The University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) has begun to provide training in the use of digital therapy as part of its programme for psychological wellbeing practitioners (PWPs).
It said it believes this is the first programme of its type in the country, and has been delivered with software company SilverCloud Health, which provides a digital therapy programmes for mental health.
UCLan has run the sessions for one cohort and is now planning to embed them as part of its regular training for PWPs and expand the approach to cover other therapy courses.
The move reflects the trend towards internet based therapy treatment, in part in response to the Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) programme for the treatment of anxieties and depression in adults.
Although IAPT was launched in 2008, there has been little focus in the curriculum for PWPs on digital therapy, with training being on an ad hoc and ‘on the job’ basis, often relying on suppliers to provide workshops.
A member of the UCLan teaching team and representatives from SilverCloud Health developed the programme, using the company’s software platform but focusing on the wider use of computerised cognitive behavioural therapy and digital health programmes.
The university indicated that the results have been positive, that it is planning to embed in its PWP training and to share its learning with other universities.
Liz Kell, senior lecturer in psychological interventions at UCLan, said: “Internet based treatment is now the mainstay of mental health service delivery models and it is important to recognise this important contribution to a PWP’s toolkit of techniques. Working alongside the developers of these approaches is key to creating a competent workforce for the future.
“The course was unanimously well received and feedback has been positive, with trainees commenting on how useful it was to understand the history and development of digital therapies, and to have time to explore which client groups may best benefit from this approach, including how it can be integrated into different ways of working.”
Image from NICE