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Level 2 training: Focussed Psychological Strategies Skills Training (FPS ST)

What are Focussed Psychological Strategies (FPS)?

Focussed Psychological Strategies (FPS) are specific mental health care treatments, derived from evidence-based psychological therapies. At the time of publication, they include:

  • cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), including behavioural interventions and cognitive interventions
  • interpersonal therapy (ITP)
  • psychoeducation, including motivational interviewing
  • relaxation strategies, including progressive muscle relaxation and controlled breathing
  • eye-movement desensitisation reprocessing (EMDR)
  • skills training, including training in problem-solving, anger management, social skills, communication, stress management and parent management.

For an up-to-date list of recognised FPS interventions, visit MBS online.

Under the Better Access initiative, GPs who are registered FPS providers can use a range of these recognised FPS interventions.

Objectives of FPS ST

In the context of general practice, FPS ST aims to:

  • enhance your knowledge and skills attained in MHST
  • develop your skills in providing evidence-based psychological interventions for common mental health illnesses
  • give you insight into the perspective of people who have a lived experience of a mental illness
  • give you insight into the perspective of non-professional carers caring for people living with mental illness.

FPS ST courses based on CBT and IPT

Table 3 shows the skills that are covered in GPMHSC-accredited FPS ST. 

Table 3. Focussed Psychological Strategies skills training courses

Courses based on cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT)

Courses based on interpersonal therapy (IPT )

These courses will provide skills in the following strategies, and may provide those shown as optional:
  • psycho-education
  • motivational interviewing
  • theory and principles underlying CBT
  • behavioural interventions:
    • behaviour modifications
    • activity scheduling (optional)
    • exposure techniques (optional)
  • cognitive interventions:
    • cognitive analysis, thought challenging and cognitive restructuring
    • self-instructional training, attention regulation and control (optional)
  • relaxation strategies
  • skills training (such as training in problem-solving, communication, parent management and stress management)
These courses will provide skills in the following strategies, and may provide those shown as optional:
  • psycho-education
  • motivational interviewing (optional)
  • theory and principles underlying IPT, mental illnesses linked to four types of relationship difficulties (loss, role dispute, role transitions and interpersonal deficits)
  • IPT training:
    • explores consumer’s perceptions, expectations of others and relationships
    • identifies problems with relationships
    • uses the patient’s affect to bring about change
    • problem-solves to achieve a resolution of relationship issues
    • includes communication analysis and training
    • includes role-play changed behaviour
    • looks at use of the therapeutic relationship


MHST Primary Pathway or MHST Modular Pathway.


You must complete:

  • a minimum of 12 hours of face-to-face or live/interactive contact time (delivered over consecutive weekdays or a weekend)
  • an additional interactive structured learning course of a minimum of eight hours
  • a predisposing component
  • a reinforcing component.

Learning outcomes

After completing the FPS ST, you will be able to, in the context of general practice:

  • select and demonstrate evidence-based FPS interventions appropriate to consumer issues and needs outlined in the GP MHTP
  • provide FPS that incorporate the lived experience and needs of consumers, their carers and others in their network
  • use practice systems and strategies to provide safe and holistic mental health care, including strategies that acknowledge and support your own self-care and wellbeing
  • know and understand the value of:
    • regular professional supervision with a more experienced mental health professional
    • completing other professional development to maintain and extend your skills in providing FPS
  • use MBS item numbers when providing mental health care.

Registering as a GP provider of FPS

After successfully completing FPS ST, you can register with Medicare as a GP provider of FPS and claim the relevant MBS item numbers for providing FPS in general practice.

Figure 2 outlines the steps to complete to register with Medicare as a GP provider of FPS and maintain your registration.

CPD, continuing professional development; FPS, Focussed Psychological Strategies; FPS ST, Focussed Psychological Strategies Skills Training; MBS, Medicare Benefits Schedule

Figure 2. Education required to be a registered GP provider of FPS

Useful GPMHSC resources

Focussed Psychological Strategies Skills Training
Registering with Services Australia (Medicare) as a GP provider of FPS