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Psychotherapists use talking techniques and therapies to help people who are distressed, or have mental health problems.
1. Entry requirements
You’ll usually need:
- a relevant degree or professional qualification in social work, psychology, medicine or mental health
- experience of working with vulnerable adults or children
- training at postgraduate level
- registration with a professional body like the UK Council for Psychotherapy (UKCP) or the British Psychoanalytic Council (BPC)
The UKCP and the BPC have more information on how to train as a psychotherapist.
If you’re applying for a child psychotherapy training post, you may be able to get financial support from the NHS Trust you’re applying to.
2. Skills required
- excellent communication and listening skills
- observation and questioning skills
- the ability to build trust and rapport with a wide range of people
- the ability to separate your own feelings from those of your clients
- the confidence and skill to explore painful issues with clients
3. What you'll do
Your work with clients could involve:
- encouraging them to talk about emotional or relationship problems
- analysing past events and behaviours so that changes can be made
- assessing their way of thinking and their feelings
- helping them develop new strategies for coping
There are different types of psychotherapy, like cognitive behavioural therapy, psychoanalysis and hypnotherapy. The approach you use will depend on your specialism and your clients’ needs.
Starter: £28,050 to £35,250 (NHS trainee)
Experienced: up to £41,500 (qualified)
Highly Experienced: up to £85,333 (senior managers)
In the private sector, you could charge £40 to £100 for a 50-minute session.
These figures are a guide.
5. Working hours, patterns and environmentYou’ll usually work 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday.
Private therapy sessions may take place outside these hours to fit in with your clients' working times.
Sessions last from 30 to 60 minutes.
This work can be emotionally challenging.
You’ll usually have support from a mentor through regular supervision sessions.
6. Career path and progressionWith experience, you could take on a training, teaching or mentoring role, or become self-employed and set up in private practice.
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Last updated: 14 November 2018