Low Intensity Psychological Interventions in the Context of Long-term, Persistent and Distressing Physical Health Conditions

Key information

Start date:

Attendance dates:

To be confirmed

Time commitment: Six months


University teaching will be online via Zoom.

Start date:

Attendance dates:

To be confirmed

Time commitment: Six months


University teaching will be online via Zoom.

Why choose this course?

  • Study on a course commissioned by Health Education England and designed to meet the requirements of the psychological wellbeing practitioners’ long-term conditions national curriculum (Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT), 2017). 
  • Develop the skills, knowledge and competencies required to assess, formulate and treat patients who are presenting with long-term conditions in a low-intensity, IAPT context. 
  • Gain supervised, specialist  experience in an IAPT service. 
  • Learn from a multidisciplinary team of lecturers including, psychologists, psychological wellbeing practitioners and experts by experience. 
  • Get a continuing professional development certificate.  

What you will study

Chronic disease management 

You’ll learn about the principles of chronic disease management and working in multi-disciplinary co-ordinated healthcare systems. 

Understanding long-term conditions 

You’ll develop your knowledge and understanding of some long-term conditions, such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, cardiac disease, diabetes, chronic pain and chronic fatigue. 

Assessment and shared understanding 

You’ll enhance your ability to assess and formulate distress related to long-term health conditions. 

Adapting low-intensity psychological interventions 

You’ll learn how to apply your knowledge and skills of low-intensity interventions to work with distress related to long-term conditions. 

Delivery of psychoeducational groups 

You’ll develop your group facilitation skills to support you to deliver effective psychoeducational groups. 

Clinical placements

You’ll complete a clinical placement as part of this course. This will usually be with an Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) service in the local area, where you’ll typically be employed. Throughout your placement, you’ll have a supervisor who’s a senior clinician. They'll guide you through your experience and feed into your evidence portfolio. Your clinical competencies will be evaluated as part of your practical learning experiences.  


You’ll get to use our Library and its extensive collection of digital learning resources. You’ll also have access to  SurreyLearn (our virtual learning environment) to view course materials. 

Teaching staff

You’ll be taught by a team of experienced clinicians, including psychological wellbeing practitioners, psychologists, and experts by experience. This will help to ensure that what you learn is current and relevant to employers. 

Careers and graduate prospects

We offer careers information, advice and guidance to all students whilst studying with us, which is extended to our alumni for three years after leaving the University. 

On successful completion of this course, you’ll receive a continuing professional development (CPD) certificate in the application of low intensity psychological interventions to distress related to long-term physical health conditions. Please note, this certificate is non-credit bearing. 

Learn more about psychology careers on the BPS website

Course leader

Placeholder image for staff profiles

Dr Laura Driesen

Senior teaching fellow & programme lead (advanced practice in psychological wellbeing)


You’ll complete five days of university teaching, service-based learning in an IAPT service and independent study. 

University teaching and learning  

Your university-based teaching will be delivered through a combination of: 

  • Clinical skills practice sessions 
  • Group work  
  • Lectures 
  • Observation 
  • Peer-based learning. 

Outside of these, you’ll be expected to carry out independent study. 

There may be occasions when the delivery of your teaching is supported by graduate teaching assistants. The University has a set of procedures that govern the use of postgraduate research students in this way. 


Your learning will be delivered through a combination of:  

  • Supervision 
  • Observation 
  • Self-assessment 
  • Clinical work. 

You’ll be expected to keep a log of your clinical activity and supervision. 


To pass the course, you’ll need to successfully complete a portfolio. This will include clinical logs, a reading log, extended reflections on your clinical work and more. 

Check individual module information to see full details at a module level. 

Contact hours

Contact hours can vary across our modules. Full details of the contact hours for each module are available on our module catalogue

Entry requirements

To be eligible to apply for this course, you must be: 

  • A qualified psychological wellbeing practitioner, with at least one year’s post-qualification experience. 
  • Employed by an IAPT service with access to clients presenting with distress related to long-term conditions. 
  • Able to access specialist supervision with a psychological wellbeing practitioner who has attended IAPT supervisor training and the IAPT long-term conditions training, or a high-intensity therapist. 
  • Able to commit to the six-month course duration. 

Fees and funding

NHS commissioned course

Current trainees are full-time salaried employees.

Fees are paid for students recruited onto the programme. No self-funded trainees are accepted onto the programme.

Additional costs

There are additional costs that you can expect to incur when studying at Surrey. 

  • Travelling expenses such as those incurred for travelling between their placement provider and the university. 
  • General programme related costs such as study materials. 

How to apply

All applications should be made directly through your local IAPT service provider. Please speak with your service manager or supervisor for information about applying. 

Terms and conditions

When you accept an offer of a place at the University of Surrey, you are agreeing to comply with our policies and regulations and our terms and conditions. You are also confirming you have read and understood the University's prospective student privacy notice.

Further details of our terms and conditions will follow.


This online prospectus has been prepared and published in advance of the commencement of the course. The University of Surrey has used its reasonable efforts to ensure that the information is accurate at the time of publishing, but changes (for example to course content or additional costs) may occur given the interval between publishing and commencement of the course. It is therefore very important to check this website for any updates before you apply for a course with us. Read more.