28 Jul Psychological Wellbeing Practitioner – Harriet Campbell
Course studied: Psychology with Professional Development
Year of graduation: 2015
When I left Brunel, my plan was…
I didn’t really have a plan when I graduated from Brunel. I went travelling for a month which was amazing and when I came back I just started applying online for anything I could find! I registered my interest in some voluntary organisations like the Samaritans.
I mainly used NHS jobs and other online job search engines to look for jobs that could be relevant to my psychology degree. I found the NHS jobs website the best for this.
My plan at the time was to find something that was relevant to psychology, even if it was doing administration in a place where there might be scope for moving up and doing something more relevant afterwards.
I then thought I would try to progress as much as possible and gain some experience before applying to some further study – possibly in counselling or clinical psychology.
At the moment…
I currently work as a Psychological Wellbeing Practitioner (PWP) at Step 2 within an IAPT service. This involves assessment and treatment of patients with mild to moderate levels of anxiety or depression. I have been trained by the University of Reading to provide CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy) based techniques in group courses and individual sessions (sometimes face to face, but mostly over the telephone). The work is ‘low intensity’ and ‘high volume’, in that I have a high caseload of patients, but typically only offer between 4-6 sessions.
I found out about this role by looking on the NHS jobs website. I did not know much about the job and what qualifications I needed, so I emailed the service who advertised the job and they were very helpful to explain that I needed to apply for a ‘trainee PWP’ post to begin with. I applied for a few trainee posts in various areas (IAPT runs across the country) and also began applying for ‘Assistant PWP’ posts. The Assistant role is different in that you don’t tend to need as much experience in mental health to apply and you would not receive training through a university, but it would help gain understanding of how IAPT works and necessary experience to apply again to be a trainee. I became an assistant PWP to begin with in September 2015, and then applied and got onto the trainee PWP training in April 2016. I graduated in March 2017 and have worked in the same service as a qualified PWP.
How my career goals have changed…
I am still interested in counselling and clinical psychology, and hope to apply for further training in the next few years. This job has helped me to appreciate how common mental health difficulties are and how this is managed in the NHS currently.
How I have developed professionally since graduating…
I have gained a lot more confidence through doing this job as I speak to so many different people a day, in quite a lot of depth sometimes. The job has also really improved my public speaking, as I have had a lot of practice running group courses.
Working in IAPT has also provided a great experience in working with people with a variety mental health difficulties and different complexities, which will help me with whatever path I decide to take in the future.
My advice to recent graduates/students graduating soon…
Not to worry about not knowing what you want to do. I don’t think many people know, I didn’t know this job existed before I applied, and particularly in the field of psychology, opportunities are ever changing.