Skills and Personal Characteristics of a Psychotherapist


Candidate Support Home   
More in career-advice

What is the difference between counselling and psychotherapy?
In the context of mental health, "counselling" is generally used to denote a relatively brief treatment that is focused most upon behaviour. It often targets a particular symptom or problematic situation and offers suggestions and advice for dealing with it.

"Psychotherapy" on the other hand is generally a longer term treatment which focuses more on gaining insight into chronic physical and emotional problems. Its focus is on the patient's thought processes and way of being in the world rather than specific problems.

Skills and Personal Characteristics of a Psychotherapist:

  • An interest in caring for people by identifying their needs and providing assistance towards solving their concerns

  • An ability to demonstrate an attitude of respect and sensitivity towards patients with widely varied backgrounds, abilities, socioeconomic and educational status

  • An ability to respect patient therapist boundaries, and to work with sensitive information

  • Creative approaches to problem solving, the ability to lead and inspire others

  • Be able to work individually and as part of a team

  • Have excellent listening and interpersonal skills

  • Patience

  • Have advanced language and analytical skills

  • Strong communication skills (written and oral)

  • Critical thinking

  • Emotional stability

What is the difference between Psychotherapy and CBT?
Psychotherapy takes its roots in the theories and works of Sigmund Freud and his ideas regarding psychoanalysis (the long-term “talking cure”) and can be less structured than CBT.

Enthusiasts of psychodynamic psychotherapy dispute that for many mental health issues, continuing work is required, while supporters of CBT favour shorter interventions.

Job Prospects
Additional psychotherapists are needed to assist individuals struggling with addiction, job stress, relationship problems, depression, and mental health disorders; as a result job growth for psychotherapists is projected to increase 12 percent through 2018. Job growth will be spurred as demand continues to increase for mental health services at private companies, consulting firms, drug and alcohol rehabilitation centres, mental health clinics, social services, hospitals and schools.

Increased unhealthy lifestyles as a result of more people suffering from obesity, alcohol abuse, and smoking, will increase the need for more psychotherapists specialising in behaviour modification and prevention.

Also the ageing baby boomer population will spur growth for psychotherapists to assist elderly individuals struggling with ageing related problems.

Salary of Psychotherapist
Trainee psychotherapists in the NHS may earn around £21,388 to £27,901 a year. Qualified psychotherapists can earn up to £36,000 a year. Senior managers and staff can earn anything from £47,000 - £77,000 a year.

In the private sector, psychotherapists may earn up to £150,000 a year and charge between £50 and £100 for a 50-minute session. Lower rates may be offered to clients on low incomes.