Looking to pursue a career as a therapist? Working in professional psychotherapy will guarantee a varied and rewarding role that comes with plenty of challenges too.
Whether you’ve worked in a healthcare setting before or you’re thinking of changing from an entirely different field, it’s still possible to gain the right skills and qualifications to become a therapist.
What does it take to become a therapist?
A therapist will need to guide their clients through difficult conversations, with some requiring difficult or traumatic experiences to be relayed and understood. Not everyone can handle these situations on a daily basis, so it’s important for you to know your limits.
You’ll need to know about the signs and symptoms of mental health conditions – including those that might be more difficult to diagnose and manage, like borderline personality disorder. A few of the necessary skills for the role include:
- Knowledge of psychology
- Empathy and sensitivity
- Strong written and verbal communication
To be a successful therapist, you’ll need to be someone who can distinctly separate your work from home life. If you take worries for your clients home with you, working could very quickly become a stressful and unhealthy environment for you – even with the correct supervision and guidance.
What do you need to do before you become a therapist?
- Gain an introduction
As with any career change, you’ll need to know what working as a therapist involves. By taking an introductory course, you can gain an understanding of basic counselling skills and an overview of the training required. After that, you can decide if it’s still the right choice for you.
- Seek experience
Completing the appropriate amount of work experience hours and courses is crucial. Without the ability to demonstrate that you can handle the pressures of the unique environment presented, you might not be able to secure a job in this competitive field.
- Earn your qualifications
As you’ll be seeing multiple vulnerable patients on a daily basis, it’s crucial that you have a qualification in a relevant subject. Alternatively, you could go down the route of BACP accreditation, with courses normally accessed through colleges and specialist providers.
If you’ve already studied an undergraduate degree in counselling or psychotherapy, your university studies and placement experience should be an excellent springboard.
After completing your training, earning your qualifications, and learning from your experience, it’s important to practise as an honest and reputable therapist. You could start your own practice or join an existing one depending on where you’d like to take your career.
Regardless of the professional setting in which you choose to work, obtaining insurance for therapists is advised can help you embark in your new career with peace of mind.
Counsellors and therapists are responsible for helping people work through complicated personal issues and mental health problems. If you have a passion for psychology and you can stay calm, respectful, and non-judgemental under pressure, this could be the career for you.