PGCert Psychological Therapies Practice (Children and Young People with with Autism and/or Learning Disabilities)

Duration Part time 1 year
  • Psychology
LocationExeter (Streatham)
Start date September


Both parents and clinicians agree that children and young people with autism and/or a learning disability often do not receive the psychological help they deserve, because those trained in delivering evidence-based therapies feel inadequately trained in adaptations of these to children and young people with autism and/or a learning disability diagnoses, and those with significant experience of working with these groups are insufficiently trained in evidence-based methods of therapy.

This programme complements existing CYP IAPT curricula in specialist psychological therapies and the Enhanced Evidence-Based Practice (EEBP) curriculum. It focuses on ensuring that clinicians and practitioners are familiar with the best evidenced practice for the treatment of children or young people with autism or learning disabilities.

The programme aims to:

  • educate you about the core features of autism, learning disabilities and associated conditions.
  • increase awareness of and aid identification of autism and learning disabilities by increasing your knowledge.
  • develop your assessment and intervention skills in working with young people, families and multidisciplinary teams in context of autism and learning disabilities.
  • increase your awareness and identification of mental health and neurodevelopmental disorders which present in the context of autism and learning disabilities and the distinction between what is a co-morbid mental health problem and what is a core feature of Autism and/or Learning Disability.
  • raise awareness of how environmental and physical factors may precipitate or perpetuate difficulties, including the role of family, education and employment.
  • develop your skills and awareness in collaborative team approaches to setting agreed goals and action plans based on the individualised assessment profile, the child’s/young person’s and carers’ perspectives.

Programme structure

The modules we outline here provide examples of what you can expect to learn on this degree course based on recent academic teaching. The precise modules available to you in future years may vary depending on staff availability and research interests, new topics of study, timetabling and student demand.

Learning and teaching

The course involves a minimum of 24 taught days at a training institute, attending workshops, skills classes and other activities.

There will be approximately 340 hours of independent study. A component of this will be e-learning through the MindEd programme, primarily sessions from Counselling MindEd and the CYP IAPT core curriculum.

You will complete assessments, background reading and preparation for therapy sessions, and complete a total of 100 hours relevant clinical practice. You will also undertake weekly supervision by an appropriate supervisor both in service and monthly at the University.

Summative assessments include:

  • a 2000 word essay
  • a recording of assessment (up to 90 minutes)
  • a case report (3000 words)
  • case presentation (20 minutes)
  • supervisor(s) report(s)
  • reflective journal
  • and a completed clinical portfolio.

A minimum of 80% attendance must also be achieved at the training institute.


This programme is training people already in a career within the NHS or an IAPT service. It will provide you with an outstanding opportunity to develop their competencies and knowledge associated with practice as a Practitioner.

A strong emphasis throughout the programme is placed upon your personal and professional development.

Advantages of the programme are that:

  • You will study within a vibrant, stimulating and internationally-recognised research environment, where members of your teaching team have first-hand experience within the clinical setting.
  • Your learning experience will be enriched by nationally-recognised, innovative, clinical teaching approaches, designed to develop you on your terms.

Entry requirements

This programme is intended for practitioners working specifically in the field of Autism or learning difficulties, those in the broader CAMHS community who work with CYP with learning disability or Autism.

  • The programme is open to all staff working or intending to work as part of a multidiscplinary Autism/Learning disability team with graduate level qualifications.
  • All applicants will need to demonstrate a basic level of clinical competence and experience of having worked with this clinical group for at least one year.

Professional experience

  • Practitioners must have training in a mental health related profession (psychology, nursing, social-work, occupational therapy, speech and language therapy, special needs teaching, psychiatry, other psychotherapy, counselling).
  • Practitioners must have two years' experence of working within a professional setting concerned with the mental health of children and young people or families, and have some experience of working with families. 
  • If applicants do not have a core profession listed above, yet feel they have sufficent experience , they maybe be able to complete the programme via the KSA route (see below).

Applicants without a core professional background

  • Applicants without a core professional background are required to submit the full KSA portfolio prior to interview for assessment. If you are unsure whether you hold a Core Profession then please refer to the BABCP website for more information.

How to apply

Applications to this programme may only be made through IAPT services recruiting trainees and not directly through the University of Exeter. Posts are typically advertised by IAPT services on NHS jobs websites or equivalent.

Fees and funding

Home/EU students


Contact us

Programme administrator:

Sarah Niles
College of Life and Environmental Sciences,
Washington Singer,
Room 001,
Perry Road,

Tel: +44 (0)1392 722459


Clinical Education Development and Research (CEDAR) Ask a question Print course

This programme is delivered by Clinical Education, Development and Research (CEDAR): an applied psychological practice centre of excellence, focussed on training the new psychological therapies workforce of the future.