CYP IAPT Alumnus Olivia Edmondson talks about her experience as a CYP IAPT trainee and current role

28th June 2016 By: irina.nedelcu@annafreud.org

CYP IAPT Alumnus Olivia Edmondson talks about her experience as a CYP IAPT trainee and current role as CYP IAPT Core Skills Assistant Module Lead at the Anna Freud National Centre for Children and Families 

I started IAPT training in January 2014 as an IPT student. When I started I was sceptical; I had worked in an adult IAPT service whilst doing my Clinical Psychology training and I struggled to imagine how the same principles could apply to the work I was doing in a team for adolescents with complex needs. Although my uncertainty didn't disappear immediately - the first few weeks were a whirl of information and new faces - as the year progressed and I got more confident with my therapy modality the concepts underlying IAPT began to make much more sense for my clinical practice.  

A real strength about the course for me was its flexibility - 4 months into the course I got a new role in my team working specifically with young people with First Episode Psychosis. I was unsure about how IAPT principles, and my IPT training, would adapt to this new client group, but staff were always available and willing to help me tailor the course to the needs of my young people and my service. I also really appreciated the opportunity to get out of the clinic every week and spend time actually thinking about my practice and the young people that I was working with. In a busy NHS setting it can feel like you are bouncing from one session to another without much time to think about what you're doing and the IAPT course forces you to take a step back and really evaluate how you are working.   

I have now been part of the course team for 6 months, having joined as CYP IAPT Core Skills Assistant Module Lead and have relished the opportunity to be involved in a course that benefited me so much. As an IAPT student I hadn't realised how seriously staff took our feedback, sometimes it could feel tokenistic to have to fill in feedback questionnaires every session. However every meeting I go to now is focused on improving the course and trying to put feedback into practice either for the current students or for next year's cohort. It's also been a real privilege to get to know this year's cohort whose trainees come from a really diverse range of clinical settings. This can bring its challenges for the course in trying to ensure the relevance of every lecture for every student, but the advantages of studying with people from a range of services feels like it outweighs any challenges. 

I think as a student the stresses and anxieties stay the same year on year - writing assignments if you haven't done academic work for a long time, getting your head around all the paperwork for your therapy module, not turning up at the wrong building on the wrong day. There is no way of getting around some of these stresses and the course is a serious academic undertaking. But the payoff at the end and the impact on my own clinical practice was worth the hours of assignment writing and any additional stresses. 

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