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Evidence-based Interventions for Common Mental Health Problems with Children and Young People (Theory and Skills)

Module titleEvidence-based Interventions for Common Mental Health Problems with Children and Young People (Theory and Skills)
Module codePYC3024
Academic year2020/1
Module staff

Dr Robert Kidney (Convenor)

Duration: Term123
Duration: Weeks




Number students taking module (anticipated)


Description - summary of the module content

Module description

A range of low intensity cognitive behavioural interventions are recommended by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) for the treatment of patients with mild-to-moderate common mental health problems, and are presented and used in a variety of methods used by different services and practitioners. The overall delivery of these interventions is informed by behaviour change models and strategies. Examples of interventions include providing support for a range of low-intensity self-help interventions (often with the use of written self-help materials) informed by cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT) principles, such as behavioural activation, exposure, cognitive restructuring, panic management, problem solving, CBT-informed sleep management, and computerised cognitive behaviour therapy (cCBT) packages as well as supporting physical exercise and medication adherence.

In this module you will gain competency in adapting these interventions to working with children and young people (CYP) and their parents / carers. This will involve learning both the underpinning theory but also the practical skills and competences. You will be able to recognise appropriate interventions from those available, an appreciation of what makes a good self-help resource, develop key skills in motivating and supporting the use of self-help with CYP, their parents and carers and professionals. You will learn how to identify common problems arising and support the use of these interventions, and you will learn about motivational interviewing and continue your skills around the ‘COM-B’ model to aid this process. The module will also equip you with the knowledge and skills to deliver interventions individually through face-to-face, telephone, and remotely delivered contact methods, and also develop your skills in group delivery. You will learn how to end treatment with relapse prevention. A heavy focus upon clinical skills teaching will enhance your general and disorder-defined ‘specific factors’ competencies in support of these interventions. 

Module aims - intentions of the module

The aim of this module is to provide you with a good understanding of the process of therapeutic support for a range of evidence-based, low intensity cognitive behavioural interventions for anxiety, low mood, behavioural and self-regulatory difficulties and to manage the learning and development of individuals and groups of CYP and their parents / carers.

Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs)

ILO: Module-specific skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 1. Critically evaluate a range of evidence-based interventions and strategies to assist CYP patients manage their emotional distress and disturbance
  • 2. Demonstrate competency in maintaining a therapeutic alliance with CYP patients during their treatment programme, including dealing with issues and events that threaten the alliance
  • 3. Plan competently a collaborative low-intensity psychological or pharmacological treatment programme for common mental health problems, including managing the ending of contact
  • 4. Describe in depth and use competently a range of low-intensity, evidence-based psychological interventions for common mental health problems
  • 5. Use competently behaviour change models and strategies in the delivery of low-intensity interventions
  • 6. Critically evaluate the role of case management and stepped care approaches to managing common mental health problems in primary care including ongoing risk management appropriate to service protocols
  • 7. Support children and young people with medication for common mental disorders to help them optimise their use of pharmacological treatment and minimise any adverse effects
  • 8. Deliver low-intensity interventions using a range of methods including face-to-face, and remote delivery methods such as telephone and electronic communication
  • 9. Understanding of the benefits of remote working and the ability to adapt practice to support this in the delivery of low-intensity interventions

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 10. Summarise basic and essential factual and conceptual knowledge of the subject, and demonstrate a critical understanding of this knowledge
  • 11. Review and evaluate established work and identify some of the strengths and weaknesses of this work.

ILO: Personal and key skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 12. Record accurately interviews and questionnaire assessments using paper and electronic record-keeping systems
  • 13. Evaluate your strengths and weaknesses, challenge received opinion and develop your own criteria and judgement, and to seek and make use of feedback

Syllabus plan

Syllabus plan

The module content, module-specific learning objectives, style of delivery and assessment for this module are as informed by the curriculum for the training of Wellbeing Practitioners for Children and Young People (WPCYP) and Education Mental Health Practitioners (EMHP) to support the delivery of low intensity CBT / parent therapy associated with the Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) programme. Teaching content will include:

Evidence-based interventions and strategies

  • Developing and maintaining a therapeutic alliance
  • Dealing with issues and events that disrupt the alliance – engaging patients
  • Motivational interviewing
  • Use of the COM-B model
  • Supporting use of low intensity treatments
  • Competence in introducing low intensity interventions (intervention specific and problem specific)
  • Recognising common problems encountered by CYP and their families when using interventions
  • Knowledge of the theory and various models:
    • Behavioural activation
    • Social learning theory
    • Problem solving
    • Exposure
    • Sleep management
    • Cognitive restructuring
    • Dealing with worry

Context of delivery

  • Case management
  • Risk management
  • Supporting low intensity interventions (face-to-face, telephone, e-mail, group work)
  • Remote working practice

