Next career steps - any thoughts appreciated!

This section is for discussion relating to the Layard report, and subsequent schemes like Improving Access to Psychological Therapies where lower intensity inteventions are offered in primary care
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Zorathegrey
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Joined: Sat Aug 15, 2020 1:51 pm

Next career steps - any thoughts appreciated!

Post by Zorathegrey »

Hi everyone,

I would be really grateful for some career advice.

I've been a mental health social worker for about 2 years. Before that I was a teacher for a decade and a half, with no previous jobs in mental health. I have a conversion MSc in Psychology, an MA in mental health SW, some counselling skills certificates (level 3 and a 20-week CBT introductory course - nothing that qualifies me to practice as a counsellor of any kind) and am a long-term Samaritans listener.

I was initially interested in eventually applying for Clinical Psychology but after lots of research and collaboration with people in different roles, I've decided that trainee IAPT High Intensity practitioner would probably be my dream job.

I don't think I really have enough experience to apply yet. Job adverts often specify 'substantial post-qualifying experience' for people with a qualifying profession, and I wouldn't call 2 years substantial. Moreover, whilst my current role has given me great learning opportunities - it involves care coordination and social work interventions with people in secondary MH services with complex needs - it doesn't give me any opportunities to train in delivering therapeutic interventions. I'm trying to identify the best stepping stones to help me gain the experience I need.

I could go for a trainee PWP role but this would be a step down in terms of banding, which makes quite a difference as am raising a little'n and struggling with childcare costs as it is. I am also put off by the (understandable) rule that I wouldn't be able to go on to high-intensity training until at least 2 years after qualifying. Then again, I appreciate that PWPs have a valuable skill set that I don't, and that perhaps it's too arrogant of me to think I could train in delivering high-intensity therapies without this sort of preparation.

I could look for a social work or MH care coordinator role that has some prospect of training in therapeutic delivery, but feel quite guilty about the idea of persuading an employer to invest in my training just so that I can move on and apply for IAPT within a year or two. Again, it means playing quite a long game... but perhaps that's what I need to do.

If anyone has any thoughts on how I could advance, or on other roles I might be suited to that I haven't considered, I'd be extremely grateful. I'd also be interested in any thoughts people have about the ethics of staying in roles short-term (ie 1 or 2 years) to take advantage of training opportunities - I know this pragmatic mentality might be a necessity but it is something I struggle with a bit. Doesn't seem like an amazing use of resources for the cash-strapped NHS!

Thanks so much in advance for any ideas / opinions. Perhaps there are others here interested in applying for IAPT roles or who have made the transition from a qualifying profession.
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mungle
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Re: Next career steps - any thoughts appreciated!

Post by mungle »

I'm a bit out of date with IAPT but the way to find out would be either to apply or to contact IAPT services who are advertising and ask them. As a general year, 2 years is often a minimum for jobs and you have a 20-week Course in CBT and counselling skills training and experience so I wouldn't rule out applying now.

You might look at accessing work opportunities or training in your current role. For instance, there might be a shorter psychosocial interventions or DBT course which might seem proportionate to the time you plan to spend in the role and which you would probably still draw on when a HI, still working for the benefit of patients in the NHS. This would be a way to prepare for a HI role without taking the step down for PWP.
Do also consider that there might be chance to train to become a therapist in CBT or another therapy approach within your existing service at some point.
Zorathegrey
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Joined: Sat Aug 15, 2020 1:51 pm

Re: Next career steps - any thoughts appreciated!

Post by Zorathegrey »

Thanks, Mungle - greatly appreciated!
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mungle
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Re: Next career steps - any thoughts appreciated!

Post by mungle »

One more thought - you could see if there are opportunities in your current workplace (in secondary MH services) to co-facilitate a group that draws on therapy interventions such as anxiety management, mindfulness etc. If there are CPs or Psychotherapists in your team, you might learn more about formulation and applying some therapy interventions by seeking consultations with them about clients when it is relevant. For instance, they might supervise you to apply CBT techniques with a client in your role as care coordinator. Sometimes CPs will also run reflective groups/spaces, team formulation sessions or teaching sessions for the team so do make use of these.
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miriam
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Re: Next career steps - any thoughts appreciated!

Post by miriam »

I've moved this thread to the IAPT section to see whether that attracts some responses from people with experience within that service. But I'd agree with Mungle, 2 years and a 20-week intro to CBT course sounds like it might be enough to apply, and is certainly enough to have a conversation. And you could build your skills in your current role without that being a bad investment for the NHS.
Miriam

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Zorathegrey
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Re: Next career steps - any thoughts appreciated!

Post by Zorathegrey »

An update for the benefit of anyone who might come to this thread with similar career questions in mind... I took the advice of looking out for training opportunities within my existing service. I applied for a trainee CBTp therapist role with the community mental health team and was lucky enough to get that, so will be doing a mixture of study and work supervised by a CP. It looks really exciting and is the same pay band as a High Intensity role with an IAPT. I think I might end up liking it more than IAPT work.

Thanks for the suggestions! I look forward to seeing what happens next.
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