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Mental Health Familiarisation Placement

All psychotherapy students are required by the United Kingdom Council for Psychotherapy (UKCP) to evidence at least 120 hours of MHF training in addition to their regular psychotherapy training and clinical placement hours. The general aim of this additional requirement is to ensure students are familiar with the thinking and clinical methods used in the psychiatric profession and the main mental health delivery systems in Britain. Students also need to understand the issues that affect those who access or require mental health services outside of psychotherapy; for this reason, no less than 14 hours (and ideally more) of the MHF training must be experiential i.e. spent with individuals who have complex, significant, enduring or exceptional mental health needs.

You need to keep a log of your MHF training activity in the form of an MHF Portfolio (which can be found on the placements page of Moodle). Ideally this will be compiled over the course of the clinical training. Once you have met all of the learning outcomes (see below) and accrued the appropriate numbers of MHF training hours, the MHF Portfolio should be forwarded to your director of studies at least 3 months before you sit your final oral examination.

To complete your MHF training you need to ensure that you meet the following learning outcomes:

1. Knowledge of and ability to work with a social responsibility framework

a. Historical and cultural models of mental health, illness and care;

b. The impact on mental health service users and their families of diagnosis, stigma, normativity and minority experience;

c. The influence of socio-economics, class, gender, disability, age, culture, religion, race and sexuality on the incidence, definition, diagnosis and treatment of mental illness and mental health;

d. The intensifying impact of intersectionality (where a person belongs to more than one marginalised group);

e. Familiarity with the role of minority community organisations and mental health advocacy organisations and how to engage with them.


2. Knowledge of and the ability to work within a wider system of care.

a. Be able to recognise clients with more complex, significant, enduring or exceptional needs;

b. Know how and when to refer on to appropriate professional agencies;

c. Understand how to offer, when necessary, psychotherapy as part of an appropriate package of care;

d. Understand the different professional and personal roles in care for people with complex or enduring needs;

e. Have a current knowledge of local services;

f. Demonstrate an informed and critical awareness of the differences in paradigms between the medical model and a psychotherapeutic approach.


3. Knowledge and awareness of diagnosis and treatment in the context of UK mental health care services

a. The basic structure of the MH services in the UK, and the role of NICE guidelines;

b. Diagnosis and classification of mental illness within the medical model including a working knowledge of the DSM V and a capacity to evaluate its use as a system of assessment;

c. The types of interventions and treatments used, their rationale and side effects;

d. Understanding and appreciation of different professional and personal roles in mental health care;

e. Ethical and Legal considerations including appropriate familiarity with the Mental Health Act 2007 and the Equality Act 2010.


4. Knowledge and appreciation of different models of assessment, including medical models.

a. Assessment tools and approaches.

b. Safeguarding.

c. Collaborative care and accessing services.

d. Recognising complex and enduring mental illness.

e. Current debates around evidence-based treatment.


Your MHF training should provide an insight into the mental health system from the perspectives of both service users and mental health professionals. You will need to keep records of your MHF training experience to use as evidence for your MHF Portfolio, such as:

A workshop or conference attendance certificate (including number of hours gained);

An MHF placement confirmation letter (available to download from Moodle);

An MHF tutor confirmation form (available to download from Moodle).

Relevant presentations and workshops will be offered at Metanoia over the course of the academic year.