Postgraduate Diploma in Evidence-based Psychological approaches for Children & Young People (CYP IAPT) – Systemic Family Practice (SFP) pathway – AFT Accredited

About the programme

This programme is a postgraduate diploma in evidence-based psychotherapies for children and young people, validated by the University of Manchester. The programme is part of the national Children and Young People - Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (CYP IAPT) project, has gained validation by the British Association of Behavioural and Cognitive Psychotherapy (BABCP). It is a full-time multi-disciplinary programme (two days per week teaching/ supervision, with the rest of the week spent in clinical practice), in three 10 week terms, commencing in January each year. The aim of the programme is to provide health and social care professionals working in CYP IAPT services with the opportunity to develop general core clinical skills and theoretical knowledge, with specialism in systemic family practice for depression and self-harm, conduct disorders and eating disorders.

The programme is grounded in evidence based practice and is informed by the latest advances in clinical and experimental research. The attainment of clinical competence is measured by validated assessment tools.


Programme Aims

The formal aims of the programme are to:

Provide high quality training in the core therapy skills relevant to SFP for students working with CYP and their families with disorders of conduct, anxiety and, depression and self-harm. This will be done by presenting the relevant theoretical bases of the therapies alongside research evidence of their effectiveness to enable students to develop an understanding of the links between research in the relevant areas of psychological science and practical applications of these therapies.

Provide training consistent with all current key governmental objectives for the CYP IAPT project, including training in ‘evidence-based practice’ and the provision of ‘lifelong learning’. As the Diploma is a postgraduate qualification programme, suitable for health, mental health and social care professionals with suitable knowledge and experience, the programme aims to develop and extend professional competence in all relevant professions.

Specifically, to be consistent with the National Department of Health priorities for mental health. To create a pool of suitably qualified graduates, trained to standards meeting with the provision of services as specified by the National Service Framework for Mental Health (National Health Service Executive). The National Service Framework promotes the training of staff and the need for the increased provision of evidence-based psychotherapy to service users.

Provide practical support, guidance and supervision in the practice of therapies delivered to CYP and/or their families with affective disorders, conduct problems and eating disorders, and to help programme participants to develop the clinical skills necessary for working with these client groups.

Ensure that all graduates of the programme meet recognised minimum clinical competence in working with SFP for depression and self-harm and conduct disorders or eating disorders for young people over 10 years of age.

The SFP pathway is accredited by the Association for Family Therapy (AFT) as equivalent to Intermediate Level Family Therapy training and following successful completion of this programme, AFT has confirmed that students will be able to refer to themselves as Systemic Family Practitioners

Programme Participants

(It is currently unavailable to external applicants)

Application forms are sent to the CYP IAPT Service Leads within Children & Young People’s services across the North West Collaborative.  Completed application forms must be approved by the Service Manager and the CYP IAPT Lead, who will be responsible for sending them back to the Training Centre. This must include CCG approval if they are funding salary support. Applications sent directly to the training centre by the applicant will not be able to be accepted.


Eligible applicants will be working within North West CYP IAPT Collaborative. Recruitment is a joint process with collaborative partners. 


Participants will be predominantly qualified members of the main mental health professions (Mental Health Social Workers, Psychiatric Nurses, Clinical Psychologists, Psychiatrists, Occupational Therapists in Mental Health, Accredited Counsellors). Please consult the following link for a list of all health, mental health and social care professions currently accepted by BABCP as a recognised core profession, which will be accepted as entry criteria:


Applicants without one of these recognised core professions will be considered for eligibility via the Knowledge, Skills and Attitudes (KSA) framework based on that developed by the BABCP.  The KSA requirements for this training programme will be sent out to applicants.  An example of KSA requirements can be found on the BABCP website


Successful candidates will have some existing knowledge and experience of cognitive and/or behavioural therapy, parenting for conduct disorders, or systemic family practice. Experience of at least 2 years clinical work with children and young people is essential.

North West Collaborative

The Northwest CYP IAPT Collaborative is a partnership between The University of Manchester, Greater Manchester Mental Health Foundation Trust and over 70 providers and commissioning bodies of children and young people’s mental health services across NHS, Local Authority and Voluntary sectors working in the Northwest, Yorkshire and West Midlands.


It’s one of five Learning Collaboratives across England that are part of the CYP IAPT country-wide transformation programme. The collaborative seeks to improve services through better evidence based practice, better collaborative practice, authentic participation and better use of feedback and clinical outcomes across all services.

Training Component

The training component is in the form of lectures, seminars, and supervision of clinical practice. Following the initial five day induction week, attendance will mainly be on two days each week over three 10 week terms (Tuesdays and Wednesdays) but also some Thursdays.  During the year there may be some full day Masterclasses facilitated by national and international speakers in systemic family therapy.   

Programme Administrator

Nigel Freeman and Chantelle Wood

Please note that we are unable to give advice on what programme is best for you or give career advice.