Mental Health Familiarisation is a required component of UKCP and HIPC accredited trainings.
Psychotherapists will require awareness, knowledge and understanding that equips them to work within or alongside other mental health professionals and services, with clients who have extraordinary needs and with family members of mental health service users.
Psychotherapists will require an understanding of their role within a system of restoring balance and justice towards better treatment of people with exceptional needs and prevention of additional mental health distress caused by normative social expectation and exclusion.
Trainees and students should, therefore, be introduced to the wider contexts and considerations of mental health provision to develop sensitive and reflexive practice of psychotherapy appropriate to the needs of people who experience greater mental difficulties and emotional distress.
HIPC believes experiential learning supports in depth engagement, levels of understanding and reflection different from those gained through direct teaching or individual study. Students are, therefore, required to undertake some element of direct experience as part of their mental health familiarisation.
1. The Social Responsibility Framework
Psychotherapists require opportunities to understand the historical and cultural influences on societal understanding of, and attitudes to, mental health and illness, and to develop a capacity to work reflexively within a social responsibility framework. These can be gained through training input, placement experience, or a combination of the two, including relevant coverage of the following:
a) Historical and cultural models of mental health, illness and mental health care.
b) The impact on mental health service users and their families of diagnosis, stigma, normativity and minority experience.
c) The influence of socio-economics, class, gender, disability, age, culture, religion, race and sexuality on the incidence, definition, diagnosis and treatment of mental illness and mental health.
d) The intensifying impact of intersectionality (where a person belongs to more than one marginalised group).
e) Familiarity with the role of minority community organisations and mental health advocacy organisations and how to engage with them.
f) Practices for non-discriminatory service provision.
2. Working within a Wider System of Care
Psychotherapists will require knowledge and understanding, sensitivity and awareness which equips them to work within and alongside other mental health services in the field. This should include knowledge, ability, awareness and understanding of the following:
a) Recognition that clients with more complex, significant, enduring or exceptional needs, including how to differentiate between severe mental illness and the range of human responses to life challenge, such as trauma, shock, bereavement and spiritual crisis.
b) How and when to refer on to appropriate inter-disciplinary professionals and relevant agencies.
c) When to provide, when necessary, psychotherapy as part of an appropriate package of care including the parameters for keeping therapeutic work safe with severely disturbed people.
d) The social and cultural context in which service is delivered to understand and empathise with the lived experience of service-users.
e) The different personal and professional roles in care for people with complex or enduring needs including current knowledge of local services.
f) An informed and critical awareness of the differences in paradigms between the medical model and a psychotherapeutic approach including the psychotherapists role in collaborative care.
g) The psychotherapists role in the provision of non-discriminatory services.
h) The role of medication (prescribed and non-prescribed) and its impact.
i) Ethical and legal consideration pertaining to the above including appropriate familiarity with the Mental Health Act 2007 and the Equality Act 2010.
j) The basic structure of the mental health services in the UK, and the role of NICE guidelines.
k) Diagnosis and classification of mental illness within the medical model including a working knowledge of the DSM V and a capacity to reflect on and evaluate its use as a system of assessment.
l) The types of interventions and treatments used, their rationale and side effects.
m) Understanding and appreciation of different professional and personal roles in mental health care.
n) How to work in a client-centred way which safeguards the wellbeing of the client (and their dependents) and ensures that the psychotherapy received forms part of an appropriate package of care.
o) When and how to make appropriate referrals to other professional agencies.
The developmental process of learning which integrates knowledge and experience can be gained through training input or direct experience, or a combination of the two. Some element of direct experience is required, as this is likely to be relevant to fully attaining the overall aims of mental health familiarisation process.
Training and accrediting organisations have discretion to require up to a maximum of 120 hours of direct mental health experience within the overall 900 training hours. They should include their requirements and the reasons for them within policy.
HIPC believes experiential learning supports levels of understanding and reflection different from those gained through direct teaching or individual study. Students are, therefore, required to undertake some element of direct experience. This may be met in a variety of ways including working, volunteering, attending events or otherwise spending time in settings such as the following:
• community mental health centres,
• psychiatric wards,
• day centres or drop in centres,
• voluntary organisations such as Mind,
• advocacy services,
• community services,
• specialist services such as those of homeless people,
• attending events held by groups such as the Schizophrenia and Bipolar Foundations, and the Recovery Learning Community.
• Adult Eating Disorder Clinic
• Addiction/Rehab Agencies
• Geriatric Mental Health Services
• Alzhiemer’s Clinic/Day Centre
This list is meant to be indicative but is not comprehensive.
There may be occasions where students have gained direct experience in their personal lives, professional careers, by undertaking research or in their counselling or psychotherapy practice. This may be included in students’ experiential learning, but its relevance and currency must be demonstrated within the assessment.
MIP Will Provide:
* A range of training input, such as lectures and seminars, visits by external speakers (including service user groups) to support students achieving the aims of the MHF.
* Support personal learning by providing access to, or signposting trainees to learning resources such as written materials, documentaries, films and videos.
* Offer support to help students access appropriate experiential learning opportunities.
* Make clear to students their responsibilities and limitations in undertaking experience in the field.
* Manage the minimum requirements for experiential learning which balance opportunities for in depth engagement and learning with ensuring accessibility for a diverse student body.
* Provide ways for students to evidence their experiential learning activities.
* Create assessment procedures whereby students can demonstrate their learning.
* Provide a rational and documentation for the approach taken.
Trainees are expected/required to:
1. Take responsibility for arranging placements or direct experience elements to meet the Mental Health Familiarisation requirements.
2. Take responsibility for taking up opportunities to attend appropriate training input provided by their training organisation or other bodies.
3. Take responsibility for demonstrating that they can meet the requirements of the Mental Health Familiarisation in line with the UKCP HIPC College.
4. The trainee needs to write a short report, 1500 words, of their experience within the Mental Health placement outlining:
– the agency’s mission statement
– the service user base
– support received by the agency
– the student’s internal reflections overall of their experience of the placement.
5. The trainee must have a minimum of three different and distinct placement experiences in mental health settings, minimum 70 hours in total. Please note maximum 120 hours in totality.
There may be occasions where trainees have gained direct experience in mental health settings in their personal and professional careers. However, if their direct experience is not within the last 5 years then they would still need to evidence 70 hours of current direct mental health experience.
6. Trainees will need to evidence their attendance at the mental health placement they work within, and this will need to be evident in their portfolio, with their short reports of 1500 words per placement experience.
It is important not to confuse the clinical placement that you completed in your 4 year training with the mental health placement for UKCP registration purposes. If you completed your clinical placement within one of the mental health services it cannot be counted towards the mental health familiarisation direct experience, as this would mean the student would be short of the expected 900 hours overall to complete UKCP registration.
As well as this, the focuses of the two placements are distinctly different in nature and experience.
Approved at UKCP HIC college meeting 12th July 2018. Discussed at and amended after the UKCP ETPC meeting July 20th July 2018.
Approved by MIP February 2019.