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Difference between an AP & a PWP...

Updated: Feb 8

In the psychology world these titles get thrown around a lot, if you are unfamiliar on what these letters mean they stand for Assistant Psychologist (AP) and Psychological Well-Being Practitioner (PWP). Both are very sought after positions for aspiring psychologists and those wanting to pursue a psychology doctorate, but what is the difference between these two psychology graduate roles?

First things first, Psychology Doctorates accept both AP and PWP roles as relevant experience, for each role you are usually required to have completed your undergraduate degree in Psychology and both roles may also differ slightly depending on the setting they are in. Some AP and PWP roles within the NHS are paid posts but again this can depend on the setting they are in.

Assistant Psychologist:

Typically as an Assistant Psychologist you will provide clinical support under the direct supervision of a Psychologist. You may carry out assessments, score assessments, undertake observations, carry out specific treatment and interventions with clients either one to one or in group settings. It must be noted that not all AP roles give you opportunities to see one to one clients, whereas PWP roles prioritise this.

Psychological Well-Being Practitioner:

Within the NHS you will most likely find a Psychological Well-Being Practitioner working in an IAPT service (Improving Access to Psychological Therapies). PWP's are trained to use a range of psychological interventions to support individuals with mental health issues (mainly depression and anxiety related difficulties, however this can differ). PWP's provide treatment on a one to one basis or in group settings.

Generally PWP's do not receive supervision from qualified Psychologists whereas Assistant Psychologists do.

The bottom line is AP roles and PWP roles have a lot of overlaps and a lot of the work can be dependant on the setting, so be sure to ask lots of questions during the interview to get a good understanding of the tasks you will be carrying out. Some people suggest that PWP's are the new AP's, but overall both roles give you great experience to pursue onto the doctorate programme. Finally both roles tend to be pretty competitive so be sure to look into them and apply as soon as you can.

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