Engagement and Assessment of Patients with Common Mental Health Problems

The details
Health and Social Care (School of)
Colchester Campus
Postgraduate: Level 7
Monday 16 September 2019
Friday 13 December 2019
03 September 2019


Requisites for this module



Key module for

CER B94009 Psychological Well-Being Practitioner (Low Intensity)

Module description

This module is one part of a three module Post Graduate Certificate in Psychological Wellbeing Practitioner (Low Intensity) Interventions. The role of the Psychological Wellbeing Practitioner (PWP) has been developed since 2007 alongside the Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) programme (www.iapt.nhs.uk) . PWPs work at high volume (high caseloads) with people experiencing depression and/or anxiety at Step 2 in Primary Care mental health settings offering evidence based low intensity, guided self-help interventions.
On successful completion of this course PWPs meet criteria to register with the British Psychological Society (BPS) as an accredited practitioner and would be eligible to begin the accreditation process with the British Association for Behavioural and Cognitive Psychotherapies (BABCP).

Module aims

Psychological wellbeing practitioners delivering low intensity interventions assess and support people in primary care settings who are experiencing common mental health problems in the self management of their recovery. To do so, they must be able to undertake screening assessments and a full patient-centred interview which identifies both the person’s main difficulties and areas where the person wishes to see change and / or recovery, and which makes an accurate assessment of the risk the person poses to self or others. Psychological wellbeing practitioners need to be able to engage patients and establish a therapeutic alliance while gathering information to begin assisting the patient to choose and plan a collaborative treatment programme. They must have knowledge of mental health disorders, behaviour change processes and the evidence-based therapeutic options available, and be able to communicate this knowledge in a clear and unambiguous way so that people can make informed treatment choices. This module will, therefore, equip workers with a good understanding of the incidence, prevalence and presentation of common mental health problems, and of evidence-based treatment choices recognising the individual needs of patients as central to this.
Skills teaching will develop workers’ core ‘common factors’ competences of active listening, engagement, alliance building, patient-centred information gathering, information giving and shared decision making.

Module learning outcomes

On successful completion of this module, the student will be able to:

1. Demonstrate knowledge, understanding and critical awareness of concepts of mental health and mental illness, diagnostic category systems in mental health and a range of social, medical and psychological explanatory models.

2. Demonstrate critical awareness, and competence in applying the principles, purposes and different types of assessment undertaken with people with common mental health problems.

3. Demonstrate synthesis understanding of and interactive competences in using ‘common factors’ to engage patients, gather information, build therapeutic alliances, manage the emotional content of sessions and grasp the patient’s perspective or world view

4. Demonstrate critical awareness of and competence in patient-centred information gathering to arrive at a succinct and collaborative definition of the patient’s main mental health difficulties and the impact these have on their daily living

5. Demonstrate a critical understanding of and competence in recognising patterns of symptoms consistent with diagnostic categories of mental disorder from a patient-centred interview.

6. Demonstrate integrated knowledge of and competence in recognition and accurate assessment of the risk posed by patient to themselves or others.

7. Demonstrate synthesis knowledge of and competence in the use of standardised symptom assessment tools and other psychometric instruments to aid problem recognition and definition and subsequent decision making.

8. Demonstrate a critical appreciation of the knowledge, understanding and competence in using behaviour change models in identifying intervention goals and choice of appropriate interventions.

9. Demonstrate critically analytic understanding of and competence in giving evidence-based information about treatment choices and in making shared decisions with patients.

10. Demonstrate reflexive understanding of the patient’s attitude to a range of mental health treatments, including prescribed medication and evidence based psychological treatments.

11. Demonstrate full competence in accurate recording of interview and questionnaire assessments using paper and electronic record-keeping systems.

Practice Outcomes

1. Demonstrates competency in undertaking and recording a range of assessment formats. This should include both triage and problem focused assessments.
2. Demonstrates experience and competence in the assessment of presenting problems across a range of indicative diagnoses including depression and two or more anxiety disorders.
3. Demonstrates the common factor competencies necessary to engage patients across the range of assessment formats

Module information

This module will be taught by clinical practitioners and University Staff with expertise in the field of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy and Psychological Wellbeing Practice. Where appropriate, outside speakers with specific skills will be utilised.
The basic structure of this module is a 30:70 split between lectures and practical skills development. Role plays are extensively used as the main tool for skills development. Skills staffing is at a minimum 1:8 level to allow ample feedback and developmental process during the 50% skills allocation and to meet BPS expectations.

Learning and teaching methods

Knowledge will be learnt through a combination of lectures, seminars, discussion groups, guided reading and independent study. Skills-based competencies will be learnt through a combination of clinical simulation in small groups working intensively under close supervision with peer and tutor feedback, and supervised practice through supervised direct contact with patients in the workplace. There is a heavy focus on practical skills development within this module. Each session is roughly split in a 30% lecture to 70% skills practice ratio. Generally students will receive a one hour lecture followed by 2 hours skills development, which focuses on the learning from the earlier teaching.


  • (no date) Depression in Adults (update) Depression: the treatment and management of depression in adults: NICE.
  • Papworth, Mark; Marrinan, Theresa. (2018) Low intensity cognitive behaviour therapy: a practitioner's guide, Los Angeles: SAGE.
  • Kahn, Robert L.; Cannell, Charles F. (1957) The dynamics of interviewing: theory, technique, and cases, New York: Wiley.
  • (no date) Reach Out - National Programme Student Materials to Support the Delivery of Training for Psychological Wellbeing Practitioners Delivering Low Intensity Interventions.

The above list is indicative of the essential reading for the course. The library makes provision for all reading list items, with digital provision where possible, and these resources are shared between students. Further reading can be obtained from this module's reading list.

Assessment items, weightings and deadlines

Coursework / exam Description Deadline Weighting
Coursework HS932 Portfolio
Coursework HS932 Portfolio Resubmission
Coursework HS932 Reflection 100%
Coursework HS932 Reflection Resubmission
Practical HS932 OSCE Feedback
Practical HS932 OSCE Resubmission Feedback

Overall assessment

Coursework Exam
100% 0%


Coursework Exam
100% 0%
Module supervisor and teaching staff
Jason Matthews, Julie Puttock
E: hhsiapt@essex.ac.uk



External examiner

Ms Faye Small
The University of Exeter
Programme Lead and Lecturer
Miss Anna Pruszynska
University of Manchester
Available via Moodle
Of 201 hours, 79 (39.3%) hours available to students:
122 hours not recorded due to service coverage or fault;
0 hours not recorded due to opt-out by lecturer(s).


Further information

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