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HLTH6168 Engagement and assessment of patients with common mental health problems using low intensity CBT (PWP route)

Module Overview

PWPs assess and support people with common mental health problems in the self-management of their recovery. To do so they must be able to undertake a range of patient-centred assessments and be able to identify the main areas of concern relevant to the assessment undertaken. They need to have knowledge and competence to be able to apply these in a range of different assessment formats and settings. These different elements or types of assessment include screening/triage assessment; risk assessment; provisional diagnostic assessment; mental health clustering assessment; psychometric assessment (using the IAPT standardised symptoms measures); problem focused assessment; and intervention planning assessment. In all these assessments they need to be able to engage patients and establish an appropriate relationship whilst gathering information in a collaborative manner.

Aims and Objectives

Module Aims

They must have knowledge of mental health disorders and the evidence-based therapeutic options available and be able to communicate this knowledge in a clear and unambiguous way so that people can make informed treatment choices. In addition, they must have knowledge of behaviour change models and how these can inform choice of goals and interventions. This module will, therefore, equip PWPs with a good understanding of the incidence, prevalence and presentation of common mental health problems and evidenced-based treatment choices. Skills teaching will develop PWPs’ core ‘common factors’ competencies of active listening, engagement, alliance building, patient-centred information gathering, information giving and shared decision making.

Learning Outcomes

Learning Outcomes

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Demonstrate knowledge, understanding and critical awareness of concepts of mental health and mental illness, diagnostic category systems in mental health and a range of social, medical and psychological explanatory models.
  • Demonstrate competence in understanding the patient’s attitude to a range of mental health treatments including prescribed medication and evidence-based psychological treatments.
  • Demonstrate competence in accurate recording of interviews and questionnaire assessments using paper and electronic record keeping systems.
  • Demonstrates competency in undertaking and recording a range of assessment formats. This should include both triage within an IAPT service and problem focused assessments.
  • Demonstrates experience and competence in the assessment of presenting problems across a range of problem descriptor including depression and two or more anxiety disorders.
  • Demonstrates the common factor competencies necessary to engage patients across the range of assessment formats.
  • Demonstrate knowledge of, and competence in applying the principles, purposes and different types of assessment undertaken with people with common mental health disorders
  • Demonstrate knowledge of, and competence in using ‘common factors’ to engage patients, gather information, build a therapeutic alliance with people with common mental health problems, manage the emotional content of sessions and grasp the client’s perspective or “world view”.
  • Demonstrate knowledge of, and competence in ‘patient-centred’ information gathering to arrive at a succinct and collaborative definition of the person’s main mental health difficulties and the impact this has on their daily living.
  • Demonstrate knowledge of, and competence in recognising patterns of symptoms consistent with diagnostic categories of mental disorder from a patient centred interview.
  • Demonstrate knowledge of, and competence in accurate risk assessment to patient or others.
  • Demonstrate knowledge of, and competence in the use of standardised assessment tools including symptom and other psychometric instruments to aid problem recognition and definition and subsequent decision making.
  • Demonstrate knowledge, understanding and competence in using behaviour change models in identifying intervention goals and choice of appropriate interventions.
  • Demonstrate knowledge of, and competence in giving evidence-based information about treatment choices and in making shared decisions with patients.


• Concepts and categories of mental health. • A range of assessment strategies; including triage, risk and symptom assessment. • Common factor skills and engaging the patient. • Patient centred information gathering. • Use of standardised assessment tools. • Developing skills in behaviour change models to identify goals and interventions. • Assessing attitudes to treatments including medication and psychological interventions. • Accurate recording of information.

Learning and Teaching

Teaching and learning methods

Skills based competencies will be learnt through a combination of clinical simulation in small groups working intensively under close supervision with peer and tutor feedback and supervised practice through supervised direct contact with patients in the workplace. Knowledge will be learnt through a combination of lectures, seminars, discussion groups, guided reading and independent study.  

Supervised time in studio/workshop35
Preparation for scheduled sessions35
Wider reading or practice100
Total study time205

Resources & Reading list

Department of Health (1999). National service framework for mental health: modern standards and service models.. 

Williams, C.J. (2006). Overcoming Depression and low mood: A Five Areas Approach. 

Gray, P. & Mellor-Clark, J. (eds.) (2007). CORE: A Decade of Development. 

National Institute for Clinical Excellence (2009). Generalised anxiety disorder and panic disorder (with or without agoraphobia) in adults Management in primary, secondary and community care. 

A brief measure for assessing generalized anxiety disorder: the GAD-7. Archives of Internal Medicine. ,166 , pp. 1092-1097.

Layard, R. (2006). The depression report. 

Egan, G., (2001). The skilled helper: a systematic approach to effective helping. 

Mead, N. & Bower, P (2002). Patient-centred consultations and outcomes in primary care: a review of the literature. Patient Education and Counseling. ,48 , pp. 51-61.

Bennett-Levy, J., Richards, D.A. & Farrand, P., et al., eds (2010). The Oxford Guide to Low Intensity CBT Interventions. 

American Psychiatric Association (1994). The diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (DSM) IV. 

Kennerley, H. (1997). Overcoming anxiety.. 

Kroenke, K., Spitzer, R. & Williams, J. (2001). The PHQ–9: validity of a brief depression severity measure. Journal of General Internal Medicine. ,16 , pp. 606–613.

Myles, P. & Rushforth, D (2007). A complete guide to primary care mental health. 

Care Services Improvement Partnership (2006). Primary care services for depression – a guide to best practice, appendix 4: asking about risk. 

Newell, R. & Gournay, K (2000). Mental health nursing: an evidence-based approach. 

Bazire, S. (2003). Psychotropic drug directory 2003/2004: the professionals’ pocket handbook and aide memoire. 

Raistrick, H. & Richards, D. (2006). Designing primary care mental health services. 

Williams, C (2003). Overcoming anxiety: a five areas approach. 

Pullen, I. & Loudon, J. (2006). Improving standards in clinical record-keeping. Advances in Psychiatric Treatment. ,12 , pp. 280–286.

Lovell, K. & Richards, D. (2008). A recovery programme for depression. 

Goldberg, D. & Huxley, P., (1992). Common mental disorders: a biosocial model. 

Pilgrim, D. & Rogers, A. (2005). Sociology of mental health. 

Heron, J (2000). Helping the client: a creative practical guide. 

Department of Health (2000). The NHS Plan: A plan for investment, a plan for reform. 

BMA & RPS (2008). British National Formulary.. 

Silverman, J., Kurtz, S. & Draper, J. (2005). Skills for communicating with patients. 

Depression in Adults (update). Depression: the treatment and management of depression in adults. 

Westbrook, D., Kennerley, H. & Kirk, J (2007). An introduction to cognitive behaviour therapy: skills and applications. 

Appleby, L (2004). The national service framework for mental health – five years on. 

World Health Organization (1992). ICD-10 Classification of mental and behavioural disorders: clinical descriptions and diagnostic guidelines. 

Mead, N. & Bower, P. (2000). Patient-centredness: a conceptual framework and review of the empirical litterature. Social Science and Medicine. ,51 , pp. 1087-1110.


Assessment Strategy

Method of repeat year: 2x failure of assessment 1 leads to immediate withdraw from programme as specified in national curriculum.


Reflective account


MethodPercentage contribution
Assignment  ( words) 100%


MethodPercentage contribution
Assignment %
Reflection %
Standardised symptom and risk assessment %
Triage assessment %

Repeat Information

Repeat type: Internal & External

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