Job profile

High Intensity Therapist

High Intensity Therapist Job Profile

What is a High Intensity Therapist?

As a high-intensity therapist, you will help people to overcome complex problems in relation to moderate–severe depression and anxiety by equipping them with tools and techniques and supporting them through their recovery.

Primarily, you will provide various types of interventions, including cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), interpersonal counselling, mindfulness-based CBT and, occasionally, couples therapy. Sessions are typically held every week and will usually last an hour, and you can expect to see 30 – 40 clients a year. 

In addition to providing therapy, improving access to psychological therapy will be a significant part of your role, which commonly involves signposting and managing referrals, which will see you working closely with other professionals in the healthcare field, such as support staff, other therapists, psychological wellbeing practitioners and employment advisors.


When holding a position as a high-intensity therapist, you will need to:

  • Make judgement calls on suitability for therapeutic interventions 
  • Create a roadmap of recovery for your patients
  • Tailor and implement therapy programmes around the needs of each patient
  • Help patients work through trauma and reassess their behaviour and emotions
  • Advise and consult other professionals in PCTs and charities 
  • Risk assess your patients 
  • Signpost other services and therapies, where appropriate
  • Facilitate computerised CBT and guided self-help
  • Provide therapy through telephone and in-person/office sessions
  • Review patient progress and implement changes to treatment plans, where necessary
  • Discuss referrals for patients in treatment in multidisciplinary meetings
  • Work closely with GPs, other mental health professionals, police, and local authorities
  • Keep accurate clinical activity records
  • Keep family members and carers informed of your patient’s treatment, where necessary. Provide clinical supervision to other therapists after gaining experience in the field.


If you are working for the NHS in inner London, there is a 20% high-cost area supplement; for outer London, it is 15%, and for fringe areas, it is 5%. 

Annual salaries from independent and voluntary sectors vary. 

The starting salary of a high-intensity therapist is £33,706 – in line with the Band 6 NHS pay rates. 

  • The average salary of a high-intensity therapist is £41,569 – £47,672. 
  • As a senior high-intensity therapist, if you also undertake specialist responsibilities and management duties, you could earn upwards of £65,262.

Working Hours

For a full-time position, the working week is typically 37.5 hours long, Monday – Friday. Shift work outside of the usual 9 – 5 hours is common. For example, with late shifts, you may be expected to work from 12 pm – 8 pm. 

Even though full-time positions make up the bulk of the vacancies, short-term contracts and part-time work is also available. Additionally, due to the mentally demanding nature of the job, career breaks are also possible.

What to Expect

  • A typical working day will revolve around holding sessions with patients in-office, via telephone appointments, and in group settings. 
  • The majority of your work will be office-based, but you may need to travel locally and to other cities during the day to attend interdisciplinary meetings and liaise with other well-being professionals. 
  • High-intensity therapists are at risk of burnout due to the emotional demands of therapeutically working with people suffering from severe depression. However, clinical supervision and support will be provided by colleagues. 
  • As you will take an active role in improving the quality of life and well-being, the role, though sometimes challenging, will be rewarding. 
  • Smart-casual dress is typically required. 
  • Larger cities tend to offer a greater variety of opportunities, but jobs within the NHS and with charities and private sectors are available throughout the UK. 


Though there are a variety of educational routes to go down to become a high-intensity therapist, most positions require you to hold a BABCP Level 2 accredited diploma in CBT – high-intensity IAPT and be accredited with BABCP. To successfully apply for BABCP accreditation, you will need to meet the set Minimum Trading Standards.

Typically, it takes a year of full-time study to ascertain the IAPT diploma; your study time will be split between supervised clinical practice and attending university seminars at least two days a week.

Obtaining the diploma can be done by applying for a trainee high-intensity therapist position within an organisation that provides IAPT services, which could be through the NHS or an NHS-commissioned charity. If you are deemed suitable for the course and are successful in your application, you will be offered the job role and training. As the IAPT diploma is a requirement of the trainee role, the course will be funded by your employer.

Before applying for the training course, for most placements, you will need a registered relevant professional qualification, which equipped you with sufficient mental health training and post-qualification work experience in a mental health service. 

Core and relevant positions include social work, psychotherapy, mental health nursing, clinical psychology, counselling psychology, art therapy, and forensic psychology.


As a high-intensity therapist, you will need to have the following: 

  • The ability to form interpersonal therapeutic relationships with patients
  • Strong active listening skills
  • The ability to empathise with patients
  • The ability to work independently and a part of a multidisciplinary team 
  • The resilience required to work under pressure with high-risk patients. 
  • A thorough understanding of the current regulations on patient confidentiality
  • Excellent communication skills, both written and verbal
  • A strong sense of self-motivation and enthusiasm
  • The flexibility and organisational skills required to meet service and patient needs
  • Proficient IT skills (database packages and word processing) 
  • An awareness of the factors which inhibit equal opportunities and a willingness to overcome them when working with marginalised groups
  • A positive and solutions-based approach to your caseload.

Work Experience

Post-qualification professional work experience in the mental health service sector is a strict requirement for the majority of high-intensity therapist positions. All experience is valuable; however, the roles in primary care services can put you in the best stead. 

Long-term volunteer work is also highly attractive to employers as it demonstrates your commitment towards mental health advocacy and the emotional resilience required to withstand the emotional toll of working as a high-intensity therapist. These kinds of voluntary positions can be found throughout the health and not-for-profit sectors.

Career Prospects

With the band system in the NHS, there is a clear path for high-intensity therapists. Starting roles typically place those new to the vocation in band six. With the knowledge, skills, and experience, you can apply for senior band eight roles, which will involve undertaking extra duties, such as project and clinical leadership, service management, supervision, and care quality improvement. 

There is also the option of improving the quality of therapeutic care as a teacher or researcher or expanding your skillset with different therapeutic approaches to become a more specialised therapist. 

Once experienced, you can also set up your own private practice or work as a psychotherapist within an organisation outside of IAPT services.


The majority of high-intensity therapists in the UK are employed by the NHS or an NHS-commissioned charity, such as Rethink Mental Illness, Turning Point and Mind.  

Within the NHS, you can be a part of mental health teams who work in the community or be placed in health centres, hospitals, and GP surgeries. There are also numerous roles within social services and the prison service. 

Search for job vacancies using the Mind, Turning Point, NHS Jobs and Rethink Mental Illness websites.

Related Courses

BSc (Hons) Professional Health Studies 

Studying professional health studies with UWS London will give you a clear view of the relationship between integrated public health and social care networks. Through the course, you will acquire a range of solutions-based learning skills, which can easily be applied to high-intensity therapist positions. Many graduates have gone on to work in therapy assistant and counselling roles or have been employed to evaluate clinical effectiveness.

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