Building resilience in the Improving Access to Psychological Therapy (IAPT) Psychological Wellbeing Practitioner (PWP) Role: A qualitative grounded theory study

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Objectives: Staff retention, particularly in the Psychological Wellbeing Practitioner (PWP) workforce, has historically been challenging for Improving Access to Psychological Therapy (IAPT) services. This study sought to develop an explanatory model of the resilience-building process in PWPs working within the IAPT programme.

Design: A qualitative design was conducted, using a grounded theory methodology.

Method: Participants were recruited from two IAPT services in the National Health Service (NHS), which were part of the same Mental Health Trust. Ten PWPs were interviewed via videoconferencing using semi-structured interviews.

Results: An explanatory model of resilience in PWPs encompassed three phases: the experience of work-related challenges, the connection with their values and the related appraisal of adversity in resilient ways, and the implementation of effective coping strategies.

Conclusions: The model highlights that PWPs develop resilience through values-based sensemaking and by proactively engaging in effective coping mechanisms. This study contributes to the current understanding of the process of resilience in PWPs. More research is needed to explore the developmental processes underlying PWPs’ resilience. The implications of the findings in relation to existing conceptualisations of resilience, staff wellbeing and retention are explored. Recommendations for future research are also given.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)135-148
Number of pages14
JournalBehavioural and Cognitive Psychotherapy
Issue number2
Early online date7 Aug 2023
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2024


  • Burnout
  • Grounded Theory
  • Resilience
  • Mental Health
  • IAPT
  • psychological wellbeing practitioners
  • mental health
  • grounded theory
  • burnout
  • resilience

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