Working with service users

Louise Wicks, Deputy Programme Director, Postgraduate Diploma in CBT

School of Psychology 

Medical Sciences

What did you do?

We involve service users in our Postgraduate Diploma in Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, from admissions through to reviewing the programme.

Who is involved?

Service users from Launchpad.

Louise Wicks, Deputy Degree Programme Director.

Margaret Whittaker, Degree Programme Director.

Members of staff who teach on the Postgraduate Diploma in Cognitive Behavioural Therapy.

How did you do it?

We work closely with Launchpad, an organisation which promotes the views and opinions of service users helping to ensure that decision making bodies listen to these views.

When conducting admissions interviews for the Postgraduate Diploma in Cognitive Behavioural Therapy the panel is made up of one service user from Launchpad and two members of academic staff.

The skills that students should have to be a successful therapist are varied. Including different perspectives helps up to make sure that applicants possess not only the right academic skills but also the interpersonal skills that are needed.

We maintain links with Launchpad throughout the year and a service user will deliver a session to new trainees at the beginning of the course to explain what accessing services is like from their perspective.

Finally, we also involve service users in regular meetings with staff and students that are held throughout the year, where we talk about how the course is going and how we can make the experience even better.

Views of Partners


“We at Launchpad and ReCoCo have an enduring and fruitful partnership with Newcastle University, in particular the school of psychology, including the postgraduate diploma in CBT. As organisations run by and for mental health service users, we value the meaningful opportunities we have not merely to be heard, but to be active deliverers of training, thus ensuring that the lived experience of mental distress, what it’s like to be within the mental health system on the receiving end of therapy, is integral to the learning and knowledge acquired by students.”

Alisdair Cameron, Launchpad

Why do you do it?

Involving service users in shaping their care is extremely important and a key focus within the NHS and among other organisations. Their views and input help to make sure we are considering all of the relevant skills and traits a therapist should possess when we are interviewing applicants.

Their involvement throughout the course also helps to improve the knowledge and skills of our trainees and ultimately improves the course.

Does it work?

This approach is really effective, service users are keen to be involved and our students benefit greatly from this involvement.

Contact details

Louise Wicks, Associate Clinical Lecturer, School of Psychology

You can find out more about Launchpad and ReCoCo on their websites and


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