Careers Service Occupations

Counselling & Psychotherapy

Counselling and Psychotherapy

About

Careers advice

Industry news

Professional bodies

These represent people working in the sector, providing training and networking opportunities. They often provide careers support for students and graduates. They also provide development for people already working in the sector. Follow them on LinkedIn, or visit their websites for news, contacts, work experience and vacancies.

The main professional associations for this sector include:

Making contacts

Making contacts is helpful for success in this sector. Many jobs in this field are gained through networking and speculative applications. You could start with:

Social media, particularly LinkedIn and Twitter, is useful for making contacts, finding employers and opportunities. Find out more about how to use social media for your career and subscribe to our Twitter list.

Events

Recruitment fairs, open days, talks and events give insight and opportunities to make contacts. Events for this sector include Careers Service events and External Events.

Related sectors

You may also be interested in PsychologyHealthcare and Complementary Therapies or see our other occupational pages for more options.

Roles & Skills

The following job profiles include descriptions of typical duties, entry requirements and case studies.

Cognitive behavioural therapist

The BABCP has a downloadable BABCP careers guide (PDF: 116KB) and a list of accredited courses.

Counsellor

Genetic counsellor

High intensity therapist

Play therapist

Primary care graduate mental health worker

Psychological wellbeing practitioner

Psychotherapist

Psychotherapist, child

Skills employers look for

  • excellent communication skills with the ability to build a rapport
  • observation and listening skills
  • a non-judgemental attitude and a sensitive and empathetic approach
  • resilience, patience and tolerance
  • self awareness and a sense of humour
  • a clear understanding of confidentiality, equality and diversity issues

Gaining Experience

Getting into counselling & psychotherapy is extremely competitive. Work experience is invaluable in developing relevant skills and demonstrating your interest and commitment to recruiters.

Finding work experience

Volunteering

Voluntary work for a mental health charity or working with vulnerable people can help you develop relevant skills.

See Volunteering for help with finding opportunities.

Part-time work

Part-time work can help you develop relevant skills. Care assistant roles, for example, can be useful experience for getting into counselling. To search, see Vacancies Online and Finding a part-time job

Specialist recruitment agencies

The Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC) is available to search for recruitment agencies specialising in health and social care.

Finding companies

Work shadowing with relevant practitioners can help you develop your knowledge of a role and organisation. Find agencies that interest you and get in touch, always with a named contact.

Be specific about why you are writing to them and what you’re looking for. Show your enthusiasm for the sector and highlight any relevant skills. 

Don’t give up if you don’t get a reply – follow up with a phone call or email to show that you’re keen.

See Researching Employers for more information on finding companies.

Finding Jobs

Competition is strong, especially for entry-level positions. Use the following resources to find advertised vacancies and also research employers for speculative applications.

Vacancy sites

Specialist recruitment agencies

Use the Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC) directory to search for recruitment agencies specialising in health and social care.

Finding companies

Not all jobs are advertised. You could also approach organisations or find work through networking in the industry. Find organisations that interest you and get in touch, always with a named contact. Be specific about why you are writing to them and what you’re looking for. Show your enthusiasm for the sector and highlight any relevant skills. Don’t give up if you don’t get a reply – follow up with a phone call or email to show that you’re keen.

See Researching Employers for more information on finding companies.

Study

For most careers in counselling and psychotherapy, you will need a qualification approved or accredited by the relevant professional body.

Check entry requirements for each role using the profiles in Roles & Skills.

See Further Study for more information on finding, funding and applying for courses or come and talk to an adviser. No appointment is needed.

Self-employment

Being self-employed or working freelance is common in the counselling & psychotherapy sector.

START UP provides information on the range of activities and support available to eligible Newcastle students and graduates interested in developing enterprise skills or starting their own business/working for themselves.

COBRA has factsheets and reports on starting up and running a business. COBRA can only be accessed through a University computer on the Newcastle campus.