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Dual Diagnosis Lead/Counsellor

Oxleas NHS Foundation Trust
£42,471 to £50,364 a year pa inc
Closing date
24 Jul 2024

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Mental health, Counsellor / Psychotherapist
Band 6
Contract Type
Full Time
This role will work as a key member of the mental health team in HMP Swaleside. The Dual Diagnosis post will support people recovering from mental health issues and coexisting substance misuse needs through developing and maintaining links with local partners in the prison - particularly mental health partners - and providing direct short-term case management support to people using the service.

Main duties of the job

The Dual Diagnosis/Counsellor will offer a range of support to promote personal recovery and independence

  • Support a short-term caseload of clients providing solution-focused support with issues such as mental health/substance misuse
  • Crisis Planning - promoting self-management through individuals building an understanding of their own triggers/coping strategies.
  • Liaison and joint case management with key partners and involved professionals, including GP, Crisis teams, and wider stakeholders within the prison
  • Active Referrals/Signposting - working with individuals to identify resources/services within the prison to meet their needs and providing appropriate support to access these effectively.
  • Group-work - delivering psychological programmes that support self-management and recovery and trauma.
  • Peer Support - Strength-based approach concentrating on the inherent strengths of an individual to aid recovery and empowerment.

About us

Oxleas offers a wide range of NHS healthcare services to people in community and secure environment settings. Our services include community health care such as district nursing and speech and language therapy, care for people with learning disabilities and mental health care such as psychiatry, nursing and therapies. Our multidisciplinary teams look after people of all ages and we work in close partnership with other parts of the NHS, local councils and the voluntary sector and through our new provider collaboratives. Our 4,300 members of staff work in many different settings including hospitals, clinics, prisons, secure hospitals, children's centres, schools and people's homes.

We have over 125 sites in a variety of locations in the South of England. In London we operate within the Boroughs of Bexley, Bromley Greenwich and into Kent. We manage hospital sites including Queen Mary's Hospital, Sidcup and Memorial Hospital, Woolwich, as well as the Bracton Centre, our medium secure unit for people with mental health needs. We are the largest NHS provider of prison health services providing healthcare to prisons within Devon, Dorset, Bristol, Wiltshire and Gloucestershire, Kent and South London. We are proud of the care we provide and our people.Our purpose is to improve lives by providing the best possible care to our patients and their families. This is strengthened by our new values:

o We're Kind o We're Fair o We Listen o We Care

Job description

Job responsibilities

  • To oversee the dual diagnosis caseload of service users with complex mental health needs.
  • To work with service users to identify goals as part of the multi-disciplinary care plan, using specialist mental health assessment tools & treatment techniques.
  • To work with service user peer workers and junior staff to deliver appropriate counselling and psychological groups and interventions to patients with a dual diagnosis.
  • To plan, co-ordinate & implement individual and group interventions, using graded activity to achieve therapeutic goals.
  • To plan, co-ordinate and oversee dual diagnosis HMP Swaleside
  • Contribute to the provision of the forensic therapies service, Specialties Directorate, by undertaking counselling/therapy with individual clients, or when appropriate, in groups. Using communication and relationship skills to undertake assessment of clients referred to the service by GPs, probation officers or other professionals including risk assessment, to develop an appropriate model in which to work and, where necessary, to refer on to appropriate services. This client group includes those with diverse and complex psychological and mental health needs and on occasion, clients may present with aggression, hostility or verbally abusive behaviour.
  • To prioritise and manage own client caseload.
  • To exercise professional responsibility for the assessment, intervention and discharge of clients, using highest level of interpersonal and communication skills when presenting and receiving complex, sensitive and contentious information to clients, family, support workers and other professionals
  • To maintain up to date clear client records and case notes in line with the policies and procedures and service standards of the Trust.
  • To provide psychological therapy/counselling, collaboratively with clients including:

a) Assessments: Psychometric assessments required of the service observational assessment assessment by interviewing assessment by analysis of archive material, multi-disciplinary notes and discussions, reviews, and supervision.

b) Interventions: Counselling and other psychological therapies as appropriate

c) With a range of presenting problems primarily including Anxiety, Depression, trauma but including the full range of primary and secondary care mental health difficulties.
  • To provide guidance and advice to relevant significant others (such as prison staff and other criminal justice professionals) in order to improve the psychological health of clients.
  • To provide advice to other professionals within and external to the multi-disciplinary team, and agencies that provide services to this client group.
  • To keep adequate clinical records in accordance with Trust guidelines, the BABCP/UKCP/BACP or BPS Division of Counselling Psychology and DoH guidance
  • To frequently sit in a restricted position for substantial proportion of working time during clinical sessions and meetings, requiring long periods of concentration
  • Dealing with frequent highly distressing situations i.e. clients with severely distressing mental health experiences, past and current abuse. Dealing with unpleasant working conditions i.e. verbal aggression, physical threats from client, family or others. The job requires mental and emotional effort working in busy prison environments.
  • Clinically supervise and manage the EWB mentors clinical activities under the governance of the Integrated Mental Health Service
  • Liaise with the prison activities to support payment of the EWB mentors.

