How to Become a Psychotherapist (Guide)

This blog helps you acknowledge how to become a psychotherapist.

The blog explains what a psychotherapist is and throws light on the way by which an individual can become a psychotherapist.

So let’s not delay and move on to the very first heading.  

So Who is a Psychotherapist?

A psychotherapist is a professional who is trained to examine and assist people suffering from psychological illnesses and disorders such as distress and anxiety disorder respectively.

Psychotherapists do not give medicines to treat clients rather than this they apply different therapies for treating the psychological illnesses and mental disorders of the clients. 

What are the Common Elements of Psychotherapy Training?

The training requirements for becoming a psychotherapist are set by accrediting bodies.

Sometimes registering bodies also act as accrediting bodies such as UKCP, BACP, BABCP, and BCP.

The British Psychological Society set requirements for psychologists whereas the Royal College of Psychistis sets the standards for medical psychotherapists. 

The following requirements are common in becoming a psychologist and a psychotherapist:

  1. An undergraduate degree or equivalent professional experience;
  2. A four-year training
  3. A considerable number of hours of supervised practice
  4. An experience of personal therapy or the ability to demonstrate the personal qualities required of a therapist (BABCP)

How To Become a Psychotherapist

For becoming a psychotherapist, first of all, an individual needs to get a Bachelor’s degree in the field of psychology or a relevant field such as sociology.

After this, the individual needs to earn a Master’s degree in psychotherapy.

While doing a Master’s, the individual will be exposed to the clinical environment to help them gain experience to get licensed.  

For example, in the United Kingdom, an individual needs to earn a Master’s degree in the field of psychotherapy along with 450 hours of clinical practice to get licensed by the United Kingdom Council for Psychotherapy (UKCP).

In the United States, an individual needs to get a pre-degree from 1000 to 1500 hours of clinical experience and 1500 hours of supervised experience after getting the degree.

Usually, the individual who has completed his required hours of being under supervision will be allowed to sit in the clinical licensing exam before they get officially licensed for practicing.

The individual can practice as an internee with the title “associate” or the “intern”, before getting officially licensed himself. 

After the individual is officially licensed, it is obligatory for him to receive a certain amount of education for keeping his license active and credentialing up to date.

More information about psychotherapy certification can be gained from here.

There are different types of psychotherapists or different specializations a psychotherapist can do.

One such specialization is becoming a behavioral therapist.

After you complete your degree, the next step is to find a suitable job with good salary.

If you’re becoming a behavioral therapist, you might want to know salaries offered to a behavioral therapist around the world and plan accordingly.

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Training Programs

The following is the list of training programs that are required to become a psychotherapist.

The number of years and training required to complete each of the following degrees varies from one and other. 

Ph.D. or Psy.D. in Psychology

Ph.D. or Psy.D. degree in the field of psychology provides a wide range of career options to individuals.

Those who have earned a doctorate degree and officially gained the status of licensed psychologists can work with clients in a number of settings such as schools, hospitals, rehabilitation centers, or even private clinics.

It takes about four to eight years to earn the degree of doctorate after getting an undergraduate degree. 

Master’s in Psychology

In some states, individuals with a Master’s degree can get a license to practice as psychologists.

Those who have a Master’s degree in the field of psychology can work in a wide range of settings.

It is important to explore what type of services can a Master’s degree holder provided to clients, depending upon the guidelines of your state. 

Master’s Degree in Counseling

The individuals with a Master’s degree in the field of counseling can work with children, adults, families, and couples after becoming a professional counselor once you get the license to practice. 

This degree required 60 credit hours which are completed in between two to three years, depending on the schedule and program you are enrolled in.

Oftentimes an individual has to complete an additional 12 to 16credit hours to get officially licensed in their state. 

Master’s Degree in Social Work

It takes two years after getting an undergraduate degree to become a licensed clinical social worker (LCSW).

For attaining a Master’s degree in social work an individual also needs to practice internship and gain supervised experience in the social work field.

Those who have a Master’s degree in the field of social work are also able to provide therapy to clients in a number of settings and environments.

Master’s Degree in Advanced Psychiatric Nursing

Master’s degree in advanced psychiatric nursing is often neglected but it is a very good option for nurses who wish to practice for promoting mental health.

The nurses require about two to three years for earning a Master’s degree or a higher degree in advanced psychiatric nursing after a graduate degree. 

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What qualifications do you need to become a psychotherapist?

To become a psychotherapist an individual needs to get a graduate degree, most commonly a doctorate degree in the field of clinical psychology, counseling psychology, or clinical social work with an emphasis on psychology.

For attending a Master’s or doctoral degree, it is important to complete two years of supervised clinical practice.

How much does a psychotherapist make a year?

A psychotherapist with about five to nine years of experience earns about $ 57 830 based on 227 salaries, while an experienced psychotherapist with about 10 to 19 years of experience earns about $ 60540 on average, based on 239 salaries.

Is psychotherapy a good career?

Yes, psychotherapy is a very good career.

A psychotherapist can work in a number of settings including rehabilitation centers, schools and colleges, hospitals, clinics, and so forth.

A degree from a renowned university can help an individual to get the best career options.

How do I become a psychotherapist UK?

For becoming a psychotherapist in the UK you have to complete a degree in psychology or a related subject such as sociology, post-graduation qualification, and about 450 hours of practice to become an officially licensed psychotherapist by the United Kingdom Council for Psychotherapy (UKCP)

How long does it take to train as a psychotherapist?

The courses can take about 4 years to complete.

For becoming a child psychotherapist, you need to complete about 4 years of training with the Association of Child Psychotherapists (ACP).

You will also require the experience of working with children or vulnerable adults.

Is a psychotherapist the same as a psychologist?

No, a psychologist and a psychotherapist are not the same.

A psychotherapist is a person who has obtained special training, unlike a psychologist, from a psychotherapy school or learned supervised psychotherapies.

On the other hand, the psychologist is the person who has graduated in the field of psychology and can study the human mind.

This page provided you with details about how to become a psychotherapist.

We hope this blog would have been as a source of learning for you.

If you have any questions or queries regarding this blog, let us know your comments.

We will be glad to assist you.


How To Become a Therapist: Requirements, Degrees & Experience by Joaquín Selva (2020)

How to Become a Psychotherapist by Kendra Cherry (2020) 

How to become a psychotherapist | The NSPC 

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