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How do you become a qualified psychotherapist?

I am doing psychology, biology and sociology for alevel and I have been interested in becoming a psychotherapist. However, I have no idea what courses you need to do to become one or how long it takes. Could someone tell me how? Also, information on the amount they are paid or if becoming a psychotherapist is worth it would be great!
Hi there! Like most things regarding psychology, you'll need a degree first (ideally a BPS-accredited Psychology degree) and then you'll have to do some training afterwards, so you're looking at a couple of years of education and training. The following websites might be of use to you:

https://www.psychotherapy.org.uk/psychotherapy-training/
https://www.healthcareers.nhs.uk/explore-roles/psychological-therapies/roles/psychotherapist
https://nationalcareers.service.gov.uk/job-profiles/psychotherapist

Have a look at these websites, stop if you're feeling overwhelmed with information. They have loads of information and you don't need to know it all. It'll be enough to have a general idea of the process and what your future steps should be, and once studying at university you'll have more help and assistance to figure all this stuff out :smile:
Psychotherapist is a huge umbrella term that encompasses about a dozen or so different professions, each with their own training path and qualification system. You need to consider which pathway you want to progress down. You can see more of them here: https://www.ppn.nhs.uk/resources/careers-map

To be a Psychologist (Clinical or Counselling) you will need a BPS recognised psychology degree (and then experience before doing further doctoral level training), but for the vast majority of other routes none of that is necessary.
Reply 3
Original post by volatile-lake
I am doing psychology, biology and sociology for alevel and I have been interested in becoming a psychotherapist. However, I have no idea what courses you need to do to become one or how long it takes. Could someone tell me how? Also, information on the amount they are paid or if becoming a psychotherapist is worth it would be great!

As above, there are so many different roles within psychotherapy and many different possible routes - not all requiring a psychology degree (though in my experience, it helps!). I can share the route I took to give you an idea of one possibility.

I did my undergraduate degree in Psychology with Counselling with the Open University.

Then I completed a level 3 counselling skills certificate at a local college, which took 1 academic year.

I then did a postgraduate certificate in psychological therapies (started an MSc but dropped out as I realised I wanted to continue with professional counselling/psychotherapy training instead of a more academic route).

I moved into a level 4 counselling diploma after that, which took 2 academic years and involved a 100-hour placement.

After that, I took on a role as a Trainee High Intensity CBT Therapist, which is a paid role in the NHS (just finishing this now).

Alongside all of that (apart from my current HIT role), I built up a lot of relevant experience by working as a support worker, drug and alcohol recovery worker, and Assistant Psychologist.


This is just one possible route, there are also degrees in counselling and psychotherapy out there that offer an alternative route. Mine has taken me a long time, but I'm very happy with where I am at now.
Original post by Nerol
As above, there are so many different roles within psychotherapy and many different possible routes - not all requiring a psychology degree (though in my experience, it helps!). I can share the route I took to give you an idea of one possibility.

I did my undergraduate degree in Psychology with Counselling with the Open University.

Then I completed a level 3 counselling skills certificate at a local college, which took 1 academic year.

I then did a postgraduate certificate in psychological therapies (started an MSc but dropped out as I realised I wanted to continue with professional counselling/psychotherapy training instead of a more academic route).

I moved into a level 4 counselling diploma after that, which took 2 academic years and involved a 100-hour placement.

After that, I took on a role as a Trainee High Intensity CBT Therapist, which is a paid role in the NHS (just finishing this now).

Alongside all of that (apart from my current HIT role), I built up a lot of relevant experience by working as a support worker, drug and alcohol recovery worker, and Assistant Psychologist.


This is just one possible route, there are also degrees in counselling and psychotherapy out there that offer an alternative route. Mine has taken me a long time, but I'm very happy with where I am at now.

Hi hope you don’t mind me replying to this! I’m doing my Msc in Counselling with Positive Psychology due to graduate next year and was wondering how it was for you to get onto the trainee HiT role? I’m really interested in training in CBT & taking this route. Thanks!

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