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Adapting Cognitive Behavioural Therapies (CBT) to Improve Access to Psychological Therapies

Academic Coordinator: Dr Joanne Woodford

This module will introduce you to the Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) programme, implemented across England from 2008. The programme sought to address a significant problem in the provision of psychological therapies within England, but is a challenge experienced in many parts of the world. That is, limited access to ‘evidence-based psychological therapies’ for the treatment of ‘high-prevalence’ or ‘common’ mental health problems, often resulting in very long waiting times and difficulties concerning the acceptability of treatments being offered, or in meeting the needs of people with some feature of diversity.

The module is also designed to provide you with knowledge concerning the presentation of common mental health difficulties and equip you with a theoretical understanding of cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT).  Further, the module will provide you with a critical appreciation as to how the organisation of mental health service delivery, development of a new mental health workforce and implementation of low-intensity CBT is being used to address problems regarding the availability of evidence based psychological therapies and excessive waiting times.

To ensure equity of access for all groups in society there is also an emphasis throughout the module on several key principles surrounding diversity and adaptations to psychological therapy practice that may be required to ensure the specific needs and preferences of a range of patient groups are met, such as children and young adults.

Whilst addressing many of the theoretical issues surrounding the area of psychological therapies, diversity and evidence-based practice, the module is also rooted in clinical practice. This is enhanced by many of the teaching team being experienced psychological therapists and/or researchers in psychological therapies which informs the module assessment. In groups you will be asked to develop a ‘patient’ information leaflet on mental health issues affecting an international student population.

Further, the module is enhanced with interactive activity based group learning sessions throughout.  These sessions will help you apply the theoretical knowledge gained through lectures and seminars.  Through activity based learning, you will also begin to gain an appreciation of some of the clinical skills used by low-intensity CBT practitioners, for example, low-intensity CBT assessment and motivational interviewing techniques.

Key text

James Bennett-Levy, David Richards, Paul Farrand, et al, Oxford Guide to Low Intensity CBT Intervention (Oxford University Press, 2010) 

More information on the structure of the programme and our teaching style can be found on our Academic programme page.  If you have any questions please email iss@exeter.ac.uk