iACT® Wellbeing Practitioner Training

Improving Access to Communities Therapies (iACT®) Programme – Wellbeing Practitioner Training Course

 

Are you passionate about mental health and eager to directly support people experiencing mental health problems in the community?

 

Mind HK’s Improving Access to Community Therapies (iACT®) Wellbeing Practitioner Training Programme is now open for applications for people who wish to contribute to improving access to mental health treatments for those in need. This programme will train individuals to become iACT® Wellbeing Practitioners to deliver free, manualised therapy to individuals experiencing mild to moderate mental health problems, currently based on principles of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) and self compassion. 

 

Within this cohort, we will be training two groups of iACT® Wellbeing Practitioners (WPs), one to serve youth (12-17 years old) and another to serve adults (18-65 years old).

 

Candidates should have a strong interest in mental health and a wish to work in a frontline position, supporting people with mental health difficulties. We seek applications from individuals who meet the basic criteria and wish to embark upon this training programme. 

 

We particularly seek applications from individuals from the following groups:

 

Youth stream:

  • Individuals who bring direct experience in working with older children or adolescents, especially those with an existing role in a school or social service setting. This includes but is not limited to professionals such as teachers, tutors, teaching assistants, school counsellors, youth (outreach) workers/ mentors, social workers, paediatric nurses, after-school programme coordinators, research assistants, and child life specialists. Your firsthand experience in addressing the unique mental health needs of adolescents is particularly desirable and will be a significant asset in our mission to provide support and care to this age group.

 

Adult stream:

  • Those who are already working in supporting roles for people with mental health conditions within the community (e.g. non-clinical social workers, patient care assistants, community support workers, care workers, programme workers), including those from ethnic/ gender minority backgrounds
  • Individuals who may not necessarily have mental health related backgrounds but with relevant experiences that will increase their ability to support those with mental health challenges

 

During the placement, WPs will deliver free intervention to individuals in need. All applicants must consider carefully their ability to commit to the training block and placement before applying for this position. It is ESSENTIAL that you will be available 2-3 days a week (approx. 16-24 hrs) during the placement period, and if personal leave needs to be taken, the duration must be no longer than two weeks. All leaves must be discussed and approved by Mind HK prior to them being taken. 

 

Application dates: 

06 October 2023 – 31 December 2023

Link to application form: https://www.jotform.com/form/232420844822048 

 

Key information 

 

  1. Training block: 

 

Self study materials: Released at start of May 2024

 

In-person training:

  • Block 1: 16 – 18 May 2024*
  • Block 2: 30 May– 1 June 2024 *
  • Block 3: 19 – 22 June 2024*
  • Block 4: 27 – 29 June 2024 *

 

Online lectures: Approximately 20 hours during the training period

 

Regular monthly booster training sessions will also be provided

 

Total training hours: Approximately 140 hours

 

Assessment: To be announced at a later date.

 

  1. Placement dates: 

 

Sep 2024 – May 2025

9 month unpaid placement (up to 3 placement days per week)

 

*Exact dates may be subject to change

 

  1. Tuition Fees (2024/25):
    All tuition fees for 2024/2025 have been kindly covered by our programme sponsors, MINDSET and Jardines. However, an upfront deposit of HKD 6,000 is required when trainees accept their place on the programme. The deposit will only be returned to trainees in full, upon completion of the training block AND the placement period. 

 

  1. Training Venue:
    To be announced at a later date. 

 

Enrollment prerequisite: 

 

Practitioners for youth service Practitioners for adult service
Ability to work in Hong Kong Hong Kong resident or valid working visa for the duration of the programme 
Sexual Conviction Record Check (SCRC) Must pass a Sexual Conviction Record Check prior to starting placement
Education Undergraduate degree, or equivalent, in any subject, with a 2nd class honours or above. 

Mental health or health related study  (e.g., psychology, social work, education, public health etc.) is preferred but not a must.

Language ability For training: Fluency in oral and written English is a must

Practicum: Fluency in Cantonese and/or English 

(fluency in another language is desired)

Value and Attitude Caring, compassionate, person-centred, reflective, willingness to take in feedback and learn from experiences, responsible, non judgemental
Skills and knowledge
  • An ability to engage with teenagers at their level
  • Cultural sensitive practise
  • Excellent communication skills and team work
  • Ability to build strong therapeutic relationships based on humility,  patience and empathy
  • Work creatively and flexibly in individual and group settings
  • Basic knowledge of common mental health problem (e.g. depression, anxiety) and how they present in youths
  • Strong community awareness and wish to challenge stigma around mental health in youths
  • Clear understanding of important clinical ethics such as confidentiality and boundaries
  • Basic IT skills: using google workspace, zoom, etc & elaborate
  • Excellent communication skills 
  • Ability to work with and empathy towards people from diverse backgrounds and across different life stages 
  • Willingness to engage people experiencing mental health conditions with a non-stigmatising attitude
  • Ability to build professional therapeutic relationships and adhere to codes of ethics 
  • Awareness of common mental health problems (e.g. depression, anxiety) and willingness to adopt a evidence-based manualized intervention protocol
  • Strong community awareness and wish to challenge stigma around mental health 
  • Clear understanding of important clinical ethics such as confidentiality and boundaries
  • Basic IT skills: using google workspace, zoom, etc & elaborate
Role of Well being practitioners
  • Lead workshop/ engagement activities to increase invisibility of the intervention
  • Conduct one-on-one session using a manualised intervention with youths
  • Conduct small group sessions using a manualised intervention
  • Ability to apply training to practice with flexibility and integrity in clinical settings
  • Ability to work independently, while also closely with a clinical supervisor 
  • Commitment to thorough documentations in a timely and professional manner
  • Commitment to adhere to professional clinical governance procedures, including regular database management and clinical supervisions 
  • Understand the importance of research to promote evidence based practices
  • Lead workshop/ engagement activities to increase invisibility of the intervention
  • Conduct one-on-one session using a manualised intervention with adults aged 18-65
  • Ability to apply training to practice with flexibility and integrity in clinical settings
  • Ability to work independently, while also closely with a clinical supervisor 
  • Commitment to thorough documentations in a timely and professional manner
  • Commitment to adhere to professional clinical governance procedures, including regular database management and clinical supervision
  • Understand the importance of research to promote evidence based practices
Commitment Training block:

