Psychological Professions colleagues are an essential part of the workforce and play a key role in improving service users' psychological wellbeing.

The Psychological Professions Workforce in Leeds and York Partnership NHS Foundation Trust

The Psychological Professions staff are an essential part of the LYPFT workforce because of their dedication to improving service users’ psychological wellbeing. Psychological professionals contribute to the wellbeing of service users by providing specialist assessments and interventions and working with colleagues through training, clinical supervision, and consultation to promote psychological understanding and interventions across pathways. Psychological practitioners are also skilled in service development, service evaluation, clinical audit, research and development.

There are over 100 Psychologists and Psychotherapists working in the organisation who work in a range of roles across clinical services, working directly with service users, leadership, management and strategic roles.

We support several students; undergraduate psychologists and postgraduate Trainees, Clinical Psychologists and Psychotherapists within the workforce. Our psychological professions workforce are a dedicated group of individuals committed to providing high quality psychological care which supports the recovery of our service users and those who care for them.


Our strategies

Psychological Professions StrategyPsychological Professions Strategy front page

The Psychological Professions Strategy 2021-24 has been developed in consultation with stakeholders, including service users, carers, commissioners, operational management and third sector partners.

It’s designed to support the delivery of the Trust’s strategic priorities with a focus on four key visions and ambitions:

  • All service user and carer contact across the organisation is psychologically informed
  • All psychological practice is safe, caring and compassionate, effective, cost-effective, responsive and well led
  • To focus on workforce development to ensure the sustainability of our skilled and knowledgeable staff
  • To identify and pursue strategic growth, research and innovation opportunities

You can read the strategy here.

Psychological Therapies StrategyImage of the cover of the PDF document. Text: Leeds Community Mental Health Transformation: Psychological Therapies Strategy. 2022-2025

The LYPFT Psychological Therapies Strategy 2022-2025 outlines the vision and plan for developing psychological therapies provision for people with moderate to severe mental health problems. This is aligned with the aims of the National Community Mental Health Transformation, Psychological Therapies for Severe Mental Health problems (PT – SMHP) programme and is aligned to the LYPFT Psychological Professions Strategy.

The strategy has been developed alongside the new clinical model in collaboration with service users, carers, and other stakeholders across the system.

You can read the strategy here.

Forensic Psychology | Learn more about our team

John Atkinson – Senior Forensic Psychologist

Yorkshire and Humberside Personality Disorder Pathway


What influenced you to become a forensic psychologist?

I did an undergraduate degree, and I didn’t really know what I wanted to do with it, and for a couple of years, I didn’t do much with it. At the time, my uncle was a governor in the prison service, and he said it was an interesting job with a good career path, and he really enjoyed it. So, it kind of went from there, and I started to look for jobs, and I began working in the prison service.

What do you do on a day-to-day basis?

I’ve had 11 years experience working in a psychiatric hospital with offenders with mental disorders, and I predominantly worked on ‘personality disorder’ wards.

Currently, I work for the NHS for the ‘personality disorders’ service. My work is in partnership with the probation service in Humberside, working with probation officers to support individuals who present significant interpersonal challenges and engage in risky behaviours. In these cases, probation practitioners contact me to have a consultation with an individual they are working with. We then come up with what we call a formulation about how that person ended up having personality difficulties and got involved in offending. Unfortunately, the factors that influence this tend to be quite similar and are things like social deprivation, separation, and abuse. I use my previous experience working with offenders to help probation practitioners better understand how to work with these individuals

Another part of my job is also being a clinical lead for a supported accommodation project within Humberside. Our aim is to help people and to reduce reoffending, and encourage integration back into the community. I advise with what approaches might work best, and we join up with all sorts of other agencies as well for support.

How has your career developed since becoming qualified?

Since I qualified in 2015, my career has developed quite a lot. I delivered group schema therapy (which is more like psychotherapy) and also group schema therapy in a psychiatric hospital. This enabled me to set up a private practice in the community over the last few years.

I loved working at the hospital, it was an interesting, exciting job, but after being there for 11 years, I felt I was ready for a change. I like my current role as I have a lot of time, flexibility, and independence to do what is in my expertise, and I am left to manage that myself, which is nice and freeing. It’s a very rewarding as the probation officers really appreciate my time, and I enjoy meeting lots of different people.

What is your favourite part of your job?

I would say meeting a variety of people and being able to build relationships with them. One of my main skills is being able to get on with people naturally and have common ground with them, which is why I think this job suits me. Establishing relationships with probation officers is very rewarding, and I enjoy being able to influence their work in a positive way.

What qualifications did you gain to get this role?

