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New IAPT High-Intensity Psychotherapeutic Counselling Training Pilot

28 October 2021

An exciting new training pilot, launched by Health Education England (HEE), offers a three-year salaried and funded training pathway for 60 trainee psychotherapeutic counsellors to work in NHS Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) services to deliver specified IAPT services for adults with depression. This NHS training route will exist alongside and add to other existing routes for counsellors to enter and work in IAPT

The IAPT High-Intensity Psychotherapeutic Counsellor training pilot will support the NHS to expand access to a range of quality, evidence-based psychological therapies, as part of a wider programme to offer these interventions to an additional 380,000 adults and older people with common mental health problems by 2023/24, as set out in the NHS Long Term Plan.

Adrian Whittington, National Lead for Psychological Professions, Health Education England said:

“We are committed to all IAPT services offering a choice of therapies and this new pilot helps make this choice a reality for the public. The project will establish a new training path for the psychological professions, providing all of the training needed to work as a psychotherapeutic counsellor in IAPT services, fully funded by the NHS. This adds another fully funded route into work as a psychological professional, making this a more accessible career path.”.

Fiona Ballantine Dykes, Chief Professional Standards Officer and Deputy Chief Executive - British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy, said:

“This is a landmark moment in how counselling and psychotherapy is viewed by the NHS and in the plans to expand the adult IAPT workforce.

“The training course is a fantastic pathway and package of training that means counsellors will be able to enter the NHS much earlier in their careers. It really bridges a gap between achieving core counselling qualifications and paid employment for the NHS. It aligns with our commitment to equality, diversity and inclusion as well as with our campaign for equal status and paid employment.

“We’ve been pleased to be able to contribute to this work alongside and on behalf of all partners in the SCoPEd partnership in helping to develop the curriculum.”

Professor Sarah Niblock, Chief Executive - United Kingdom Council for Psychotherapy, said:

“This pilot is wonderful news for service users and the psychotherapeutic profession. It is a massive step forward, both in opening up access to our profession by creating a fully funded training pathway to becoming a psychotherapeutic counsellor, and in helping the NHS to further unlock the potential of the psychotherapy and counselling workforce.

“We are delighted that we have been able to work so successfully with HEE, NHSE/I, and our fellow professional bodies to reach this moment. As NHS psychological therapy services continue to expand in the coming years, we hope this program will lay down a marker for the inclusive and innovative ways in which we can grow the workforce.”

Kathy Spooner, CEO - Association of Christian Counsellors, said:

"This truly is a landmark for the counselling profession. We are thankful for the vision and commitment of those who have made this a reality.

“We look forward to seeing the benefits of this programme in terms of greater equality in the provision of counselling training and employment. We applaud also the expansion of the IAPT workforce within the NHS to meet the evident need for more mental health professionals."

Jyles Robillard-Day, Interim CEO - The National Counselling Society, said:

“We are really happy to have been involved in making this pilot project a reality. The pathway will provide a fully funded training route for counsellors to enter paid roles within the IAPT Services. We hope that the project will lead to more counselling roles being created within IAPT Services.”

The trainee High-Intensity Psychotherapeutic Counsellor posts will be advertised by individual IAPT services on the NHS jobs website and recruited jointly by IAPT services and education providers."