Approximately 140 hours

Must attend at least 90% of lectures (Personal leaves will be allowed but this must be discussed and approved with Mind HK beforehand)

Placement:

2-3 days per week (approx 16-24 hours per week) between September 2024 – May 2025

Minimum number of placement days required: 90 days spread over 9 months. 

Experience
  • Work or volunteering experience in a physical or mental health related setting is desirable.
  • Work experience with children or youth is desirable. (This does not necessarily have to be within a mental health setting)
A minimum of 2 years of post-graduation work experience:

  • Work or volunteering experience in a physical or mental health related settings is desirable
Training fee deposit The training is free to successful applicants. 

However, an upfront deposit of HKD 6,000 is required. The deposit will only be returned to trainees, in full, upon completion of the training block and the placement period. 

 

Teaching:

Modules covered include:

 

  • Introduction to mental health/mental health in Hong Kong
  • Counselling skills
  • Clinical risk assessment and management 
  • Introduction to Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) 
  • Implementation of ACT-based manualised intervention
  • Troubleshooting

 

The teaching block will involve a combination of lectures, self-study, group exercises, role-plays and practical assessments. Trainees will need to undergo a practical assessment at the end of the teaching block. Trainees must pass the assessment in order to proceed to the placement. 

 

Placement:

After the training block is completed, each trainee will commence a placement at either universities, clinics, community organisations, or workplaces. During the 9-month unpaid placement, trainees will work up to 3 days per week (either weekdays or weekends, depending on host organisation and client needs), to deliver intervention to clients. Trainees will see on average 3 clients per day.

 

Both supervision and placements will be arranged by Mind HK, however, should trainees wish to arrange their own placements then this can be discussed with Mind HK as all host organisations will need to be reviewed by Mind HK to determine suitability.

 

Supervisors will be responsible for monitoring the trainees’ learning and development, and ensure that trainees conduct safe, effective practice in their role, adhering to the manualised intervention.

 

FAQs

What is Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT)?

Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) is a form of psychological therapy derived from the principles of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) and mindfulness. It focuses on promoting the acceptance of painful thoughts and feelings in service of living a meaningful life, through working on important goals and activities in their lives. Also, there is now increasing evidence for the effectiveness of ACT in managing a wide range of psychological difficulties.

What is manualised intervention?

Manualised interventions clearly list out steps in the intervention, allowing practitioners to easily follow them to provide therapy. Standardised interventions are particularly important for providing effective, low intensity interventions.

Practitioners work through a standardised, step-by-step treatment procedure with each client, and depending on the clients needs, they will guide them through different concepts and exercises in the modules.

Although the intervention procedure is mostly standardised, practitioners will work flexibly with clients to address individual presenting problems and unique characteristics.

Will trainees from NGO or school backgrounds be able to conduct the placement at their existing organisation?

Yes. Trainees will be able to conduct their placements at their employment organisations providing their organisations are participating in the programme and are supportive of this initiative. Please discuss this with team members from Mind HK to confirm this arrangement. Independent trainees without association to any organisations will be assigned to host organisations by Mind HK.

How will trainees be assessed?

Trainees will undergo an assessment at the end of the initial teaching block. They will lead a practice session with a trainer to assess their skills and knowledge. The session will be recorded and reviewed by two assessors to verify that they have reached the required standard to commence their placements.

Supervisors will monitor trainees’ development throughout the placement to ensure that they are meeting the required level of competency to pass the training course at the end of the placement.

Why was the programme developed?

Hong Kong’s existing mental health service is experiencing a lot of strain with long waiting times and being under-resourced, resulting in individuals with mild to moderate mental health problems unable to receive support sooner. The programme was developed with the aim of training additional therapists to deliver early, evidence-based intervention, to prevent mental health problems from worsening.

Can I work full-time while undergoing this programme?

The programme would not be compatible with full-time working commitments. Successful applicants will be required to undertake a 9-month placement (3 days per week), which may allow for part-time work or study to be undertaken simultaneously.

Do I need a counselling or mental health degree to apply for this course?

You are not required to have a counselling or related background to apply for the programme. It would be desirable for you to have basic knowledge on mental health, and for you to share this in your application.