Psychological Therapist in Psychedelics

Employer: King's College London
Date Posted: Oct 04, 2021
Employment: Full Time
Focus / Industry: Research
London, England, United Kingdom
King's College London
King's College London
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The Centre for Affective Disorders at the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience (IoPPN) is recruiting a Psychological Therapist in Psychedelics to support its portfolio of studies exploring the safety and efficacy of psychedelics and associated compounds.

In collaboration with member institutes of King’s Health Partners and industry partners, the post holder will be responsible for the delivery of psychological support in authorised clinical trials investigating the safety and efficacy of psychedelics and associated compounds. These trials are funded by an external industry partner.

Knowledge of the principles and mechanisms of psychedelic drug effects and their potential mechanisms of psychological change, as well as a knowledge of historic and current research in this field are essential. The applicant must demonstrate that they have professional experience administering therapeutic psychological interventions. The post holder will be able to demonstrate core qualities of trustworthiness, excellent interpersonal skills, openness, and curiosity. They will need to remain patient and composed during the drug administration session and should be able to sensitively manage anxious participants within the research setting if required.

The post holder will work with, and be supervised by Dr James Rucker, consultant psychiatrist and NIHR Clinician Scientist at the Centre for Affective Disorders, and Professor Allan Young, director at the Centre for Affective Disorders. In addition, a senior therapist will be available to provide overall clinical supervision.

The post holder will work as part of a wider study team and so an ability to communicate well and respectfully work with others is essential to promote a positive work culture.

This post will be offered a fixed-term contract for 12 months

This is a full-time post

Key responsibilities

The Candidate Is Expected To

  • Provide psychological support to study participants throughout the different stages of the clinical trial
  • Provide didactic and clinical training for therapists-in-training from the wider study team as well as international visiting trainees
  • Adhere to the study procedures outlined during the training at all times during their interaction with the participants
  • Assist the study team (study nurse, junior therapists, research assistant and supervising psychiatrist) in other tasks related to safety and wellbeing of the participants, which may include using virtual forms of communication such as Zoom
  • Support the study team with the administration of the clinical trial
  • Attend regular clinical supervision
  • Participate in the preparation of study data for presentation and publication
  • Develop and maintain effective working relationships with staff within the School as well as in the College and across KHP
  • Plan in advance for heavy workload
  • Use own initiative and creativity to solve problems

The above list of responsibilities may not be exhaustive, and the post holder will be required to undertake such tasks and responsibilities as may reasonably be expected within the scope and grading of the post.

Skills, Knowledge, And Experience

  • An ability to conduct weekly safety assessments and preparation/integration visits with assigned participants
  • An ability to lead experimental drug-assisted sessions safely and effectively with the support of the wider study team
  • Sufficient clinical experience working as a psychotherapist / counsellor with complex psychological / psychosocial presentations
  • Experience working within a multidisciplinary team
  • Exposure to psychedelics will not be considered as experience

Personal Characteristics / Competencies

  • Patience, openness, and curiosity when conducting sessions with participants
  • A flexible, energetic self-starter able to engage actively with team members, the wider College, and other potential collaborators
  • Ability to teach, lead and motivate others
  • Display a professional attitude towards colleagues, students, and others
  • A flexible attitude to work, including the ability to show initiative and take up new tasks when required without supervision

Essential Criteria

  • BACP / UKCP and/or BPS accredited professional clinical training in counselling and / or psychotherapy
  • Demonstrable experience of delivering counselling and / or psychotherapy interventions in private practice, higher education, third-sector, or NHS mental health settings
  • Evidence of continued professional / educational development
  • Knowledge of historic and current research landscape of psychedelics
  • Attendance of regular clinical supervision
  • Ability to work well under pressure and within demanding multidisciplinary team settings
  • Ability to rapidly establish and maintain effective therapeutic relationships
  • An understanding of the significance of cultural competency in psychotherapeutic interventions
  • Calm, warm, and confident manner
  • Patience, openness, and robustness when conducting sessions with participants

Desirable criteria

  • Demonstrable experience of relevant training in drug-assisted psychotherapy models and/or other drug-free forms of 'consciousness altering’ practices (e.g., breathwork, meditation, etc.)
  • Experience teaching meditative and mental imagery therapeutic methods
  • Established self-care practices, including attending own therapy

Further information

The Post-holder Will Also

  • Act in a manner that will promote a positive image of the College and the Hospitals at all times
  • Observe the College's Equal Opportunities Policy
  • Be required to occasionally work out of regular working hours in accordance with the needs of the role (e.g. events)
  • Keep information of a confidential nature strictly confidential and never disclose it either inside or outside work
  • Manage situations that require sensitivity, with general tact and diplomacy

This post is subject to Disclosure and Barring Service and Occupational Health clearance.

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Last updated: Nov 07, 2023