Psychotherapists use talking techniques and therapies to help people who are distressed, or have mental health problems.
Salary range: £30,401 to £43,772
How to become a psychotherapist
You can get into this job through:
- a university course
- a college course
You’ll need to complete:
- a degree in psychology or a related subject
- an accredited postgraduate qualification
- 450 hours of practice to be registered as a licensed psychotherapist by the United Kingdom Council for Psychotherapy (UKCP)
Your course should be one recognised by the:
- United Kingdom Council for Psychotherapy
- British Psychoanalytic Council
- Association of Child Psychotherapists
Courses can take up to 4 years to complete.
To become a child psychotherapist, you will need to complete 4 years of training with the Association of Child Psychotherapists (ACP).
You’ll also need experience of working with children or vulnerable adults.
You’ll usually need:
- 2 to 3 A levels, or equivalent, for a degree
- a degree in a relevant subject for postgraduate study
- equivalent entry requirements
- student finance for fees and living costs
- finance for postgraduate courses
- university courses and entry requirements
You could start by doing a Level 3 or 4 Diploma in Counselling before moving onto further training at degree and postgraduate level.
You’ll usually need to have completed a counselling certificate to do a diploma, or have a lot of experience of working with vulnerable people.
Some colleges have a minimum age limit to start this type of course.
Entry requirements for these courses vary.
You can find out more about careers in psychotherapy from the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy.
What it takes
Skills and knowledge
- counselling skills including active listening and a non-judgemental approach
- knowledge of psychology
- customer service skills
- the ability to understand people’s reactions
- sensitivity and understanding
- excellent verbal communication skills
- patience and the ability to remain calm in stressful situations
- to enjoy working with other people
- to be able to use a computer and the main software packages competently
Restrictions and requirements
You’ll need to:
What you’ll do
On a day-to-day basis, you could:
- encourage clients to talk about emotional or relationship problems
- analyse past events and behaviours so that changes can be made
- assess a client’s way of thinking and how they deal with their feelings
- help clients to develop new strategies for coping
- have regular supervision sessions with your mentor
You could work in the community, in a therapy clinic, in an NHS or private hospital or at a health centre.
Your working environment may be emotionally demanding.
Career path and progression
With experience, you could take on a training, teaching or mentoring role.
You could become self-employed and set up a private practice. You could also move into research as a career.