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Clinical/Counselling Psychologist/Autism practitioner

Central & North West London NHS Foundation Trust
Brent/Kensington and Chelsea
£46,836 to £52,849 a year p.a. inc HCAS (P.T. pro rata)
Closing date
30 Jan 2023

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Are you looking for a unique opportunity to make a difference? Do you want to be part of shaping the Autism agenda across North West London? Are you a clinician looking for your next big challenge?

An exciting opportunity has arisen for an exceptional candidate to support the urgent care pathway for autistic people experiencing a mental health crisis and improve their experience of inpatient mental health settings.

You will be a skilled professional who works in a non-aversive, person centred and therapeutic way. Your main task will be to support your colleagues and individual service users to better identify and support autistic people in the care pathway in order to improve outcomes and provide a better experience for autistic people.

Main duties of the job

The post holder will:
  • Identify and flag autistic people in inpatient /crisis services and track their pathway of care throughout their hospital journey;
  • Offer in-reach support and advice to MDTs in local mainstream mental inpatient services to improve care and treatment and reduce length of stay for autistic patients;
  • Attend and contribute to Care and Treatment Reviews for autistic patients in local mainstream inpatient services;
  • Support the senior psychologist in the autism acute care pathway in providing person centred consultancy, advice and training to key clinicians in mental health services, police, probation and other local services as appropriate;
  • Undertake screening prior to referring to local diagnostic pathway where patients are suspected of being autistic;
  • Provide comprehensive assessment within an inpatient environment when this is providing a barrier to discharge;


It is expected that this work will support improved outcomes and provide a better experience of care for autistic people by:
  • Building sustainable local autism expertise within mental health trusts, in particular adult acute inpatient wards but also health-based places of safety and crisis services where applicable;
  • Reducing admissions and re-admissions;
  • Reducing length of stay;
  • Reducing number of incidents
  • Reducing reliance on the use of psychotropic drugs; and
  • Improving staff confidence and willingness to make reasonable adjustments.

About us

Based flexibly across inpatient services (Brent and Kensington & Chelsea), you will work closely with the senior psychologists, Senior Leadership team, MDT and Experts by Experience to support the acute autism pathway.

Job description Job responsibilities

  • To provide a comprehensive service to service users within acute inpatient wards.
  • To provide initial screening of patients for autism traits including development of a formulation regarding the purpose of the admission and brief interventions that support transition to the least restrictive environment and/or making recommendations with regards to these to the wider MDT. Initial screening will be based upon the appropriate use, interpretation and integration of complex data from a variety of sources including, self-report measures, rating scales, direct and indirect structured observations and semi-structured interviews with service users and others involved in the clients care.
  • To provide formulation, co-consultation and implementation of bespoke care plans for the formal psychological treatment and/or management of a service users mental health problems/high risk behaviours, based upon an appropriate conceptual framework of the service users problems, ensuring that alternative approaches are considered and reasonable adjustments made by the MDT.
  • To implement a range of interventions for individuals and groups, employed individually and in synthesis, adjusting and refining formulations, drawing upon different explanatory models and maintaining a number of provisional hypotheses.
  • To evaluate and make decisions about treatment options taking into account both theoretical and therapeutic models and highly complex factors concerning historical, environmental and developmental processes that have shaped the individual, family or group, and the constraints and restrictions imposed by working in an inpatient environment. that the potential variations in cognitive style, communication, narrative and value system that might come with autism are routinely taken into account by all clinicians.
  • To exercise autonomous professional responsibility for the assessment, initiation and termination of psychological treatment in accordance with CPA procedures
  • To provide specialist consultation, advice and support on intervention approaches to the management of autistic service users who present with a range of mental health difficulties, who are being seen by other professional staff in the team and to referrers in secondary, tertiary, community and primary care mental health systems.
  • To provide on-going risk assessment and management of those with suspected and/or diagnosed autism, including the use of formal risk assessment procedures where appropriate, and to provide advice to other professions on aspects of risk assessment and risk reduction.
  • To communicate the outcome of assessment and therapeutic interventions to the referrer, the multi-disciplinary team and the wider health and social care system, as appropriate.
  • To communicate in a skilled and sensitive manner with service users and other professionals in relation to all aspects of the post-holders work, including advisory and support services.
  • To provide expertise, advice and support to facilitate the effective and appropriate provision of psychological care by all members of the team.

  • Person Specification Qualifications Essential
    • Doctoral level or equivalent training in clinical psychology or Core profession in mental health or social care leading to statutory registration and further specialist training in autism.
    Experience Essential
    • Experience of specialist autism assessment and treatment of clients across a range of care settings.
    • Experience of providing assessment, formulation and interventions for autistic people
    • Experience of working with a wide variety of client groups, across the whole life course presenting problems that reflect the full range of clinical severity including maintaining a high degree of professionalism in the face of highly emotive and distressing problems, verbal abuse and the threat of physical abuse.
    • Experience of working with autistic adult service users who present with complex mental health problems
    • Experience of contributing to MDT care planning meetings.
    • Experience of teaching, training and/or supervision.
    • Experience of the application of clinical psychology in different cultural contexts.
    • Experience of working with autistic adults in an acute inpatient environment.
    • Experience of working as a psychological therapist
    • Specialist knowledge, both theoretical and practical, of clinical practice principles.
    • Knowledge and understanding of Autistic Spectrum Disorder and related guidance/ legislation
    • Skills in the use of complex methods of assessment and intervention frequently requiring sustained and intense concentration
    • Well-developed skills in the ability to communicate effectively, orally and in writing, complex, highly technical and/or clinically sensitive information to clients, their families, carers and other professional colleagues both within and outside the NHS.
    • Able to plan, prioritise and organise own service user caseload, treatment programmes (individual or group) involving other staff, and other aspects of the work such as research activity
    • Keyboard skills
    • Able to complete satisfactorily breakaway training
    • Able to use database, word processing and test administration/scoring software
    • Evidence of continuing professional development
    • Specialist theoretical and practical knowledge of the assessment and treatment of complex mental health problems.
    • Theoretical knowledge of harm reduction initiatives and interventions within an acute inpatient setting.
    • Knowledge of legislation in relation to the client group and mental health, including the Mental Health Act and Mental Capacity Act.
    • Skills in providing consultation to other professional and non-professional groups
    • Knowledge of assessments for Autistic Spectrum Disorder, in particular ADOS-2, ADI-R and AAA assessments.
    OTHER Essential
    • Ability to teach and train others, using a variety of complex multi-media materials suitable for presentations within public, professional and academic settings.
    • Ability to identify and employ mechanisms of clinical governance as appropriate, to support and maintain clinical practice in the face of regular exposure to highly emotive material and challenging behaviour.
    • Experience of working within a multicultural framework.

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