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 like nursing, medicine or social work
- 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.
Some courses may expect you 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 counselling 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.
You can find out more about careers in psychotherapy from the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy.