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Promoting Excellence In Psychological Health & Wellbeing

Adult Psychotherapist

As an adult psychotherapist, you will work with adults to help tackle a wide range of emotional, social or mental health issues. These could include behavioural issues, common challenges, such as anxiety and depression, or more complex or severe issues, such as psychosis or a personality disorder diagnosis. You may work with individuals, couples or groups.

Having trained in one or more psychotherapeutic approaches, you will provide safe, expert therapy helping people to change the ways they think and behave or find better ways to cope. This therapy will provide space for them to express their feelings and gain a deeper insight into the issues they face.

You will work under supervision, and, later in your career you may also supervise other psychotherapists. You may work alongside other health professionals, such as psychologists, psychiatrists, nurses and other clinicians.

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Required Training for this Role

You will usually complete the taught element of your training over four years, combining study with clinical training under supervision. Alongside your training, you will be expected to undertake your own personal therapy and/or personal development to build your self-awareness and to expand on your ability to relate to others.

Psychotherapy training programmes and training organisations are typically accredited by the United Kingdom Council for Psychotherapy (UKCP), the British Psychoanalytic Council (BPC), or the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP).

Some NHS work may require shorter term top-up training to help prepare you for specific working contexts you will face.

Entry Requirements to Train for this Role icon

Entry Requirements to Train for this Role

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In order to secure a place on a psychotherapy training course, you will typically need an undergraduate degree or equivalent in a relevant subject and/or a relevant professional qualification.

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You should usually be able to demonstrate that you have relevant experience of working with people in a responsible role. You should also be able to demonstrate that you have personal qualities that make you suitable for the psychotherapy profession, such as excellent communication skills, self-awareness, the ability to empathise with others and make positive relationships, and openness to addressing issues of prejudice and the oppression of minority groups.

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Salary Expectations

Trainee psychotherapists in the NHS will usually start on Band 6 on the NHS Agenda for Change pay scales. Once qualified, you would typically be employed at Band 7. Progression to a higher band requires further specialisation, as well as additional management and leadership responsibilities. Some adult psychotherapists progress to leadership positions across the full range of Agenda for Change pay scales, all the way to Band 9.

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Future Career Options

As your professional experience and knowledge develops, there will be opportunities to move into more senior positions within services, such as supervisor or clinical lead roles. Additional training may be available to assist your professional development.

There will also be opportunities to be involved in research and to train others to become psychotherapists. There may also be the opportunity to take on additional managerial or leadership responsibilities within the service you are working in.

Some psychotherapists split their working time between NHS services and private practice.

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Registering or Accrediting Body

In order to work as a psychotherapist in the NHS, you will normally be required to be registered with the United Kingdom Council for Psychotherapy (UKCP), the British Psychoanalytic Council (BPC), or the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP), who are all part of the Professional Standards Authority’s (PSA) Accredited Registers scheme.

You may be registered directly with these bodies or via the organisation you trained with.

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Professional Organisation

The United Kingdom Council for Psychotherapy (UKCP), the British Psychoanalytic Council (BPC), or the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP). Some psychotherapists may also be members of the British Psychological Society (BPS).