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Health & Social Care

Psychotherapist

Job Description

Psychotherapists help people to overcome their emotional problems and cope with tough situations using a range of psychological treatments, such as hypnotherapy, cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) and psychodynamic therapy.

During group sessions and one-to-one meetings, psychotherapists help people with all kinds of difficulties, from substance abuse and domestic violence to post-traumatic stress and eating disorders.

As well as talking to people and helping them deal with their problems, psychotherapists are responsible for assessing service users’ needs and then creating an appropriate treatment plan for them, which will provide them with a structured and focused way of addressing their problems.

Psychotherapists are also tasked with maintaining records, tracking their service users’ progress, and writing reports.

Salary & benefits

Annual salaries for psychotherapists in the early stages of their careers range from £21,000 to £28,000.

Senior psychotherapists, with a wealth of experience, can earn up to £46,000 and beyond.

Freelance counsellors can earn considerably more—sometimes up to £110 an hour.

Working hours

Psychotherapists typically work five days a week from nine-to-five, although extra evening and weekend work may be required from time to time to accommodate certain service users. The majority of psychotherapists work on a freelance or part-time basis.

Entry

To enter this line of work, you will need an undergraduate degree in any discipline, but studying a subject such as psychology, social work, youth work, sociology or nursing may boost your chances of securing an entry-level position.

In order to work for the NHS or another public sector organisation, you must then complete a postgraduate degree in psychotherapy, which is approved by the UK Council for Psychotherapy or British Psychoanalytic Council. The majority of aspiring psychotherapists complete these courses on a part-time basis and work at the same time. 

Training & progression

Psychotherapists complete the majority of their training through in-house workshops and training sessions. However, once you have gained a decent amount of experience, it’s advisable to become an accredited member of the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy. This will enhance your reputation and give you access to a range of additional training and networking opportunities.

Some psychotherapists choose to specialise in one particular area of psychotherapy, such as CBT or hypnotherapy, and focus on building up their reputation and client base.

Some large organisations, like the NHS, may give psychotherapists the opportunity to advance into senior management positions.

Many people opt to work on a freelance basis. Alternatively, you could always give something back to the psychotherapy community by working as a university lecturer and teaching the next generation of psychotherapists.