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Promoting Excellence In Psychological Health & Wellbeing

Psychological Professions Week 2021 - Developing a Leadership Role in Psychology Services as a CBT Therapist

19 Nov

Read more from Amandeep Soomal about the "Growing Leadership Talents in Psychological Professions" Workshop at #Psychological Professions Week

Amandeep Soomal, Senior Cognitive Behavioural Psychotherapist, Perinatal Services, Birmingham & Solihull Mental Health Foundation Trust

The next couple of years are going to be a key and transformative time for the Psychological Professions and we want to ensure you are informed and ready for the exciting times ahead! The Psychological Professions Network (PPN) is hosting its second *free* conference. #PsychologicalProfessionsWeek 2021 will feature keynote speakers, panel discussions and regionally-led sessions aligned to the National Vision of the Psychological Professions.

I will be speaking about my very unique role as a Senior Psychotherapist in Perinatal Mental Health Services. I am a BABCP Accredited Cognitive Behavioural Therapist (CBT) who trained as a Psychological Wellbeing Practitioner at University College London and then completed my postgraduate diploma at University of Oxford. I worked in London IAPT services between 2012 and 2020 before moving to a newly made Psychotherapist role in Birmingham Community Perinatal Mental Health Services.

My current role is made up of a number of responsibilities including assessment, conceptualisation and treatment of women presenting with moderate to severe symptoms of depression and anxiety, in the perinatal period. The baby and family support system are kept at the centre of the formulation, always thinking of how the systems around the women are supporting and sometimes maintaining their current difficulties. Working within a highly skilled and specialist multi disciplinary team allows me to share the work I do, as well as support others with their ideas of treatment plans in their respective fields. My role also entails offering clinical individual and group supervision to Newly Qualified CBT Therapists citywide, keeping in mind CBT principles but in the context of the perinatal period.

I hope to be able to support my Clinical Psychologist led Psychology team to develop clear CBT pathways between primary care IAPT and secondary care perinatal services. This allows supportive care for the women trying to access psychological therapy during one of the most vulnerable periods in their lives. This means building relationships with different services and delivering high quality supervision and training events.

In my presentation, I will be talking about the skills essential to becoming a leader in your field. A lot of it comes down to building confidence in your work and yourself. Once you feel you are able to manage your clinical caseload, it becomes a natural step to provide supervision and pass on your knowledge and wisdom to others. Other opportunities arise which begin to align with your values and career goals, and I advise that these are listed in your annual Professional Development Review and discussed regularly with your manager. As a result of having these discussions with my managers over the years, I am training to be a Couples Therapist at Tavistock & Portman, offer clinical supervision in my service and now with the University of Birmingham on their Cognitive Behavioural Therapy Course. I am also a mentor with the ACP RISE Ethnic Minority Leadership Mentoring Programme, which allows me to support another person from a similar ethnic background to navigate a predominantly White British Psychology field and make the most of opportunities that may arise.

Although I have pretty much listed my CV, leadership isn’t about money or titles for me. It has always been about learning new skills and using it to improve outcomes for people who need the support most. Black women are 5 times more likely to die during the perinatal period, and Asian women twice as likely. I find it abhorrent that someone who looks like me has a higher risk of mortality because of the colour of their skin. What brought me to specialise in perinatal psychology was my interest in supporting marginalised communities access psychological therapies and make hard to reach services more accessible and user friendly. My leadership position allows me to support more women and families, than just in individual therapy.

If you would like to hear more about my journey, my passion for CBT and breaking barriers for service users to access support, please sign up to the “Growing Leadership Talents in Psychological Professions” workshop. I look forward to seeing you there and I welcome any feedback or enquiries on  my email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

To view the full week’s program and register for the conference (it’s free!), please follow this link: https://ppn2021.com/

Lastly, we recommend becoming a member of the PPN. It is free and gives you access to the latest updates, events and newsletters. To become a member please follow this link: https://www.ppn.nhs.uk/membership/why-join-us

We look forward to seeing you on Friday 19th!

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