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Psychotherapists use talking therapies to help people deal with emotional, behavioural and mental health issues.

Annual Salary

£35,000 to £50,000

Average UK salary in 2023 was £34,963
(source Office for National Statistics)

Working hours

37 to 42 a week

You could work: in your own business; managing your own hours

Future employment

There will be 3.8% more Psychotherapist jobs in 2027.

Day to day tasks

As a psychotherapist, you would:

  • build trusting relationships with individuals, couples or groups
  • encourage clients to talk about their thoughts, feelings and behaviours
  • help clients find ways to cope with their issues and to make positive changes
  • create and update confidential client records and write reports
  • keep up to date with theory and research

Working environment

You could work in the community, in a therapy clinic, at a health centre, in an NHS or private hospital or from home.

Your working environment may be emotionally demanding.

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:

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.

Entry requirements

You'll usually need:

  • 2 to 3 A levels, or equivalent, for a degree
  • a degree in a relevant subject for postgraduate study
For more information

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.

For more information

Requirements and restrictions

You'll need to:

More information

Career tips

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.

Further information

You can find out more about careers in psychotherapy from Health Careers and the UK Council for Psychotherapy.

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With experience, you could take on a training, teaching or mentoring role, or specialise in a particular therapeutic approach.

You might also become self-employed and set up a private practice, or move into academic research.

Skills required and how your skills match up

What skills are required?

You'll need:

  • counselling skills including active listening and a non-judgemental approach
  • knowledge of psychology
  • the ability to understand people’s reactions
  • sensitivity and understanding
  • excellent verbal communication skills
  • active listening skills
  • patience and the ability to remain calm in stressful situations
  • to enjoy working with other people
  • knowledge of sociology and anthropology for understanding society and culture
  • to be able to use a computer and the main software packages competently
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