First, I completed my undergraduate forensic psychology degree and completed my master’s. Then there are 3 routes to apply and become a qualified forensic psychologist. I went down the route of completing a stage 2 qualification which is an independent route to becoming a forensic psychologist with the British psychological society (BPS). This involved undergoing supervised practice, where I completed a portfolio of work in a lot of different areas and was supervised every week. Then, when I completed and submitted all my work, I became a qualified forensic psychologist, and with this qualification, I got the title of chartered psychologist. When I completed this, it was very new, so it took a lot longer than anticipated, but now it is more streamlined and improved, so people are getting through it quicker.

The second route is to complete a doctorate in forensic psychology with a university, which takes about 2 years and consists of completing many placements throughout the year. This is similar to what I did as you interact with different client groups, submit evidence of work, and undergo supervision. This qualification is affiliated with the university, whereas the stage 2 qualification is not affiliated to any academic institution. After completing this, you also get the title of Dr.

The final route was developed by Cardiff university and is called the forensic psychology practitioner programme (PgD). For this route, you attend the university a few times a year. You have an academic supervisor who reviews your work, alongside an onsite supervisor for where you are working at the time. With this route, you do not get the chartership with BPS but are registered as a forensic psychologist with the health and care professions council and can work in lots of places.

Do you have any advice for anyone wanting to get into forensic psychology?

I would definitely say know where you want to be, get informed about the pathways and put a plan in place. Also, working in prisons and psychiatric hospitals can be quite daunting, so make sure it is the right thing for you. Getting experience is an important way to figure this out. A good way to do this is to be a support worker in a psychiatric hospital because undoubtedly, there will be offenders in the hospital, which gives it a forensic element. There will also be forensic psychologists working in a psychiatric hospital that you can learn from. This will allow you to see what it is like to work with people with mental health and offending difficulties.

Lisa Maltman – Senior Forensic Psychologist

Leeds Personality Disorders Service


What influenced you to become a forensic psychologist?

Initially, I thought it would be an exciting career as I was influenced by the sensationalized side of the work. I also have a strong belief that people deserve second chances, which is important in forensic psychology. However, what has kept me in this profession is my passion for justice, as people often come into lives of crime because of widespread systemic deprivation and poor life chances. Therefore, I believe it is the responsibility of the system to try and improve their futures and create opportunities so they can have a different life outcome.

What do you do on a day-to-day basis?

Every day is different, and I have a lot of responsibilities. I am the clinical lead at Southview PIPE approved premises, and we offer placements to men who screen into the offender personality disorder pathway and who are deemed at high risk of reoffending. My role involves helping the team to think psychologically about the work they do. So, at the referral stage, I assess someone’s suitability as to whether they are ready for a PIPE intervention, and then I help prepare the teams through the process of formulation. I might help the team to think about any problems that we are experiencing with a given resident or group of residents. Also, we think about people’s move on needs from a psychological point of view and reflect on people after they have moved on. For example, if someone has been suddenly recalled to prison, we need to think about what we have learned and how. Also, as a team, we think about people who have moved on successfully to discuss what we have learned about working with them.

How has your career developed since becoming qualified?

Initially, I continued working within an area that I was familiar with, which was forensic mental health, so I was in an inpatient setting. However, after a couple of years, I wanted to move away from the medical model as I wanted to experience working with people in the community, where people are seen more as citizens and not patients, and you get a more holistic view of somebody. A job came up, and I was offered a role doing community consultations and formulations, and I had an opportunity to do this in the women’s pathway. I had never worked with women before, so initially, this was quite daunting, but I think I adapted to it really well, and I enjoyed it.

I did that for two years until an opportunity came up for career progression. I worked as a senior psychologist in a women’s intervention for 3 years before the pipe clinical lead position became available. I went for that because it was an opportunity to work back with men again and to work in a residential setting which is something I am familiar with and offers lots of opportunities to engage with clients.

What is your favourite part of your job?

My favourite bit is when we use psychology as a team to understand the needs of a resident and put a plan in place. It doesn’t have to be a major intervention; it might be a small shift in how we think about things, but when we see our strategy has been effective, it is very rewarding.

What qualifications did you gain to get this role?

Initially, I completed an undergraduate degree in psychology, followed by a master’s in forensic psychology. Then I followed up by gaining experience working as a trainee forensic psychologist whilst completing my stage 2 certificate in forensic psychology with the British Psychological Society (BPS). This enabled me to become charted and registered with the health care and professions.

Do you have any advice for anyone wanting to get into forensic psychology?

I would definitely say know where you want to get be and get informed on the pathways to get there, and put a plan in place. Also, working in prisons and psychiatric hospitals can be quite daunting, so make sure it is the right thing for you. Getting experience is an important way to figure this out. A good way to do this is to be a support worker in a psychiatric hospital because undoubtedly, there will be offenders in the hospital, which gives it a forensic element. There will also be forensic psychologists working in a psychiatric hospital that you can learn from. This will allow you to see what it is like to work with people with mental health and offending difficulties.


