Low Intensity Cognitive Behavioural Interventions Postgraduate Certificate

Chandler House

This certificate provides the formal training required as part of a student's employment within an Increasing Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) service. Students on this programme will secure a placement working as a trainee Psychological Wellbeing Practitioner (PWP) delivering low intensity cognitive behavioural interventions.

Start date:
There are intakes each academic year starting September/October
Duration:  Full-time 9 months
Tuition Fees: 

UK/EU 2013/14: Students are not able to self fund. See Application section. (FT)

Overseas 2013/14: Students are not able to self fund. See Application section. (FT)


Objectives and Outcomes

Trainees on this programme will gain the knowledge necessary for providing low intensity interventions for clients with mild to moderate depression and anxiety in their primary healthcare work setting, together with the clinical skills essential to assess and engage clients, and to deliver interventions within a guided self-help model.

Why Study at UCL?

The UCL course is run and taught by experienced practitioners in the field, and therefore a balance is achieved between the teaching of the theoretical knowledge needed and the practical skills necessary in training as a Psychological Wellbeing Practitioners (PWP).

Students will receive employment and practical experience in an Improving Access to Psychological Therapies Service alongside this formal training needed in order to become a qualified Psychological Wellbeing Practitioner.

Who is the programme for?

Applicants are required to have worked with people who have experienced mental health problems, and have a broad understanding of mental health issues and the primary care context. Applicants should also have good communication skills, and the ability to use clinical supervision and personal development positively and effectively.


Students undertake modules to the value of 60 credits. The programme consists of three core modules (20 credits each) which are based on the Richards and Whyte (2011) Reach Out National Curriculum for Low Intensity Interventions.

Teaching and Assessment

The programme is delivered through a combination of lectures, workshops, skills practice, clinical seminar skills groups, directed reading and e-learning. Assessments are through a combination of written and oral assignments. Written assignments include an examination, case reports, and reflective accounts. Oral assignments are role-play client sessions and supervision sessions.


Not Applicable.

The course is modular. All modules are compulsory, and the module titles are listed below.

· Recognition: Engagement and Assessment of Patients with Common Mental Health Problems

· Recovery: Evidence-based Low-Intensity Treatment for Common Mental Health Disorders

· Respect and Reflection: Diversity and Context in Low Intensity-Working

This programme is 45 days in total: 25 are University-based and an additional 20 days are spent in directed study. The course is delivered one day a week, over 3 terms. It incorporates a variety of teaching methods including workshops, skills practice, clinical seminar skills groups, directed reading and e-learning.

The course starts with an intensive block at the start of the course, introducing trainees to the LI course, IAPT and Low Intensity work within a stepped care and primary health care context. Intensive skills days aim to equip trainees with an understanding of depression and anxiety, and the clinical skills essential to assess and engage clients, and to deliver low intensity interventions within a guided self help model. Subsequent course days continue to teach low intensity interventions and the contextual factors associated with their delivery. These include working with diversity and applications to different client groups, the impact of high volume low intensity working and using supervision to support this. Teaching in smaller seminar groups provides an opportunity to integrate and apply learning to clinical cases. Trainees present clinical cases on a rotating basis for group discussion around a particular clinical theme.


The assessments are a combination of written and oral assignments in each module. Written assignments include an exam, essay, case reports, reflective accounts and clinical logs. Oral assignments are recordings of client sessions. All assessments need to be passed and contribute to the award of the Diploma.


Entry Requirements

Applicants for a UCL graduate programme are normally expected to hold at least a 2.2 in a UK undergraduate degree (or equivalent overseas qualification). Overseas applicants also need to provide evidence of proficiency in English. 

In addition, applicants for this programme are required to have:

· evidence of working with people who have experienced a mental health problem

· excellent written and verbal communication skills

· a broad understanding of mental health issues and the primary care context.

· good organisational and computer skills: word processing and data processing.

· the ability to use clinical supervision and personal development positively and effectively.

Deadline for Applications

Entry to this programme is through employment with an IAPT site. Positions are co-ordinated centrally and application is via UCL Admissions only.

Application Process
Apply here http://www.ucl.ac.uk/prospective-students/graduate/degrees/taught/tcppsyslcb01


The Postgraduate Certificate is the formal training required as part of the student's employment as an IAPT Psychological Wellbeing Practitioner. Trainee PWPs are appointed at band 4 and upon successful completion of the programme will move to being qualified PWPs. It is anticipated that trainees will stay in these positions after completing the programme working as a qualified PWP in an IAPT service.

For further details, please visit the NHS Careers website: www.nhscareers.nhs.uk/psychological-therapies.shtml

Options for career development beyond the PWP role  include progression to become a  Senior PWP, or to pursue a career in related fields such as IAPT high intensity therapy, nursing, teaching, social work and clinical psychology.


