Advanced Practice in Psychological Wellbeing PGCert - 2023/4

Awarding body

University of Surrey

Teaching institute

University of Surrey


FHEQ Level 7

Final award and programme/pathway title

PGCert Advanced Practice in Psychological Wellbeing

Professional recognition

British Psychological Society (BPS)
Accredited by the British Psychological Society (BPS) against the requirements for qualification as a Psychological Wellbeing Practitioner.

Modes of study

Route code Credits and ECTS Credits
Full-time PLD55002 60 credits and 30 ECTS credits

JACs code


QAA Subject benchmark statement (if applicable)

Other internal and / or external reference points


Faculty and Department / School

Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences - Psychology

Programme Leader

DRIESEN Laura (Psychology)

Date of production/revision of spec


Educational aims of the programme

Programme learning outcomes

Attributes Developed Awards Ref.

Attributes Developed

C - Cognitive/analytical

K - Subject knowledge

T - Transferable skills

P - Professional/Practical skills

Programme structure


This programme is studied full-time over one year, consisting of 60 credits at FHEQ level 7.

Programme Adjustments (if applicable)



Opportunities for placements / work related learning / collaborative activity

Associate Tutor(s) / Guest Speakers / Visiting Academics N
Professional Training Year (PTY) N
Placement(s) (study or work that are not part of PTY) N
Clinical Placement(s) (that are not part of the PTY scheme) Y Yes
Study exchange (Level 5) N
Dual degree N

Other information

Programme overview

The APPW programme is accredited by the British Psychological Society. The programme meets the requirements of the PWP national training curriculum and the University of Surrey's curriculum framework. It is designed to enable trainees to develop the skills, knowledge and competencies that they need to achieve professional recognition (and employment) as PWPs in NHS Talking Therapies for Anxiety and Depression contexts.

Programme structure

The APPW programme lasts 12 months full-time or 18 months part-time. It has a 4-module structure. There are 30 university taught days and 15 days of university directed self-study, As required by the British Psychological Society, at least 50% of all university taught days involve clinical skills practice. The programme is delivered in partnership with local NHS Talking Therapies for Anxiety and Depression services who employ trainees for the duration of their training. Through this partnership, trainees are provided with many opportunities to apply their university-based learning in practice and to accrue the clinical experiences they require to pass the programme. These include the clinical and supervision hours and experiences specified in the PWP national training curriculum.

During the first 6 months of training, trainees typically attend university two days a week and undertake supervised clinical practice on non-university days. For the remaining duration of training, trainees predominantly work in their employing service where they continue to hone their clinical skills and to progress their academic assessments. Throughout this period trainees are supported by their clinical supervisors and the university programme team (via tutorials).

The learning journey

The University of Surrey's APPW programme aims to develop highly reflective and self-aware trainees who demonstrate sophisticated levels of criticality and meta-competence. This is because these competencies have been associated with enhanced health service delivery, better patient care and effective decision making. They are therefore essential skills for PWPs.

The emphasis on developing critically reflective practitioners means that training is structured to optimise trainees' opportunities to enhance this skill. This is whilst simultaneously advancing their ability to assess and treat adult patients who are presenting with mild-moderate common mental health difficulties. University teaching therefore begins with an introduction to module PSYM129 (values, diversity and context). This is because critical reflection is a core concept of this module. By taking this as the starting point, trainees are actively enabled to begin to progress this skill from the beginning of training so that it can be built on in all subsequent modules.

Having received an introduction to the values, diversity and context module (PYSM129), trainees progress consecutively through modules PSYM126, PSYM127 and the remainder of PSYM129. The rationale for this structure is to enable trainees to gradually advance, deepen and broaden their clinical practice. This is because each module is designed to build on the skills and knowledge that were acquired during previous ones. Specifically, trainees begin by learning how to engage and assess patients (PSYM126). They then undertake module PSYM127 which enables them to strengthen the engagement skills that they developed in module PSYM126 whilst also growing new intervention competencies. Subsequently, module PSYM129 helps trainees to apply the assessment and intervention skills that they developed in modules PSYM126 and PSYM127 in more nuanced ways. It does this by honing their capacity to critically reflect on values, diversity and context. Throughout the year, trainees partake in module PSYM128 (evidencing your practice). This practice-based module is designed to help trainees to apply their university-based learning (from modules PSYM126, PSYM127 and PSYM129) in practice. It also provides an opportunity for trainees to build the kinds of professional and transferable skills that are required by PWP employers.

The programme's assessment design also supports trainees to apply their learning from assignment feedback across modules. For example, trainees are provided with guidance on how they can improve their future written work as part of their assignment feedback. They are then required to reflect on how they have applied prior feedback from previous assignments in subsequent submissions. .

