How to become a psychotherapist
You can get into this job through:
- a university course
- a college course
To become a psychotherapist, you'll need to:
- study for a degree such as psychology, nursing, medicine or social work
- do an accredited postgraduate qualification
- complete 450 hours of practice
Your postgraduate course should be recognised by one of the following:
- UK Council for Psychotherapy
- British Psychoanalytic Council
- British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy
- Association of Child Psychotherapists (APC)
Training can take between 3 and 4 years to complete.
To become a child psychotherapist, you will need to complete 4 years of training with the APC.
You'll also need experience of working with children or vulnerable adults.
Some courses may expect you to go into therapy yourself during your training. This is to help you deal with any issues that may affect you as a therapist, as well as to experience therapy from a client's point of view.
You'll usually need:
- 2 to 3 A levels, or equivalent, for a degree
- a degree in a relevant subject for postgraduate study
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 be encouraged to take an introductory course to start, to make sure that this is a career for you.
Some colleges have a minimum age limit to start this type of course. They may also expect you to have had experience of working with vulnerable people.
Entry requirements for these courses vary.
Training in psychotherapy is personally and emotionally challenging. It can also be costly and takes a lot of time and dedication. It's important to think about how it will impact your life before committing to a course.