Department:  Division of Psychology and Language Sciences
Contact Email: iaptadmin@ucl.ac.uk


Joint Programme Directors

Professor Stephen Pilling

Stephen Pilling is the Director of the British Psychological Society’s Centre for Outcomes Research and Effectiveness (CORE) based in the Research Department of Clinical Education and Health Psychology, University College London where his focus is on health service research including clinical trials in schizophrenia and depression, in particular low intensity interventions. He developed with Tony Roth the CBT competence framework which contributed to the IAPT training syllabus on which this course is based. He is also the Joint Director of the National Collaborating Centre for Mental Health (NCCMH), which is responsible for developing the mental health clinical practice guideline for NICE guidelines, and is a partnership between the Royal College of Psychiatrists and the British Psychological Society. He works as Consultant Clinical Psychologist for Camden and Islington Foundation Trust.

Dr Rachel Newman

Rachel Newman is Joint Programme Director of the Low Intensity Course at UCL and is a Consultant Clinical Psychologist. Until 2011, she was additionally the Service Lead for the Primary Care Mental Health Service in Islington until moving to focus on the IAPT courses. She had a leading role in the development of supervision, management and training of primary care mental health workers in Islington, and in the development of low intensity interventions locally. She has considerable experience in cognitive behavioural therapy having completed a post graduate diploma in CBT at Royal Holloway. At UCL she has contributed to the work on developing core competencies in CBT with Stephen Pilling and Tony Roth, using this as a basis to develop and deliver a one year postgraduate course in CBT at UCL for psychologists working in Camden & Islington. She sits on the BPS PWP Accreditation Committee and is an External Examiner for an IAPT High Intensity Course.


What kind of background do you look for in a successful candidate? 

Successful candidates should be educated to degree or equivalent level. This does not need to be a psychology degree. Students should have acquired relevant work experience with people with mental health difficulties. This can be in a health care setting as a health care or nursing assistant, psychology or research assistant; or in a voluntary sector setting e.g. support worker.

How long is the course?

The course runs over an academic year, starting in September/October.

How demanding is the course?

You will be required to do reading around the lectures and to prepare for seminar groups each week. As you will be working full time with time allocated to attend the course, you will need to manage and organise your time well especially to meet course deadlines. Study time is included in term time and in term breaks to help you achieve this.

How does the course fit in with my employment? (i.e. hours etc)

The course is a day a week and attendance at all sessions is compulsory. You will be give the time to attend the course days by your manager. Clinical cases for recordings and case reports will be supplied by your clinical work.

Is this a full time course or is there a part time option available?

This is a full time course in conjunction with full time employment and is not available to be studied for part time.

Do I have to pay for the course myself?

Places on this programme are funded by NHS Education Commissioning and are joint appointments with a NHS IAPT Service only. There is no route for self-funding.


“The great thing about the course is that we can apply what we learn directly in our daily practice and it better enables us to help clients overcome their difficulties.  It’s exciting to be part of the IAPT initiative and exchange my experience with trainees from other London boroughs both informally and formally in group supervision”. 

2008-09 IAPT student

Recognition Module

"I will take away with me how to conduct a thorough assessment and to adequately assess for risk. I first learnt how to conduct an assessment and then I could build on these skills with the Low Intensity work covered later in the course."

2010-11 IAPT student

"The whole Recognition module was very helpful. I’m still making use of the handouts on Motivational Interviewing techniques, alcohol, and relapse prevention in my daily practice."

2010-11 IAPT student

"I learned a skill which I will have for life."

2010-11 IAPT student

Recovery Module

"The Recovery module was a really helpful module, covering the ways in which Low Intensity interventions can be offered for various disorders. Knowing the factual information really helped with offering the basis for clients."

2010-11 IAPT student

"Having specialist external speakers come in to lecture on the course was really valuable; the medication management lecture with the doctor in particular was fantastic as it improved my knowledge about medication."

2010-11 IAPT student

Respect Module

"I found all the Respect lectures helpful, I learnt a lot about how to treat people fairly and respectfully, and how to be mindful of other peoples culture, language barriers etc. It was interesting to hear the perspective of a service user and know how to meet their needs."

2010-11 IAPT student

"The respect lectures were all very interesting. They helped you see things from a different perspective not just as a Psychological Wellbeing Practitioner."

2010-11 IAPT student

Reflection Module

"How to develop a problem statement in a succinct way is something that I will take away from the reflection module and use in every formulation."

2010-11 IAPT student

“I learnt how to construct a Problem Statement Summary collaboratively with the patient. My skills developed around working collaboratively with people and empowering them towards their recovery.”

2010-11 IAPT student