The programme's pedagogical approach is one of reflective learning. This is because this approach supports trainees to develop their capacity to manage their learning independently and autonomously. This is a competence that trainees require post-qualification when they become responsible for their ongoing professional development. The rationale for endorsing reflective learning is also supported by research which has associated reflective capacity with enhanced decision making, better patient care and improved health service delivery. The specific methods of teaching and learning used to facilitate reflection across the programme include case and problem-based learning, reflective practice groups, interactive lectures, independent study and clinical skills practice sessions.

In relation to the programme's assessments, these are designed to be authentic. This means that they aim to assess the competencies that PWPs require in practice. There is also a significant emphasis on using assessment to support learning. This is evident in the programme's extensive use of self and peer-based assessment across all modules. Trainees must achieve a pass on all pass / fail assignments and at least 50% at FHEQ level 7 on all graded assignments to pass the programme.


To be eligible to register on the programme trainees should;

- Normally hold a previously accumulated credit volume of 360 FHEQ Level 4-6 credits (achieved to 2:1), of which at least 120 will be at FHEQ Level 6.
- Have recent experience in a relevant healthcare setting.

The University of Surrey's Curriculum Framework

In line with Surreys Curriculum Framework, the programme is committed to developing practitioners who exhibit strengths in Employability, Digital Capabilities, Global and Cultural capabilities, Sustainability and Resourcefulness and Resilience. This programme aims to develop trainees' strengths in these areas in the following ways:


The APPW is a professional training programme that prepares trainees for employment (and registration) as PWPs. Given this, the programme emphasises professionalism and ethical conduct with all trainees being expected to exhibit the values and principles espoused in the NHS constitution and the British Psychological Society's ethical framework. The programme also supports trainees to accrue the kinds of transferable skills required by PWP employers through supervised clinical practice, case-based group learning and written assessments. These skills include communication skills, teamwork and time management.

Resourcefulness and resilience

PWPs must demonstrate resilience in managing the demands of high-volume working with emotionally distressed patients. They also need to show resourcefulness in relation to problem solving ethical dilemmas and working both independently and co-operatively in developing their knowledge and skills. The ability to maintain one's professional development is a key principle of ethical practice and a requirement for registration post-qualification. It follows that the APPW programme use methods of teaching and learning that actively support trainees to acquire these attributes. For example, trainees are helped to develop a tolerance and openness to feedback through the extensive use of clinical skills practice sessions that incorporate peer and self-assessment. Equally, trainees' ability to refine their decision-making skills and to enhance their capacity to learn collaboratively is promoted through case-based learning opportunities. Autonomy and independence are facilitated through the provision of online resources.

Digital capabilities

PWPs must exhibit high levels of digital literacy in their clinical practice and to support them to undertake their studies. For example, they need to be able to provide patient consultations using online platforms, use databases to retrieve research, navigate web-based guided self-help programmes and maintain accurate clinical records using electronic patient management systems. It follows that trainees are supported to develop their digital capabilities throughout training using varied methods. For example, these are promoted in practice via on-the job coaching and mentoring. At university, trainees are required to use the University of Surrey's virtual learning environment, video conferencing and online research databases. Digital competencies are assessed as part of module PSYM126 which requires trainees to assess a pretend patient via video conferencing. They are also required for the written assignments across all modules given that these require trainees to source literature using online research databases.

Global and cultural

PWPs must demonstrate meta-competence in their ability to work sensitively and effectively with equality, diversity and inclusion. They need to be able to work respectfully with diverse clients (and colleagues) as part of multi-disciplinary teams and to engage with the wider contextual factors that are relevant to this area. The importance of this meta-competence means that global and cultural issues are explored across all programme modules using methods such as engagement with experts by experience, case studies and group discussion. Trainees' competencies in these domains are deepened in module PSYM129 given that this is primarily concerned with values, diversity and context. As part of this module reflective practice groups are used to enable trainees to explore themselves (and their practice) in these regards with their peers. Trainees' ability to critically reflect on diversity and inclusion is assessed in all written assessments which require them critique the evidence based that informs their practice and to critically reflect on how their practice is shaped by their personal, organisational and socio-political contexts. The assessments for module PSYM129 focus exclusively on this.


PWPs work with patients whose mental health can be impacted by sustainability issues such as health inequalities and climate change. Trainees must therefore develop an understanding of the how mental health difficulties and sustainability concerns inter-relate to inform their case conceptualisations. PWPs should also understand their role in positively addressing sustainability problems through more systemic action. Trainees' development in this area is supported through case-based learning in modules PSYM126 and PSYM127. This is deepened in module PSYM129 which is more specifically concerned with this topic.

Quality assurance

The Regulations and Codes of Practice for taught programmes can be found at:

Please note that the information detailed within this record is accurate at the time of publishing and may be subject to change. This record contains information for the most up to date version of the programme / module for the 2023/4 academic year.