Principal Psychologist or Systemic Psychotherapist

South London & Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust
£63,541 to £72,639 a year Per Annum Inc
Closing date
21 Mar 2023

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Band 8B
Contract Type
Full Time
This newly created lead role will bring highly valued Senior Clinical expertise and Psychological leadership to the Care Homes Intervention Team (CHIT) in Lewisham with some time for advice and consultation on Behavioural and Psychological Symptoms of Dementia (BPSD) to the CMHTs across Lambeth, Southwark, Lewisham and Croydon.

The role will be well supported by the Consultant Psychologist lead for our dementia services and will provide senior support and supervision to the psychological therapists in the two other (Lambeth & Southwark and Croydon) CHITs.

Main duties of the job

The postholder will act as a senior clinician in the Lewisham CHIT multi-disciplinary team. This will mean they will lead and support on the implementation of a psychological approach to understanding and addressing BPSD.

As the most senior Psychological Therapist in the CHIT service they would also provide clinical and professional leadership to the Psychological Therapists in the two other CHITs. They would also have some dedicated time to support and advise CMHT staff on psychological approaches to BPSD. The post is well supported by an experienced Consultant Psychologist who is based in the acute inpatient unit for dementia. The dementia inpatient units and the CHITs follow the Newcastle model of Challenging Behaviour and so are psychological informed teams.

As a senior member of the Psychology & Psychotherapy specialty the post holder would also contribute to effective and safe provision of Psychological assessment and intervention in the service.

You would also provide supervision and consultation to prequalified psychological therapists as well as other disciplines. This requires experience in working and communicating with a range of people and being able to support and facilitate whilst leading as a senior member of the service.

We are proud to offer flexible working as part of our new ways of working, and we are happy to talk flexible working at the interview stage.

About us

We are committed to get the very best out of our staff and support staff in their career aspirations. We have career pathways available, where you will be able to develop your skills and build on your experience to progress into other roles across different specialties.

For this role, we offer career pathways to Consultant Psychologist or Psychotherapist level. In addition, we offer ongoing training and development in management and recruitment as well as a broad range of applied psychological approaches.

The Lewisham CHIT is led by a very experienced Occupational Therapist and the supervising Consultant Clinical Psychologist established the CHIT model and so has really sound knowledge and understanding of the work of the CHIT teams.

The Lewisham CHIT is based at 91 Granville Park, Lewisham SE13 7DW. The Croydon CHIT is based at Purley Resource Centre, Pampisford Road, CR8 and the Lambeth and Southwark CHIT are based at Greenvale at Streatham Common South, SW16. The CMHTs are based across various bases including at Denmark Hill, SE5 (Lambeth & Southwark); Heavers Resource Centre at 122 Selhurst Road, SE25 6LL (Croydon) and 91 Granville Park, SE13 (Lewisham). Some meetings are still taking place via videocall so onsite presence is not always required.

Our Trust headquarters is located at Denmark Hill less than 5 minutes from the train station (zone 2) and is within walking distance from the green spaces of Ruskin park and the vibrant high-street.

Job description Job responsibilities

Clinical and Client Care
  • To work with care home staff and residents to develop and provide highly specialist psychological assessments, formulations, care plans and interventions for clients with the behavioural and psychological symptoms of dementia (BPSD) and for older people living in care homes with other mental health difficulties
  • To work effectively within the multi-disciplinary team, hold a joint clinical leadership role, advising other members of the service on specialist psychological care and contribute to effective team functioning
  • To select and administer highly specialist psychological assessments, interpreting and integrating highly complex data drawn from a range of sources
  • To select and deliver evidence based psychological treatments, monitoring outcome and modifying and adapting interventions, drawing on a range of theoretical models
  • To develop new ways of working in the P&P service using best practice and NICE guidelines for the behavioural and psychological symptoms of dementia (BPSD)
  • To provide culturally appropriate psychological interventions with carers or families of referred clients when required.
  • To assess and monitor risk and draw up appropriate risk management plans.
  • To provide psychological reports, including relevant formulation, opinion and interventions in order to inform referrers and where appropriate service users.
  • To act as care co-ordinator (where appropriate) taking responsibility for initiating planning and reviewing care plans e.g., CPA meetings.
  • To respond appropriately and professionally to emotionally distressing situations and to support others involved in such situations
  • To communicate skillfully and sensitively highly complex and sensitive information with service users, relatives and care staff, taking account of senory and cultural barriers to communication

Contributing to team or service clinical functioning
  • To contribute to the effective working of the team or service and to a psychologically informed framework for the service.
  • To contribute to the team or services delivery of accessible and acceptable services to diverse local communities.
  • To be proactive in challenging discrimination and support the development of culturally competent services.
  • To advise other members of the service on specialist psychological care of clients.
  • To liaise with referrers, GPs and other professionals concerned with clients in order to develop and review care plans.
  • To utilise theory, evidence-based literature and research to support evidence based practice in individual work and work with other team members.