Management responsibilities
  • To provide information and guidance to other primary care and mental health staff on the issues of psychological therapy.
  • To attend meetings when required, within the working times of your post.
  • To maintain statistical data.
  • To liaise, collaborate and communicate with GPs and other criminal justice practitioners in the care and treatment of clients. This may also include the communication of sensitive information requiring knowledge and skills of data protection issues.
  • To support with the supervision and line management of assistant psychologists and other non-clinical staff.
  • To contribute and lead on the operational delivery of the EWB scheme within HMP Swaleside.

  • To provide courses/seminars/workshops/presentations relevant to counselling.
  • To sit on relevant working groups of the service as required.

  • To use published research and information on good practice regularly to keep clinical practice up-to-date and evidence based
  • Participate in discussion and review regarding the development and evaluation of the locality counselling service.
  • To undertake clinically relevant evaluation within the locality psychological therapy service.
  • To provide information relating to the post-holders clinical and administrative activities as determined by the management of the Trust and the psychological therapy service

  • Clinicians within forensic psychological therapies and clinicians within Oxleas NHS Foundation Trust mental health practitioners within integrated MH services
  • Senior Trust Officials, when indicated or appropriate i.e. service development
  • General Practitioners and GPs with special interest.
  • Service providers from both statutory and voluntary organisations e.g. Adult Mental Health Services, CAMHS, Social Services, criminal justice system,
  • Maintain accurate written record

Custodial Responsibilities
  • Assume personal responsibility for the security of issued keys.
  • Understand and comply with prison orders, procedures, and instructions in your area of work.
  • Comply with all security requirements.
  • Respond to any situation or circumstance that might indicate a threat to security of the establishment or to the safety of an individual, completing Incident, Security, Injury, or other reports as appropriate.
  • Report breaches of order and discipline including reporting and recording untoward incidents according to local protocol.
  • Contribute to effective risk assessment and management procedures.

All applicants must be willing to undertake National Security Vetting in order to work in a Prison Setting. This will be completed as part of the pre-employment checks through Oxleas and the prison vetting team.

You will need to provide:

Proof of right to work documentation

Proof of ID, needs to include 1 photographicID

Proof of address documentation

Non-UK passport holders will need to have correct documentation (right to work in the UK) and a Home office Share code.

Address History:

5 years address history will be needed.

Applicants that are not UK Passport holders who provide less than 5 years UK address history will need to provide a Police Certificate which must be in English from where they resided previously.

Applicants who are UK Passport holders who have lived abroad for a period of more than six months during the last three years will need to provide a certificate of good conduct or an overseas police check in English from the countries resided in or visited .

In order to assist you in obtaining a Police Certificate, guidance can be sought from:

If the country you have resided in is not listed here, you can obtain the necessary information by contacting the relevant Embassy or High Commission for that Country. Their contact details can be found on the Foreign & Commonwealth Office website (

Person Specification



  • Recognised professional counselling qualification at Diploma level or above.
  • Accredited or registered with CPC, UKCP, BACP or other appropriate accrediting body.
  • If Counselling Psychology qualification, registration with accredited professional body is essential.



  • Minimum of 2 years post qualification
  • Recent and relevant experience of working with clients experiencing issues with substance misuse


  • Forensic Experience
  • Evidence of working with complex mental health and substance misuse service users within in-patient and/or community settings
  • Able to apply advanced understanding of physical, psychological and social needs of complex mental health and substance mis-users - dual diagnosis



  • Professional knowledge and skills acquired through counselling training.
  • To work effectively with a wide range of clients with complex needs and presenting concerns.
  • To understand addiction and challenges for people using substances

Employer details

Employer name

Oxleas NHS Foundation Trust


HMP Swaleside

Brabazon Rd, Eastchurch, Isle of Sheppey


ME12 4AX

Any attachments will be accessible after you click to apply.


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