Psychotherapists use talking techniques and therapies to help people who are distressed, or have mental health problems.

Annual Salary

£31,365 to £44,503

Average UK salary in 2018 was £29,588
(source Office for National Statistics)

Working hours

38 to 41 a week

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

Future employment

There will be 6% more Psychotherapist jobs in 2024.
In your local area

What's it all about?

Day to day tasks

On a day-to-day basis, you could:

  • encourage clients to talk about emotional or relationship problems
  • analyse past events and behaviours so that changes can be made
  • assess a client's way of thinking and how they deal with their feelings
  • help clients to develop new strategies for coping
  • have regular supervision sessions with your mentor

Working environment

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

Your working environment may be emotionally demanding.

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
  • 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:

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.

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 usually need to have completed a counselling certificate to do a diploma, or have a lot of experience of working with vulnerable people.

Some colleges have a minimum age limit to start this type of course.

For more information

Requirements and restrictions

You'll need to:

More information

Further information

You can find out more about careers in psychotherapy from the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy.

With experience, you could take on a training, teaching or mentoring role.

You could become self-employed and set up a private practice. You could also move into research as a career.

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
  • customer service skills
  • the ability to understand people’s reactions
  • sensitivity and understanding
  • excellent verbal communication skills
  • patience and the ability to remain calm in stressful situations
  • to enjoy working with other people
  • active listening skills
  • to be able to use a computer and the main software packages competently
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