Learning and teaching

Learning activities and teaching methods (given in hours of study time)

Scheduled Learning and Teaching ActivitiesGuided independent studyPlacement / study abroad

Details of learning activities and teaching methods

CategoryHours of study timeDescription
Scheduled learning and teaching45Practical classes – these will be used to develop clinical competencies in assessment and engagement through tutor supervised small group role-play
Scheduled learning and teaching45Lectures
Scheduled learning and teaching12Seminars – these will be led by the tutor and address a range of important topics covered in the module
Scheduled learning and teaching8Tutorials – these will take the form of small group sessions led by the tutor
Guided independent study40Reading and preparation for seminars in ‘flipped classroom’ delivery model
Guided independent study10Self-practice and self-reflection on role plays of interventions with fellow students undertaken outside of teaching sessions
Guided independent study40Undertaking structured reflective ‘blogging’ of undertaking intervention practice with colleagues during workplace role-play or patient work


Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Clinical skills competency assessment45 minutes2-5, 7-9Written
Reflective commentary1000 words10-13Written

Summative assessment (% of credit)

CourseworkWritten examsPractical exams

Details of summative assessment

Form of assessment% of creditSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Clinical skills competency assessment of a depression or anxiety treatment session with a patient in service, (this assessment must be passed; failure in this assessment will lead to failure in the module and the programme)6045 minutes2-9Written
Reflective commentary (this assessment must be passed; failure in this assessment will lead to failure in the module and the programme)401000 words1, 6, 10-11, 13Written
Practice outcome document – assessment of competency in clinical practice and is pass/fail only (this assessment must be passed; failure in this assessment will lead to failure in the module and the programme)01200 words1-3, 5, 7-8, 12-13Written


Details of re-assessment (where required by referral or deferral)

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
Clinical skills competency assessmentClinical skills competency assessment2-9Eight weeks from the date feedback was provided
Reflective commentaryReflective commentary1-6, 10-11, 13Four weeks from the date feedback was provided
Practice outcome documentPractice outcome document1-3, 5, 7-8, 12-1312 weeks from the date feedback was provided

Re-assessment notes

Three summative assessments are required for this module. In all cases re-assessment will be the same as the original assessment. Where you have been referred/deferred for any form of assessment detailed above you will have the opportunity to retake within the period specified above from the date that feedback was provided.

If you pass re-assessments taken as a result of referral (i.e. following initial failure in the assessment), the overall module mark will be capped at 40%. (The pass mark for Clinical skills competency is 50%)

If you fail re-assessments taken as a result of referral (i.e. following initial failure in the assessment), you will be failed in the module and as a consequence you will be failed in the programme and your registration as a student of the University will be terminated.


Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

Core reading:

  • Child IAPT National curriculum (2012). London: Department of Health
  • Roth, A.D., & Pilling, S. (2007). Core competencies required to deliver effective psychological therapies. London: HMSO, Department of Health.
  • Fonagy, P., & Target, M. (2005). What works for whom: A critical review for children and adolescents. London: Routledge
  • Bennett-Levy, J., Richards, D., Farrand, P. et al (2010). Oxford guide to low intensity CBT interventions. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  • Bennett-Levy, J., Thwaites, R., Haarhoff, B., & Perry, H. (2015). Experiencing CBT from the inside out: A self-practice/self-reflection workbook for therapists. Guilford: New York.
  • Silverman, J., Kurtz, S., & Draper, J. (2005). Skills for communicating with patients. Oxford: Radcliffe.

Wider reading:

  • Lejuez, C.W., Hopko, D.R., & Hopko, S.D. (2001). A brief behavioural activation treatment for depression: Treatment manual. Behaviour Modification, 25, 255-286. NICE CG28
  • Farrand, P., & Woodford, J. (2013). Impact of support on the effectiveness of written cognitive behavioural self-help: A systematic review and meta-analysis of randomised controlled trials. Clinical Psychology Review, 33(1), 182-195
  • Goldberg, D., & Huxley, P. (1992). Common mental health disorders: A biosocial model. London: Routledge.
  • Lovell, K., & Richards, D. (2008). A recovery programme for depression. London: Rethink.

Indicative learning resources - Web based and electronic resources

Module has an active ELE page

Key words search

Improving Access to Psychological Therapies, IAPT, CYP, children and young people, low intensity, cognitive behavioural therapy, common mental health problems, primary care, evidence based psychological therapies, clinical competency

Credit value20
Module ECTS


Module pre-requisites


Module co-requisites

PYC3022 Children and Young People’s Mental Health Settings: Context and Values and PYC3023 Fundamental Skills: Assessment and Engagement

NQF level (module)


Available as distance learning?


Origin date


Last revision date