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Training Frontline Mental Health Staff to Deliver “Low Intensity” Psychological Therapy for Psychosis: A Qualitative Analysis of Therapist and Service User Views on the Therapy and its Future Implementation

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  23 October 2013

Helen Waller*
Institute of Psychiatry, King's College London, UK
Philippa Garety
Institute of Psychiatry, King's College London, UK
Suzanne Jolley
Institute of Psychiatry, King's College London, UK
Miriam Fornells-Ambrojo
University College London, and South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust, UK
Elizabeth Kuipers
Institute of Psychiatry, King's College London, UK
Juliana Onwumere
Institute of Psychiatry, King's College London, UK
Anna Woodall
Institute of Psychiatry, King's College London, UK
Tom Craig
Institute of Psychiatry, King's College London, UK
Reprint requests to Helen Waller, Department of Psychology, PO77, Institute of Psychiatry, Kings College London, de Crespigny Park, London SE5 8AF, UK. E-mail:


Background: Increasing access to evidence-based talking therapies for people with psychosis is a national health priority. We have piloted a new, “low intensity” (LI) CBT intervention specifically designed to be delivered by frontline mental health staff, following brief training, and with ongoing supervision and support. A pilot feasibility study has demonstrated significant improvement in service user outcomes. This study is a qualitative analysis of the experiences of the staff and service users taking part in the evaluation. Aims: To evaluate the acceptability of the training protocol and the therapy, and to examine the factors promoting and restraining implementation. Method: All trained staff and service users completed a semi-structured interview that was transcribed and subjected to thematic analysis. Results: Service users spoke about learning new skills and achieving their goals. Staff spoke about being able to use a brief, structured intervention to achieve positive outcomes for their clients. Both groups felt that longer, more sophisticated interventions were required to address more complex problems. The positive clinical outcomes motivated therapists to continue using the approach, despite organizational barriers. Conclusions: For both trained staff and service users, taking part in the study was a positive experience. Staff members’ perceived skill development and positive reaction to seeing their clients improve should help to promote implementation. Work is needed to clarify whether and how more complex difficulties should be addressed by frontline staff.

Research Article
Copyright © British Association for Behavioural and Cognitive Psychotherapies 2013 

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