Evidence-based low-intensity treatment for common mental health disorders

The details
Health and Social Care (School of)
Colchester Campus
Postgraduate: Level 7
Monday 20 April 2020
Friday 26 June 2020
03 September 2019


Requisites for this module



Key module for

CER B940JS Psychological Well-Being Practitioner (Low Intensity)

Module description

This module is one part of a three module Post Graduate Certificate in Psychological Wellbeing Practitioner 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 with common mental health problems in the self-management of their recovery.
This module forms the second part of the programme of study and introduces students to concepts of evidence-based interventions. Students will explore the range of treatments and the evidence supporting the use of such treatments as delivered within the IAPT’s national curriculum processes. In particular the programme includes a thorough grounding in the research base and the practice processes for a range of cognitive behavioural self-help processes and behaviour change processes designed to increase health related behaviour such as exercise and medication concordance
The module continues to build on existing ‘common factors’ competences of active listening, engagement, alliance building, patient-centred information gathering, information giving and shared decision making. Allowing student to develop the fundamental skills associated with their coaching role.

Module learning outcomes

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

1. Critically evaluate a range of evidence-based interventions and strategies to assist patients manage their emotional distress and disturbance.

2. Demonstrate critically analytic knowledge of and competence in developing and maintaining a therapeutic alliance with patients during their treatment programme, including dealing with issues and events that threaten the alliance.

3. Demonstrate reflective awareness and competence in planning a collaborative low intensity psychological and/or pharmacological treatment programme for common mental health problems, including managing the ending of the contact.

4. Demonstrate in-depth critical understanding of, and competence in the use of, a range of, low-intensity, evidence based psychological interventions for common mental health problems.

5. Demonstrate critical awareness and understanding of, and competence in using behaviour change models and strategies in the delivery of low-intensity interventions.

6. Critically evaluate the role of case-management and stepped-care approaches to managing common mental health problems in primary care, including ongoing risk management appropriate to service protocols.

7. Demonstrate integrated knowledge, synthesis understanding and competence in supporting people with medication, for common mental health disorders to help them optimise their use of pharmacological treatment and minimise any adverse effects.

8. Demonstrate critical understanding, competency and flexibility in delivering low-intensity interventions using a range of methods including face-to-face, telephone and electronic communication.

Practice Outcome (Portfolio)

1. Demonstrates experience and competence in the selection and delivery of treatment for a range of presenting problems using evidence based low intensity interventions across a range of problem descriptor including depression and two or more anxiety disorders
2. Demonstrates the ability to use common factor competencies to manage emotional distress and maintain therapeutic alliances to support patients using low-intensity interventions
3. Demonstrates high quality case recording and systematic evaluation of the process and outcomes of mental health interventions, adapting care on the basis of these evaluations

Module information

This module will be taught by clinical practitioners in the field of Cognitive Behavioural Practice and Psychological Wellbeing Practice. Where appropriate, outside speakers with specific skills will be utilised.
The basic structure of this module is a 50;50 split between lectures and practical skills development. Role plays are extensively used as the main tool for skills development.

Learning and teaching methods

Twenty-one days in total over 11 weeks, two 4 day intensive skills practice undertaken in intensive workshops. 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. Learning support Problem based learning material, resource files, lecture notes, guided reading, and extended Moodle materials Assessment tasks 1. formative therapy tape of a CBT assessment session (student and supervisor rated) 2. summative therapy session of a CBT assessment session (student and supervisor rated) including 1000 word reflective account 3. objective structured clinical examinations (OSCE) involving role play assessments focusing on CBT skills of a client experiencing anxiety 4. Case Study of a client with an anxiety problem including brief literature review (4000 words)


  • Marrinan, Theresa. (©2019) Low intensity cognitive behaviour therapy: a practitioner's guide, London: SAGE.
  • Depression: The Treatment and Management of Depression in Adults (Updated Edition) - PubMed - NCBI, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22132433
  • Richards, D; Whyte, M. (no date) Reach Out - National Programme Student Materials to Support the Delivery of Training for Psychological Wellbeing Practitioners Delivering Low Intensity Interventions’ (3rd Edition).
  • Lovell, K; Richards, D. (no date) ‘A recovery programme for depression’.

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 HS933 Portfolio
Coursework HS933 Portfolio Re-Submission
Coursework HS933 Reflection 22/07/2020 100%
Coursework HS933 Reflection Re-Submission 16/09/2020
Practical HS933 Audio Recording
Practical HS933 Audio Recording Re-submission

Overall assessment

Coursework Exam
100% 0%


Coursework Exam
100% 0%
Module supervisor and teaching staff
Rachael Parsons, Julie Puttock, Jason Matthews
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 155 hours, 73 (47.1%) hours available to students:
82 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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