Management, recruitment, policy and service development
  • To contribute to the ongoing development of the service in conjunction with managers, senior clinicians and commissioners by initiating and implementing service development projects
  • To implement policies and procedures in own area of work, and to propose improvements or beneficial changes.
  • To contribute to the consultation and engagement of service users in planning and delivering services which meet the needs of local communities.
  • To lead or participate in the recruitment of more junior psychological therapists as well as other disciplines as appropriate

Teaching and Training and Supervision
  • To implement a process consultancy approach within care homes that will include the provision of workshops and training with care home staff.
  • To provide highly specialist psychological consultation and professional and clinical supervision to colleagues and others and to contribute to a psychologically informed framework within the service
  • To plan and undertake teaching and training of pre and post- qualification psychological therapists and specialised training to other professions as appropriate.
  • To contribute to the development of the knowledge and skills base within both the P&P service & MHCHIT by maintaining an active awareness of current developments in psychology and its application to the needs of older people, including those with BPSD and by implementing knowledge gained in practice
  • To receive regular clinical and professional supervision from a more senior psychological therapist trainee applied psychological therapists
  • To oversee clinical and professional (and if appropriate line management) supervision for more junior psychological therapy staff

Research and Service Evaluation
  • To initiate, undertake, support and supervise regular complex service evaluation and audits.
  • To contribute to the development of effective activity and outcome measurement and assist other staff in the implementation of the same and ensure staff are completing outcome measures
  • To initiate appropriate research and provide research advice and supervision to other staff undertaking research within the service
  • To disseminate research and service evaluation findings through presentations and published articles.

General Responsibilities
  • To travel to community settings as appropriate and across the Trust when required.
  • To be aware of risk relating to aggressive and challenging behaviour amongst the client group, and follow trust policies relating to its management.
  • To ensure that all information generated by own work is recorded as required by Trust policies and local procedures.
  • To maintain the highest standards of clinical record keeping and report writing, according to professional and Trust guidelines, including electronic data entry.
  • To ensure own Continuing Professional Development in line with professional registration and Trust requirements
  • To maintain an up-to-date knowledge of current developments in professional and clinical practice and of relevant legislation and policies.
  • To comply with relevant professional codes of conduct and standards and ensure professional development in line with these.
  • To adhere to the Trust policies and procedures.

Person Specification Qualifications and Professional Registration Essential
  • Entry-level qualification in Applied Psychology (professional Doctorate, or combination of MSc plus PG Diploma level additional training) that has been accepted by the HCPC for purposes of professional registration as a Practitioner Psychologist. Or a core mental health profession with MSc in Systemic Psychotherapy
  • Completed training in clinical supervision
  • Registered with the HCPC as Practitioner Psychologist, and evidence of continuing professional development as required by the HCPC or registration with UKCP as a Systemic Psychotherapist
  • Additional training in a specialised area of psychological practice (eg systemic therapy, functional analysis) through formal post-qualification training (PG Diploma or equivalent), OR a combination of specialist short courses, or an evidenced portfolio of supervised practice-based learning in a specialist area of clinical practice, assessed by an experienced clinical supervisor to be of equal level to a Postgraduate Diploma
Knowledge Essential
  • Knowledge of the theory and practice of specialised psychological assessments and interventions for older people and/or challenging behaviour
  • Advanced knowledge of psychological assessment and clinical psychometrics
  • Knowledge of legislation in relation to the client group and mental health issues, child and adult safeguarding, and equalities
  • Postgraduate level knowledge of psychological research methodology and complex statistical analysis
  • Knowledge of factors affecting acceptability and accessibility of mental health care
  • Awareness of racial and diversity issues through attendance of relevant training
  • Theoretical knowledge of psychopathology and the evidence base for the relevant treatment
  • Specialist knowledge and understanding of theory and practice of assessment and intervention with Behavioural and Psychological Symptoms of Dementia
Experience Essential
  • Evidence of having worked as a clinical specialist under supervision in relevant (eg brain injury, learning disability, older people's services)
  • Supervised experience in preferably at least one model of psychological intervention
  • Experience of specialist psychological assessment and treatment of clients with a range of psychological needs of a complex nature
  • Experience of supervising prequalified and qualified psychological therapists or other staff
  • Post-qualification experience that supports working within multicultural framework, and addressing issues of, diversity within local communities
  • Experience of carrying out post-doctoral research, audit or service evaluation projects
  • Experience of providing high quality teaching and training to psychologists and other professional groups
Skills and Abilities

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