Preparing for an IAPT trainee PWP interview

Information about the Improving Access to Psychological Therapies scheme, the different roles, training courses, professional bodies and the KSF requirements.
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Preparing for an IAPT trainee PWP interview

Post by Will »

I've had a few messages recently from people wondering how to prepare for a trainee PWP interview. I don't claim to be an expert but I have worked in IAPT services for a few years now so hopefully I can offer some useful advice. If anyone has any other tips feel free to add them in!

The first thing I would suggest is have a good read of the general interview guidance available on the forum and in the Wiki. I won't repeat what's discussed elsewhere but there is plenty of stuff around, the gigantic list of interview questions is a good place to start - get thinking about how you would respond to ones that might come up.

An essential part of giving a good interview for any role is demonstrating that you understand the nature of the job. With a PWP post this is especially pertinent given the recent developments in primary care mental health services and the introduction of IAPT. They won't expect you to have a comprehensive understanding of everything (you will be employed as a trainee, after all) but there will be an expectation that you've done your homework. They will probably ask you direct questions about this but think about how you can demonstrate a full understanding of the issues which are associated with IAPT services.

Good starting points are the IAPT website and NICE guidelines for anxiety and depression. This will give you an insight into the kind of work a PWP does. Be sure to read up on the Stepped Care model as PWPs play a key role in this. There is plenty of published material on the Doncaster and Newham demonstration sites that will give you an insight into how many services are set up. Additionally, publications like 'The Depression Report' and 'We Need To Talk' will give you an overview of what led to the IAPT programme. The recent DoH publications "Talking therapies: A four year plan of action" and "No health without mental health: A cross-government mental health outcomes strategy for people of all ages" will also give you an idea of recent updates and the plans to expand the IAPT programme to under represented groups.

In addition to an understanding of the role, commitment to the job is a key issue. So, if they ask about future intentions, be honest but don't make it seem you're just going to do the course then disappear! They will be expecting you to demonstrate an ability to manage a demanding job alongside a postgraduate university course, so bear this in mind. You will be expected to be an effective and reflective practitioner and they'll almost certainly ask you about risk, so think about how you would manage potential safeguarding concerns. They may also ask something about equality and diversity. Often there are service users on the interview panel, so consider how you can demonstrate you're thinking in a 'patient centred' way.

As I said earlier, remember that they're not expecting you to know all the answers. However they will expect you to have a good understanding of what a PWP does in terms of providing brief low intensity CBT interventions, liaising with GPs and other health professionals, signposting, mental health promotion etc. Read up on some popular self help resources – there are plenty of links in the wiki section. Consider challenges (often adapting to working in a time limited way is difficult). Also think about the differences between the clients you've worked with before and the people you might encounter in primary care. You generally get a wide variety in primary care - people from all walks of life, any age, any background. This makes being a PWP varied and interesting, though often challenging and hard work.

Hopefully this has provided a useful starting point. Good luck!

Useful links: ... et-reports– Tons of reading material and publications ... ual-v5.pdf - The manual ... workforce/ - The job descriptions – Reports from Doncaster and Newham. Some googling will provide plenty of further commentary and discussion. – NICE guidance for depression (full version is also worth a read) – NICE guidance for anxiety - The Depression Report (Centre for Economic Performance, 2006) ... report.pdf – We Need To Talk (Mind) ... o_talk.pdf- We Need To Talk: The case for psychological therapy on the NHS (Mental Health Foundation) ... 123985.pdf – Talking Therapies – A four year plan of action (DoH, 2011) ... 124058.pdf – No Health Without Mental Health (DoH, 2011)
Ponderings and wonderings in 140 characters - @willcurvis
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