Psychological professions

Psychological professions

There are approximately 20,000 qualified psychological professionals working for NHS services in England.  At CWPT, we’re proud to have a growing workforce of over 600 psychological professionals.

As a psychological professional in our Trust, you’ll make a difference to people’s mental wellbeing. In many settings, this would involve helping individuals, groups, their families, and colleagues to understand the person’s distress and find new ways to cope. This might be by helping them to understand how their thinking and behaviour can affect the way they feel, and then working together to find ways to do things differently.

Psychological professions cover a wide range of roles which fall into four main groups: psychologists, associate and assistant roles, psychological therapists, and psychological practitioners. They work with people of all ages, including children and young people, adults, and older adults, and across a wide range of settings. In CWPT this includes mental health services, learning disability and autism services, and primary care.

There are different levels of training required for each of the posts, this may include:

  • Psychologists

    • Clinical psychologist

      As a clinical psychologist, you'll work with clients using psychological knowledge to create unique approaches to solving problems. You would be a reflective scientist practitioner - this means you will apply research principles and reflect on your work to continually improve. You would also supervise, train, and support other professionals and teams, and undertake research to develop, evaluate and improve the way we deliver psychological interventions and services.

      Watch Dr Dan Barnard tell us about his career journey. 

      Watch Dr Ryan Wood tell us about his career journey. 

    • Forensic psychologist

      Forensic psychologists work with offenders in areas like sexual offending, violence and aggression, and drug or alcohol abuse. As a forensic psychologist, you'll explore how psychological challenges can be associated with criminal behaviour and offer treatment to people who have been involved in the criminal justice system to rehabilitate into the community. You might also work with staff, prisoners or people in secure hospitals responding to their changing needs and working to reduce stress.

      Watch Dr Neetu Shorti tell us about her career journey. 

    • Health psychologist

      As a health psychologist, you'll help people respond to and manage the psychological and emotional aspects of health and illness. You would encourage people to improve their health by promoting healthy lifestyles and supporting people in managing chronic illness or pain. You would also use your skills to improve the healthcare system, such as finding the best ways for professionals to communicate with patients.

    • Counselling psychologist

      As a counselling psychologist, you'll work with individuals' unique psychological experiences to empower their recovery and alleviate distress. You'll also engage in personal therapy and draw on this experience in your work.

  • Psychological therapists

    • Adult psychotherapist

      As an adult psychotherapist, you'll provide talking therapy to help people to change the way 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.


    • Child and adolescent psychotherapist (CAPT)

      As a child and adolescent psychotherapist you'll work in the community and in hospitals, with young people who are experiencing 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.

    • Family and systemic psychotherapist

      As a family and systemic psychotherapist, you'll use psychological approaches to understand patients' difficulties and challenges. This would guide the therapies and interventions you 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.

    • Cognitive behavioural therapist (CBT therapist)

      As a CBT therapist, you'll 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. As a CBT therapist, 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.

      Watch Shiku tell us about her career journey. 

    • Counsellor

      Counselling offers people a safe and confidential space to talk about their feelings and concerns. As a counsellor, you would help people to understand themselves better and find their own solutions and make positive changes. Counselling can draw on a range of different methods and always prioritises the relationship between the counsellor and the client.

  • Psychological practitioners

    • Psychological wellbeing practitioner (PWP)

      As a psychological wellbeing practitioner, you'll support people with a range of different low intensity cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) methods over the telephone, online or in person. These methods include written exercises, computerised packages and mobile phone apps. You will combine psychological practice with the very latest in low intensity CBT innovation, helping people to move forward using structured, brief interventions.

      Watch Eleanor tell us about her career journey. 

    • Children's wellbeing practitioner (CWP)

      As a children's wellbeing practitioner, you'll assess and support children and young people with common mental health difficulties. This will include mild to moderate symptoms of anxiety, depression and behavioural difficulties. You will also offer a range of interventions that are based on cognitive behavioural therapy and guided self-help.

    • Education mental health practitioner (EMHP)

      As an education mental health practitioner, you'll assess and support children and young people with common mental health difficulties. These young people may have mild to moderate symptoms of anxiety, depression and behavioural difficulties and you'll offer short-term cognitive-behavioural approaches to help them. You'll also promote mental health within the school community, and provide information workshops on mental health and wellbeing.

      Watch Beth tell us about her career journey. 

    • Mental health and wellbeing practitioners

      Mental health and wellbeing practitioners work with patients to help them manage their mental health while also offering evidence-based psychological interventions. 

      The first intake of trainees started their training in March 2022. The one-year training programme will see them, under supervision, develop knowledge and practice skills to employ interventions and care planning for adults with severe mental health problems. 

    • Youth intensive psychological practitioner (YIPP)

      Youth intensive psychological practitioners provide psychological assessment and psychologically informed interventions support for young people (13–17 years old) with severe mental health problems. Generally, you would be based in an inpatient and intensive home treatment service, and you would support young people’s recovery.

  • Associate and assistant roles

    • Assistant psychologist

      Assistant psychologists work in a variety of roles to support people with mental health conditions.  You will be supervised by a practitioner psychologist. Your role would include supporting with:

      • assessments
      • behavioural observations
      • intervention programmes
      • research or service evaluations

      This would involve working with individuals or groups of patients, carers, relatives, and colleagues. It’s also likely that you’ll work as part of a multidisciplinary team. 

    • Clinical associate in psychology

      As a clinical associate in psychology, you’ll provide psychological interventions within certain specialised areas under the supervision of a qualified practitioner psychologist.

      You’ll provide evidence-based psychological interventions to a specific population or group of people. You'll aim to identify the needs of people experiencing longstanding and complex difficulties, considering their age, culture, beliefs and other important factors.

      Watch Rochelle tell us about her career journey and experience as a trainee clinical associate psychologist. 

To see our vacancies, please visit the vacancy page.

Useful links

For further information about roles in psychology visit NHS Careers or email

Find out more about the routes into the psychological professions through this interactive careers map.

To find out more about the 12 psychological professions, watch this video.

Springpod offer virtual psychology work experience for people aged 13 and over.