Postgraduate Diploma in High Intensity Psychological Interventions (HIPI) - CBT Psychotherapist training


The programme is designed to train clinicians to deliver consistently competent CBT for common mental health problems, such as depression and anxiety disorders, at Step 3 of the IAPT Stepped Care Model. Trainees who graduate from the Postgraduate Diploma will hold posts as IAPT High Intensity CBT Therapists in their organisations and work in Stepped Care IAPT Services.

Programme Content

Trainees will learn assessment, formulation and treatment protocols from the CBT competency framework and are expected to follow these protocols in clinical practice during their training. The design of the academic programme reflects the IAPT stepped care service context, in which trainees work during their training year. Assessment is organised around the IAPT National Curriculum and Competency Framework. Trainees must evidence their knowledge and competence in order to complete the programme. The Course strives to integrate behavioural and cognitive theory and practice, with an emphasis on problem-based learning. High intensity trainees will examine the theoretical basis of CBT with the reflective application of such knowledge within a critical scientist-practitioner stance. Completing the course effectively provides a groundwork of academic and clinical experience for those trainees who wish to meet the other BABCP criteria to apply for accreditation as Cognitive-Behavioural Psychotherapists.

Overall, the course will provide opportunities for trainees to develop and demonstrate knowledge, understanding and skills in the following areas:

  1. Critical knowledge of the theoretical and research literature related to BT and CBT for anxiety and depression as dictated by the CBT competencies framework.
  2. Critical knowledge of the treatment protocols for the anxiety disorders and depression included on the CBT competencies framework.
  3. Competency in the effective delivery of BT and CBT for anxiety and depression using the treatment protocols on the CBT competency framework.
  4. To work effectively with patients from a diverse range of backgrounds, understanding and respecting the impact of difference and diversity upon their lives
  5. Take personal responsibility for clinical decision making in straightforward and more complex situations
  6. Demonstrate self-direction and originality in tackling and solving therapeutic problems
  7. Operate as “scientist practitioners” advancing their knowledge and understanding and developing skills to a high level
  8. Demonstrate a systematic knowledge of the principles of CBT and the evidence base for the application of CBT techniques
  9. Demonstrate a critical understanding of the theoretical and research evidence for cognitive behaviour models and an ability to evaluate such evidence
  10. Demonstrate a systematic knowledge of the limitations of BT and CBT for depression and anxiety disorders
  11. Demonstrate an ability to sensitively adapt BT and CBT, and ensure equitable access across diverse cultures, values and abilities
  12. To work with cultural competency within a varied social, work and clinical context
  13. To manage personal learning agenda and self-care

Structure of the Programme

The Postgraduate Diploma is a full-time programme, consisting of 2 days per week attendance at University for teaching and 3 days per week working in the service employer.

The programme begins in October with a 2-week introductory teaching block where trainees are required to attend University for the full 5 days in both weeks, consisting of academic teaching, grounding in clinical assessment skills, awareness of the generic CBT model and programme acclimatisation. The main purpose of the introductory block is to prepare trainees for the Screening Observed Structured Clinical Examination (OSCE) that takes place before trainees commence their clinical work.

Teaching is on a Thursday morning and all day Friday, with group clinical supervision delivered with one of the tutors on a Thursday afternoon.

The programme is comprised of three core modules, which are delivered according to the HI IAPT National Curriculum; Fundamentals of CBT, CBT for Anxiety Disorders and CBT for Depression.

Assessment is via a Screening OSCE, case studies, case-based literature reviews, clinical therapy tapes and a final practice portfolio. Trainees clinical and organisational competency is also assessed though a report completed by their service supervisor at two points throughout the programme.

Criteria and how to apply

All places on the programme are tied to a trainee job in an IAPT service, therefore, in order to access training, applicants must apply for, and secure, a HIPI trainee post within the NHS or specified Third Sector organisation. Such posts are advertised on the NHS jobs website. The University is unable to accept applications for the course directly.

Recruitment is carried out jointly by the IAPT services and the University course team. Shortlisted applicants will be interviewed at the associated IAPT service with a member of the University's IAPT teaching team on the panel, and the interview will include a role play. The candidate must be deemed successful by both the service and the IAPT tutor (in terms of the HIPI training course requirements) in order to confirm a place on the programme. Recruitment takes place between April – August (approximately) prior to the Programme beginning in October.

The programme is of 1-year duration and attendance on the programme is a requirement of the trainee posts. Trainees need to pass the course to continue in employment. Further information and examples of person specifications/job descriptions can be found on the NHS health careers website.

The University criteria for eligibility for the IAPT programmes can be downloaded from the box on the right hand side.

All places on the course are funded therefore we do not accept self-funding applications.

Enquires can be directed to the IAPT Administrator at