Psychologically Informed Environments

Psychologically Informed Environements Logo

Changing the way we deliver support

Psychologically Informed Environment (PIE) training, delivered by our partners at St Basils, uses psychological models and expertise to improve the relationship between support workers and service users. A PIE-trained organisation is designed to meet the emotional and psychological needs of service users in order to enable them to make positive changes in their lives.

What is a Psychologically Informed Environment?

A PIE uses psychological models to inform practice and achieve outcomes that support the organisation’s aims and objectives.  PIE provides a flexible but consistent framework that shapes the culture and gives managers and staff shared knowledge and a common language to discuss challenging issues.  Fundamentally, PIE enables staff to develop reflection skills in order to build collaborative, compassionate relationships with service users with complex needs.  Through positive relationships with staff, service users are more able to develop the skills and beliefs they need to achieve their goals.

St Basils & PIE

Since 2011, St Basils has been developing a PIE culture and ethos within our organisation.  Having learned many useful lessons about the implementation of PIE to meet the needs of service users with multiple complex needs, we were awarded the contract to deliver the PIE training for Birmingham Changing Futures Together.  This comprises delivering a comprehensive programme of training to organisations that are signed up to the No Wrong Door Network.

St Basils is a charity and Housing Association that works across the West Midlands region with young people aged 16-25 who are homeless or at risk of homelessness.

Our work covers the full spectrum of services from prevention, advice and assessment onto supported accommodation and engagement initiatives as well as services designed to help young people back into education, training and employment.

What are the benefits of being a “PIE” organisation?

People with varied and complex needs may have poor relationship skills and struggle to use support effectively, whilst others behave in ways that are surprising or challenging.  Research findings have demonstrated that many of these individuals have experienced significant trauma and abuse in childhood.  Evidence is building to show that with the right competencies, staff are able to provide ‘trauma-informed’ interventions to promote development and positive change.

What are the benefits for service users?

People with complex needs, who in the past were labelled as ‘hard to reach’ or ‘challenging’, are offered effective support by staff to help them overcome barriers in achieving their ambitions.  A ‘PIE’ approach helps individuals develop relational and emotional skills needed to tackle problems such as repeat homelessness and substance misuse.

What are the benefits for staff?

PIE is not an additional “task” that has to be fitted in, but equips staff with knowledge and skills that positively influence the way support is delivered.  Staff report that knowledge of PIE has the added benefit of helping them to cope with the demands of their role, decreasing the likelihood of “burn-out”.  Some have also commented that it has equipped them with tools they can apply to a variety of situations to improve their own general mental health and well-being.

How are staff involved?

Staff attend Foundation Training in PIE, to help them learn more about the PIE approach and how this can influence their role in a positive way.  Training helps improve understanding of people with complex needs, as well as learning to use psychological tools and skills that can be useful in improving the outcomes of support sessions and meetings.  For Managers, the same PIE competencies are adapted to help them support their staff to implement PIE strategies.

Frontline staff attend a monthly Reflective Practice Group – these are the cornerstone of a PIE way of working.  These sessions help staff to implement what they have learnt in the training and provide an opportunity for staff to reflect on their actions, which increases learning and self-awareness.

Programme Delivery

Between September 2016 and April 2019 the St Basils PIE Programme has been delivered to 208 frontline staff, across 15 organisations within the No Wrong Door Network (NWD). The programme consists of 3 days of Foundation Training and 12 months of guided Reflective Practice.

Training Outcomes

100% of trainees found PIE foundation training to be useful for their work.

96% of trainees felt that training helped them to build positive relationships and empower clients.

Meet The Team

Jean Templeton

St Basils CEO and PIE Lead


St Basils took the decision to take a whole organisation approach to becoming a Psychologically Informed Environment in 2011, embedding training and reflective practice. Jean will bring her organisational experience of PIE to the No Wrong Door Network.

Lucy Clarke

PIE Programme Administrator


Lucy co-ordinates and manages the delivery of the P.I.E. programme for Birmingham Changing Futures Together; working closely with organisations in the No Wrong Door network

Dr Amanda Skeate

Consultant Clinical Psychologist St Basils and Forward Thinking Birmingham; Lead for PIE


With over 20 years experience working in mental health, Amanda has been involved with developing and delivering St Basils Psychologically Informed Environments Programme since 2011.

Dr Bill Bell

Chartered Clinical Psychologist ACAT accredited Cognitive Analytic Therapy Psychotherapist & Supervisor EMDR Europe Accredited Practitioner


Bill is an experienced therapist, trainer and supervisor. He worked in the NHS in multidisciplinary mental health teams for over 20 years developing psychologically informed approaches for individuals with complex mental health problems.