About the course
Recognition of the personal and social cost of unmet mental health need within primary care has led to a government-supported initiative to broaden access to psychological therapies, introducing the cutting-edge role of psychological wellbeing practitioners. This brings evidence-based cognitive behavioural treatments to all people who experience mild to moderate depression or anxiety.
You can study Psychological Wellbeing Practice (PWP) with us at one of two levels. Our Graduate Certificate is relevant for those without an undergraduate degree, and our Postgraduate Certificate is relevant for those who already have an undergraduate degree.
Our certificates in PWP enable you to work with people who experience common mental health problems. You will learn to use a range of protocols derived from the best evidence based practice methodologies available. The protocols are drawn from cognitive behavioural theory and utilise self-help processes to empower patients to take control of their own wellbeing needs.
You will learn the coaching and facilitation skills necessary to support this kind of self-help process and receive a full grounding in the theory underpinning these approaches. You will also learn about the service structure underpinning the IAPT initiative which you will be working in during your training.
The University of Essex has a robust academic tradition and achieves regular high levels of student satisfaction. We continue to work with students, service users and practice partners to continue to improve this established track record.
Our course is fully accredited by the British Psychological Society (BPS) and it meets the national curriculum guidelines allowing you on successful graduation to establish yourself as a psychological wellbeing practitioner who could work in any service.
It will also allow you to apply for accreditation with the British Association of Behavioural and Cognitive Psychotherapies (BABCP).
Our expert staff
A unique feature of our school is the strong relationship with our practice partners. Presently over half of our teaching team also work as senior psychological wellbeing practitioners in local services and all of our taught sessions include the input of at least one of our practitioner lecturers.
This strong integration of learning, theory and practice allows genuine personal development and skills acquisition to be grounded in the practice arena.
As part of the University, you have access to our state-of-the-art library and the very latest equipment and IT facilities to assist you with the effective learning and acquisition of new skills. As a School, we have purpose built facilities where you can meet to discuss your progress and ongoing work.
Our staff offer approachable support at all levels. Our university student support network can also offer you help with personal and study issues during your time with us.
You also have access to an excellent theatre and sports and social club experiences at Essex.
Following training, it is usual for your employing organisation to continue your employment at Band 5. This acknowledges your qualified status. To this point all successful trainees have achieved employment within their training organisation.
PWPs may also go on to achieve senior PWP status and role after a number of years. You may also choose to extend your role into one of the new developing areas in IAPT; opportunities also exist for a small number of PWPs to become more involved in education of new practitioners. Generally PWPs stay within the role deepening their skills and competencies.
Other career development areas may be available in your particular Improving Access to Psychological Therapies services.
As a Graduate Certificate this programme runs over a 9 month period and consists of 4 modules at 15 credits awarding a Graduate Certificate upon successful completion.
These carefully selected modules will give you the chance to explore, question, and create powerful ideas. Picked to give you an extensive and in-depth education, they’ll equip you with the specialist knowledge, vital transferrable skills, and the confidence to make a genuine difference to the world around you.
We’re reactive, we’re pioneering, we never stand still, so modules might change from year to year in response to new developments and innovation. Those listed below show how a typical course might look, but more detail on course structure, including details of all optional modules, is available on our Programme Specification.
This module introduces the concepts of service user engagement. It uses comprehensive main problem and risk assessment of service users with common mental health problems. You will have the opportunity to explore current evidence-based treatments for such problems and the appropriate use of such interventions.
This module introduces you to concepts of evidence-based care. You will explore a range of treatments, and the evidence supporting the use of such treatments, across a range of areas pertinent to low-intensity approaches.
On this module, you will be introduced to the concepts of diversity expected to be seen in the kinds of people presenting to a clinical service. You will be expected to understand the impact diversity has, and the relationship with your own values.
- We have a range of video and virtual learning materials to support your learning with us
- Moodle offers a virtual platform to support your learning both in University and whilst on placement
- Extensive experiential exercises and direct feedback from our teaching team make up two-thirds of the attendance work during the learning process
- You will have 1 day a week on campus and 1 day a week completing set university tasks in your practice environment, with the remaining 3 days spent working in practice
- Each module is assessed through an Objective Structured Clinical Examination (OSCE), a reflection on practice OSCE, and a written examination
- Your employing supervisor will work with you to ensure you are meeting practice outcomes associated with the course, and they will assess your progress on a regular basis
UK entry requirements
A relevant first degree, or equivalent, eg professional experience and responsibility
Current registration with a relevant professional regulatory body
Work in area where students are gaining practice experience relevant to their registration
Have normally completed at least 3 years post registration experience and gained additional professional knowledge and skills
International and EU entry requirements
We accept a wide range of qualifications from applicants studying in the EU and other countries.
for further details about the qualifications we accept. Include information in your email about the
undergraduate qualification you have already completed or are currently taking.
English language requirements
IELTS 7.0 with a minimum component of 5.5
If you do not meet our IELTS requirements then you may be able to complete a pre-sessional English pathway that enables you to start your course without retaking IELTS.
You must be working within an IAPT service as a trainee psychological wellbeing practitioner. Employers advertise these roles on NHS jobs and also, as many providers are now voluntary or independent sector, through national media.
We work closely with these organisations and we usually form part of their interview selection panels. This ensures that your suitability for training as part of the employment selection process. Following a successful employment interview you will be asked to complete a University of Essex application form. If there is no University representative at your interview, you will need to attend an independent interview to assess your suitability for training.
We are currently unable to accept self-funding students on these programmes at this time.
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Applicant Days and interviews
If you’re a resident in the UK and make an application to this course and are subsequently made an offer, we’ll invite you to one of our Applicant Days. You’ll be able to pick from a selection of dates and visit us between January and April. You’ll have a chance to explore the campus, meet our students, and get a feel for life as an Essex student.
Some of our courses hold interviews and if you’re invited to one, this will take place during your Applicant Day. Don’t panic, they’re nothing to worry about and it’s a great way for us to find out more about you and for you to find out more about the course. Some of our interviews are one-to-one with an academic, others are group activities, but we’ll send you all the information you need beforehand.
If you’re outside the UK and are planning a trip, feel free to email email@example.com so we can help you plan a visit to the University.
We hold postgraduate events in February/March and November, and open days for all our applicants throughout the year. Our Colchester Campus events are a great way to find out more about studying at Essex, and give you the chance to:
- tour our campus and accommodation
- find out answers to your questions about our courses, student finance, graduate employability, student support and more
- meet our students and staff
If the dates of our organised events aren’t suitable for you, feel free to get in touch by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll arrange an individual campus tour for you.
If you live too far away to come to Essex (or have a busy lifestyle), no problem. Our 360 degree virtual tour allows you to explore the Colchester Campus from the comfort of your home. Check out our accommodation options, facilities and social spaces.
Our staff travel the world to speak to people about the courses on offer at Essex. Take a look at our list of exhibition dates to see if we’ll be near you in the future.