Our staff


Clinical Psychologist

Clinical Psychologists undertake a three-year doctoral training course funded by Health Education England. They are trained to deliver cognitive behavioural therapy as well as at least one other major psychotherapeutic approach. They may work with specific populations to provide individual therapy, and work with couples or families, as well as teams and services. They also provide supervision and support to other professionals and teams, alongside developing services, delivering training, providing consultation, and conducting research.

Clinical psychologists use their scientist-practitioner training to address whole system problems at family, community, managerial and institutional level. They are trained to provide multidisciplinary leadership and innovation throughout the health and social care system.

Read more on the Psychological Professions Network (PPN) website.

Counselling Psychologist

Counselling Psychologists undertake a three-year doctoral training course to work with individuals experiencing a wide range of mental health difficulties. They consider how people relate, how they think and behave, take account of how others experience the world and how they function in their everyday life. This includes exploring people’s social, economic, cultural, spiritual, and physical health experiences. Counselling psychologists use psychological and psychotherapeutic theory and research, to reduce psychological distress and to promote the wellbeing of individuals, groups, and families.

The collaborative therapeutic relationship between a psychologist and client is a central for counselling psychologists as it helps to inform the understanding of particular psychological difficulties in the context of their client’s lives. As part of counselling psychology training and continued professional development, counselling psychologists engage in personal therapy, as a client, as they bring aspects of themselves to their work, derived from their training, wider knowledge, and lived experience.

Read more on the Psychological Professions Network (PPN) website.

Forensic Psychologist

A forensic psychologist is a practitioner psychologist with doctoral level training, specialising in applying psychological knowledge, usually in forensic settings such as courts, prisons, and forensic health care, as well as in the community.  They offer interventions for those who have committed offences, which includes work on sexual offending, violence and aggression, interpersonal and social skills, and interventions to help stop illicit drug and or alcohol use.

Read more on the Psychological Professions Network (PPN) website.

Psychological therapists, psychotherapists and counsellors

Cognitive Behavioural Therapists

Cognitive behavioural therapists are trained to assess and support children, young people, and adults with common mental health difficulties. They offer interventions that are based on cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT). CBT is a talking therapy which aims to help people manage their difficulties by changing the way they think and behave. It is most commonly used to treat anxiety and depression, but can be useful for other mental and physical health problems. Cognitive behavioural therapy is delivered on a one-to-one basis or to groups.

Read more on the Psychological Professions Network (PPN) website.

Family and Systemic Psychotherapists

Family and systemic psychotherapists work with a wide range of psychological and relationship difficulties in emotional, mental, and physical health. Research shows family therapy is useful for children, young people, adults, and older adults experiencing a wide range of difficulties.

Family and systemic psychotherapists are trained in a number of systemic therapeutic approaches, and use psychological evidence and theory to create a shared map or “formulation” of psychological difficulties, which will guide therapies and other interventions provided.

Family and systemic psychotherapists may work with a specific population, such as with children and young people, adults of all ages, or people with learning disabilities. Alternatively, they may use family and systemic psychotherapy in a particular work setting such as mental health or social care. Family and systemic psychotherapists provide therapy for whole families, parts of a family, individuals, and couples, as well as teams and services.

Read more on the Psychological Professions Network (PPN) website.

Adult Psychotherapists

Adult psychotherapists work with adults to help tackle a wide range of emotional, social, or mental health issues. These could include behavioural issues, common challenges, such as anxiety and depression, or more complex or severe issues, such as psychosis or a personality disorder diagnosis. They may also work with individuals, couples, or groups.

Adult psychotherapists have undertaken an accredited training course in one or more psychotherapeutic approaches to deliver therapies within a specific therapeutic model (for example, psychodynamic psychotherapy, cognitive analytic psychotherapy, group analysis). They provide safe, expert therapy helping people to change the ways they think and behave or find better ways to cope. This therapy will provide space for individuals to express their feelings and gain a deeper insight into the issues they face.

Read more on the Psychological Professions Network (PPN) website.

Assistant Psychologists

Assistant Psychologists (APs) work alongside learning and supporting psychological professions staff. They are graduate psychologists who work under the direct supervision of a qualified psychologist, who retain clinical responsibility for patients and service users.  APs are not registered practitioners but are usually pursuing a career as a psychological professional.

Clinical Associate Psychologists

Clinical Associates in Psychology (CAPs) have a postgraduate Masters qualification which enables them to contribute to psychologically informed intervention and service-based research. Their duties include assessing, formulating, and treating clients within specified ranges of conditions and age, either in primary care/adult mental health settings or in a range of areas involving children, young people, and their families.

CAPs have undergone an apprenticeship, supported by their employers and are only able to operate within certain specialised areas, under the supervision of a fully qualified practitioner psychologist.