IAPT versus AP

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IAPT versus AP

Post by JB99 » Wed Apr 18, 2018 3:35 pm

Hi all.

My office offers placements to first year trainees, so I've had a chance to meet some of the successful candidates. I found out from them that at least 60% of the cohort or that course come from IAPT backgrounds, many of whom are qualified CBT therapists.

It made me think. I have experience of working as an AP (approximately 16 months). If I were to start looking for a new job, I could either look for another AP role or try the IAPT route. I always figured CBT qualifications via IAPT would be attractive on my CV.

Do you think it would it be more beneficial, in terms of securing a place on training, to pursue IAPT or another AP post?

N.B. I probably won't be moving yet, as I have the opportunity to conduct publishable research, but it's been on my mind for a while.

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Re: IAPT versus AP

Post by hawke » Wed Apr 18, 2018 4:05 pm

I would say it very much depends on the university. I interviewed at a uni last year, who told me that my interview was too IAPT-focused, and they had wanted broader experience from me. While great experience clinically, IAPT is a very narrow segment of the psychology world. The other thing IAPT severely lacks is research opportunities - having applied for CP for 2 years in a row now, I have spent a lot of time swotting up on stats and research before short-listing exams and interviews. It's only in my role as a senior PWP that I'm finding the opportunities to do some small scale research projects and service evaluations/audits, alongside supervision and training for colleagues. I also don't have direct CP supervision experience, although I have increasingly worked alongside CPs in services. I think it's quite hard to make IAPT experience stand out as well - I know a few colleagues who have applied to CP, and got nowhere despite their experience.

There's also the commitment for IAPT. It's not uncommon for people to take 2 or more attempts to get a training post, and many work as assistants in IAPT services beforehand. It takes at least 6 months to train as a PWP, and many trusts will get you to sign up to a minimum time with them after qualifying. The university for my area has an exclusion on PWPs applying for HI training for 2 years post-qualification. So despite the fact I've been in IAPT for over 3 years now, I can only apply for HI for 2019. So progression through IAPT is not quick (in terms of using it as pre-CP experience). I always flag up the ethics of using IAPT as pre-CP experience as well - the service struggles with turnover, partly because so many people use it as a stepping stone to other things rather than seeing it as a career in its own right.

However IAPT does have a reasonable career path, in terms of progression from assistant to PWP, and then on to HI training when you are then a qualified CBT therapist with all the benefits that brings. I like that I have a plan B for my career (although the fast shallow pace of IAPT is definitely not a sustainable life-long career for me!), if CP training doesn't happen for me. AP posts have always felt like a bit of an all-or-nothing gamble to me. I've also found it much easier to find work in my geographic area, whereas most people I know who have done AP posts have moved far and wide for them.

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Re: IAPT versus AP

Post by Bronwen1991 » Wed Apr 18, 2018 4:42 pm


I worked as a senior assistant psychologist, then trained as a high intensity therapist with IAPT and this year I have now been offered a place on the DClinpsy at plymouth Uni.

So I would say it helped me....

But I agree it depends on the Uni.

My only note is that IAPT is a beast of its own. It is a hard, high volume service. This is more so for a PWP than a HI CBT therapist. PWP's in my service can have caseloads of about 100, and the waiting list for step 3 therapy is 6 months.
Just be prepared to manage a very high-volume of patients, and utilizing very small amounts of time to try and achieve therapeutic change.

My experience has been a positive one however, although I was never a PWP.

Best of luck whatever your choice of path.

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