1), if we then still have capacity then we consider self-funded students. This process will not happen now until July at the earliest.

Therefore masters degrees can be super useful if you don't have the experience to get an IAPT role, mine has 5 months clinical placement where I'll be doing assessments on a psychosis ward, which will give me experience and hopefully give me an edge when applying for future jobs!

Sorry for the long reply, hope I've been at all helpful, it's just such a competitive field and a Masters will only ever help!
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A Arias
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(Original post by madboo)
I've just finished my 3rd year of psychology and am starting my MSc in September

While you can go into a CBT course straight from undergrad, from my understanding (and universities I've emailed/ spoken to) you need to already be employed as a trainee in an IAPT service to access the CBT course, it's not as simple as just applying to a university (believe me I've tried).
You apply to the university through the NHS service and these IAPT jobs are really competitive unfortunately.

I began applying to one university and then emailed to ask:
'Is there any point me continuing with my application as I do not already hold the trainee position?'

This is the response I received:

'With regards to the application then we would not process any of these until we have completed recruitment of those who have applied for a trainee position (please see attached sheet, route 1), if we then still have capacity then we consider self-funded students. This process will not happen now until July at the earliest.

Therefore masters degrees can be super useful if you don't have the experience to get an IAPT role, mine has 5 months clinical placement where I'll be doing assessments on a psychosis ward, which will give me experience and hopefully give me an edge when applying for future jobs!

Sorry for the long reply, hope I've been at all helpful, it's just such a competitive field and a Masters will only ever help!
Well done! It sounds like you are really committed and doing everything you can to achieve your goals. The MSc sounds very interesting but make sure before you commit that they will be arranging said placement as I enrolled on my MSc thinking that would be the case, but unfortunately it’s down to you to find the placement and the roles signposted to you by the university were mainly support worker or teaching assistant type posts. I empathise as it has not been an easy path for me either. May I again suggest an organisation such as Anxiety UK which run trainee therapist schemes to enable students to access clinical experience? That was the solution in my case alongside a CBT course... good luck and don’t give up!
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madboo
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(Original post by A Arias)
Well done! It sounds like you are really committed and doing everything you can to achieve your goals. The MSc sounds very interesting but make sure before you commit that they will be arranging said placement as I enrolled on my MSc thinking that would be the case, but unfortunately it’s down to you to find the placement and the roles signposted to you by the university were mainly support worker or teaching assistant type posts. I empathise as it has not been an easy path for me either. May I again suggest an organisation such as Anxiety UK which run trainee therapist schemes to enable students to access clinical experience? That was the solution in my case alongside a CBT course... good luck and don’t give up!
Thank you! I had a similar concern about the placement but the course is super small (35 people), and having spoken to previous students and staff they explained that you speak to your personal tutor and explain your interests and experience (for example CAMH) and they then match you to an NHS ward. Every student gets guaranteed placement in South London and Maudsley Hospital according to the previous student I spoke to, however I'm not sure how Covid will affect this :/. Thanks for recommending Anxiety UK, I'll bear it in mind! Good luck to you too!
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DeepStar
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(Original post by Natashacroft158)
Hi. I was hoping for advice on becoming a high intensity therapist / cbt therapist. I've done quite abit of research but really struggling to find any direct answers. My question is once qualified what are the prospects of getting a job as a high intensity therapist? I'm scared of committing only to find that I struggle in finding a job. Thanks
Once qualified CBT jobs are quite common depending on where you live so you shouldn't worry too much about this if it is the career you'd like. There are also opportunities via locum work which is usually paid better the NHS roles.

OP - like everyone else has said there are many routes in to the CBT world and the IAPT training is extremely competitive at low and high intensity levels. Whilst qualifications will tick the essential criteria box, you will also need to focus on getting relevant experience that exposes you to clients/risk ideally in primary care and in a role that shows you can use skills to support/manage a caseload. I'd also focus on ensuring your application delivers on the job spec as often this is the first pitfall of many that apply.
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