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Psychological Professions Career Pathways

At Sussex Partnership we offer a range of support to our Psychological Professions to help them progress their career with us. The Psychological Professions includes a large number of different professions, and a number of new roles. It can be very confusing to know what the difference is between each of them. For further info please see below.

The Psychological Professions Network (PPN) also have a career map which can be found here.

Hear from Louisa Bravery (Professional Lead) about what it was like for her when she joined the Trust during the pandemic.

Practitioner Psychologists (HCPC Registered Professionals)  hcpc logo

Work with both adults or children as well as teams and services to formulate solutions based on psychological theory and evidence. As a Clinical Psychologist you would work with people using psychological knowledge to create unique approaches to solving problems. You would be a scientist practitioner and a reflective practitioner - applying research principles and reflection to make your work effective. You would also supervise, train and support other professionals and teams, undertake research to develop, evaluate and improve psychological interventions and services. Professional training is fully funded, and takes 6 years minimum.

Counselling psychologists deal with a wide range of adult mental health problems including bereavement, domestic violence, sexual abuse, traumas and relationship issues. They work with the individual’s unique subjective psychological experience to empower their recovery and alleviate distress. The practice of counselling psychology requires a high level of self-awareness and competence in relating the skills and knowledge of personal and interpersonal dynamics to the therapeutic context.

Psychotherapists (Registered with a relevant professional body)

Provide talking therapy, helping people to change the ways they think and behave or find better ways to cope. You would address common mental health difficulties like anxiety and depression, or complex issues like psychosis or a personality disorder diagnosis. You may work with individuals, couples or groups.

Art therapists use art media as the main mode of expression and communication.  Art therapists/art psychotherapists use art as a medium to address emotional issues which may be confusing and distressing. They work with children, young people and Adults.

Work in teams in the community and in hospitals, and with all types of psychological difficulties. You would use specialist psychoanalytic skills to assess and treat children, their families or carers, through a combination of talking, playing and drawing.

Work with children or adults from the perspective of or with the involvement of families or groups. As a Family and Systemic Psychotherapist you would use psychological approaches to create a shared map of difficulties and challenges, which would guide the therapies and interventions you would provide, usually involving several members of a family. You might work with specific populations like looked after children, people with learning disabilities or people with dementia.

Play Therapy is a way of helping children express their feelings and deal with their emotional problems, using play as the main communication tool. To relieve the needs of children, and young people suffering emotional and behavioural difficulties

Work with children or adults with mental health difficulties. Usually trained within 1 school of therapy such as CBT. You would assess and support people using cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT). CBT is a talking therapy which aims to help people overcome emotional difficulties by changing the way they think and behave. You would address common mental health difficulties like anxiety and depression, or less common issues like psychosis, a personality disorder diagnosis, or eating disorders. You may work with individuals, couples or groups.

Psychological Practitioners

Deliver guided self-help to adults with anxiety and depression. As a PWP you would be supporting people with a range of different CBT informed methods over the telephone, online or in person. This includes written exercises, computerised packages and mobile phone apps.

Work with children and young people and their parents/ carers in education settings. You would assess and support children and young people with common mental health difficulties, particularly mild to moderate symptoms of anxiety, depression and behavioural difficulties, offering cognitive-behavioural informed approaches. You would also support schools in promoting mental health within the school community, and providing information workshops on mental health and wellbeing. (Id like to add a quote or blog here)

Working with children and young people and their parents/ carers. You would assess and support children and young people with common mental health difficulties, particularly mild to moderate symptoms of anxiety, depression and behavioural difficulties. You would offer a range of CBT informed interventions and guided self-help. (Id like to add in a quote from one here)

Work with colleagues in community mental health teams to plan care with people with severe mental health problems, in collaboration, aligned to trauma-informed practice. Provides specific evidence-based psychologically informed interventions:

  • Behavioural activation and graded exposure (GOALS programme)
  • Teaching problem-solving skills
  • Sleep hygiene and intervention
  • Recognising and managing emotions
  • Guided self-help for bulimia and binge-eating
  • Improving self-esteem

"A Mental Health Wellbeing Practitioner will share with you psychological ideas that aim to help you and make you feel better. You will meet with the Mental Health and Wellbeing Practitioner for a set number of sessions. During the sessions, you and the Mental Health and Wellbeing Practitioner will focus on your ideas about how you can feel better and help you achieve what you want to happen in your life. Examples may include talking about ways to improve sleep or finding ways to get out and meet people. Mental Health and Wellbeing Practitioners wants to help you live a better life."

Laura Lea, National Lead Expert by Experience Involvement: Psychological Professions.

Why choose us?

Working with us brings you close to the amazing south coast with plenty of fresh air and open space - what's not to love? With services along the south coast from Hastings to Southampton all the way inland up to Basingstoke and Crawley, there are plenty of reasons to live and work here. We think living and working in Sussex is a perfect mix for a work life balance, with all the space and fresh air you could ask for.

If you need to relocate we know this can be a massive decision for you and your family. You can rest assured that we will support you every step of the way with our relocation package and golden hello scheme.

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At Sussex Partnership, we are committed to providing ongoing training and CPD to ensure our staff are continually learning and developing their careers. This takes a variety of forms, including mandatory training, professional training and clinical skills. A variety of course lengths are available, as well as a range of formats – courses may involve workshops, webinars and/or university training courses.

Some of our training is appropriate for those already registered as a practitioner psychologist or psychological therapist; other training can be undertaken by those in pre-registration, or for those developing skills to work as a Practioner Psychologist or Psychological Therapist.

Some examples of the training we offer are:

We have lots of short courses and webinars available – both internal and external. Some of these are free to participate in, but if a cost is involved, you can also discuss with your manager or professional lead to request funding.

We also have external and internal short courses and webinars available for those in post-registration. Some training is free, and where a cost is involved we encourage staff to discuss funding with their manager. Available courses include model specific therapy, leadership skills, neuropsychology, supervision, and other competencies relevant to your role.

Management and leadership are competencies core to our staff appraisal processes, and we offer a variety of different training in the area, including through the NHS Leadership Academy.

We also provide training courses in supervision, with regular opportunities available.

Newly Qualified Practitioners

We understand that working in psychological therapies means lifelong learning, and a particularly important period of learning and consolidation happens immediately after you qualify. When entering a new role, you may need to develop new skills – such as managing a full caseload, or supervising others. We will support you to learn these skills by providing you with regular professional supervision and development opportunities, including in house or regional conferences, or events relevant to your role. 

Within your first 18 months in a role with us, we also aim to provide you with training to become a supervisor. You will also be offered free membership to the Psychological Professions Network across Kent, Surrey and Sussex, which provides continuing professional development events and can connect practitioners with similar interests.

Professional Training

Our professional education and training programmes are offered in conjunction with Universities and other partner organisations, to make the best use of our collective knowledge and experience. Our offerings vary from role to role, but we aim to provide all our staff and potential staff with opportunities that fit their goals. Some of the education opportunities we support include:

Our main partner universities in this case are Surrey and Canterbury Christ Church. Individuals can apply for Postgraduate Courses in Clinical Psychology via the Clearing House.

Hear from Victoria Bonnet about some of the training she's done in her role as a Clinical Psychologist.

We advertise our trainee posts in this area via our partners Mind and Turning Point, who employ Psychological Wellbeing Practitioners to work with us in our Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) services. The programme is delivered to students through Surrey University.

We consider requests for trainee Arts and Play Therapists on a case-by-case basis.

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