Psychotherapy as a career


Are you looking for a challenging and meaningful career? Do you want to help people? If you want to do something that truly changes lives, psychotherapy could be for you.


What do psychotherapists do?

Psychotherapists support people facing challenges in life, whether an emotional crisis such as grief or anxiety, job loss, relationship difficulties, addiction. Or it may be a sense that something is not right.

You’d provide ‘talking therapy’, helping people from different backgrounds to express their feelings and process them in a safe and supportive relationship. In individual, couple, or group sessions, you’d help the people you work with to heal from trauma, find better ways to cope with problems, and gain deeper insight into the issues and challenges they face.

You could work as a psychotherapist in a range of settings, from schools to businesses, NHS services to your own private practice, even war zones. The work is dynamic, fulfilling and fascinating.

Find out more about some of the different types of therapy and philosophies and approaches you could use as a psychotherapist.



What experience do I need?

Psychotherapy attracts people from all walks of life, from teachers, nurses and social workers to TV presenters, lawyers and business leaders. Often, they’re looking for a more purposeful second career.

Younger people are also becoming psychotherapists in increasing numbers, reflecting the growing global conversation about mental health.

Most training courses are postgraduate level, but your previous qualifications don’t have to be in a related field. Importantly, you’ll also need:

  • curiosity about yourself and others and a belief in people's ability to change
  • listening and rapport-building skills
  • empathy, self awareness and a non-judgemental attitude
  • to be willing to work on staying present when difficult emotions emerge in yourself and others
  • verbal and written communication skills
  • a willingness to have your own therapy and keep developing and learning.

Read about what drew some UKCP members to become therapists



Psychotherapy training: UKCP-accredited courses

To become a UKCP-accredited psychotherapist, you need to do a postgraduate masters, or masters equivalent, training. This normally takes four years, part time. You also need to do 450 hours of practice, theory and skills.

Becoming a UKCP-accredited psychotherapeutic counsellor is normally a shorter, three-year part-time training. It also requires 450 hours of practice, theory and skills.

For both, you’ll have regular supervision with a qualified supervisor to reflect on your sessions with clients and support you as you train.

UKCP has over 70 member organisations in the UK, many offering UKCP-accredited courses to become a psychotherapist or psychotherapeutic counsellor. UKCP training accreditation is a hallmark of quality as our qualifications offer an unrivalled depth of knowledge, skill and practical experience.

Friends talking while having a coffee break

Train as a psychotherapist

To become a UKCP-registered psychotherapist or psychotherapeutic counsellor, you need to complete training which typically takes between three and six years, part time. 


Find a therapist near you