Advanced search

To retrain as a psychotherapist

(43 Posts)
WantARealJob Tue 02-Oct-12 21:27:52

Name changed.

I have hit a bit of a wall. I am 24, I have a distinction at my Masters and a v good undergraduate degree. I was also awarded a phd scholarship that I put on hold to concentrate on a job that came out of the blue but I couldn't turn down.

The industry in which I work, to which my undergrad and phd are related, is frankly a nasty snake pit of cut throat horribleness. I thought it was what I wanted but it has landed me anxious, plagued by self doubt and I want out. I understand how flippant this makes me sound but I just cant live a life looking over my shoulder - sorry for not giving more details but I could v easily out myself.

I have always been fascinated by psychiatry, psychotherapy, the works but made the decision to pursue the other career based on an illusion of the reality. I have wanted to retrain for a while, I crave a real hands on job working with real people, helping people, a member of my family was a psychiatric nurse and that person, along with everyone I have suggested this to, think I would be v suited.

I have been offered a job in a different sector and could easily take it, earn a fair bit, work free lance in spare time in my current sector (still entranced just cannot handle it being my full time work anymore), or I could take the plunge, end up in debt studying for what I truly want to do. I feel at my age with my qualifications (no way related to psychotherapy), in this climate, I'd be following a risky and expensive pipe dream.
Sorry this is so long, any advice appreciated.

squeakytoy Tue 02-Oct-12 21:33:41

Do it now.. because you are still young and you dont mention commitments that could hold you back now.

Better to try than regret it in another ten years time.

WMittens Tue 02-Oct-12 21:38:31

It sounds to me like you've already made your decision. It is evidently what you want, and even if it is a struggle at times, I think you will find it more rewarding than your existing chosen industry, even if it were to be smooth sailing all the way.

I personally think it would be challenging and fulfilling, although I admit I am slightly biased.

MarshmallowFarm Tue 02-Oct-12 21:41:11

sounds like this is what you really want to do and would regret not following your dream.....however spend a little time looking at job prospects for therapists in your area - some areas of the country are saturated and there are many unemployed or under-employed therapists - in others there's a shortage...

hopkinette Tue 02-Oct-12 21:41:39

Do it.

WantARealJob Tue 02-Oct-12 21:43:39

Anyone know how, costs, any available grants (may now regret voting Tory)?

slambang Tue 02-Oct-12 21:46:42

What is it about psychotherapy that appeals?

If you really want to be a psychotherapist you would need a psychology (or similar) degree plus, a post degree qualifying period of training and practice before registration. You are right that this would cost an awful lot in terms of time and money. (As you already have a degree in an unrelated subject you would need to self fund a second degree and would not be eligible for loans etc).

If it is the counselling aspect of therapy that appeals to you, could you consider taking a part time counselling course while working, counselling in a voluntary role (e.g. for Samaritans or Relate) and taking it further into paid employment if it is what you love?

slambang Tue 02-Oct-12 21:49:48


Tory voters who fondly believe that there are grants for retraining. Hah!

WantARealJob Tue 02-Oct-12 21:52:20

No longer a Tory voter, unrelated to this...

HuggleBuggleBear Tue 02-Oct-12 21:53:08

Like marshmallow suggested research carefully and consider which specific therapeutic modality you are interested in and then see if jobs available. A good way in to psychotherapy might be as a mental health nurse then doing specific training in CBT, EMDR, IPT etc.

FreudianLisp Tue 02-Oct-12 21:53:32

Have you thought about clinical psychology?

I used to work in a horrid commercial sector and I hated it because really, I don't give a stuff about making a bit more money for some big company. So I took the plunge and changed direction. My first degree wasn't in psychology so I did a one-year conversion diploma in psychology, followed by some psychiatric nursing assistant work (easy to get) followed by some assistant psychologist work (very difficult to get) and research assistant work (voluntary) and then got on a clinical psychology doctorate (for which you get a decent salary). I've never looked back. Clinical psychologists are in demand in the NHS (where I work) and also command high fees privately. The doctoral training is paid so you don't have to fund that, and the training is broad so you're equipped to work with adults, children, older adults, people with learning disabilities, etc. Plus you should also have a grounding in more CBT-ish approaches as well as in more psychodynamic approaches.

WantARealJob Tue 02-Oct-12 21:57:55

Freudian that is incredible advice thank you so much.

Similar situation with commercial, not caring about lots of money, wanting fulfilment.

Mental health nurse appeals too but i would need to train and assumably fund that myself too?

I had my own issues when younger, a lot of this desire stems from my own experiences.

FreudianLisp Tue 02-Oct-12 21:59:52

Happy to help. PM me if you want any more info.

Carpediem2007 Tue 02-Oct-12 22:02:39

The jobs you mentioned are very different with very different training requirements, duration and costs.

Can you get more information about the several options that you are considering, maybe asking to visit a local mental health team or looking into the different training options?

Working in mental health has very significant challenges and this is a very broad area.

Do you have any idea what age group you would like to work with? In the private or public sectors? Look up the salaries ranges for the varied options that you are considering and best of all try to meet people in these professions. #

The professional bodies for each professional group (psychologists, psychotherapists, counsellors, psychiatrists) will have website and contacts to get more details about these professions, look them up and most of all, meet people in these jobs before deciding on a career change.

Have you tried consulting a professional coach to help you explore your career position and your next move? I have and it helped me work out what I enjoyed at work or not and what may suit me in future.

Good luck.

NimpyWindowMash Tue 02-Oct-12 22:08:10

I would advise taking the job and earn a bit of money, in the meantime dip your toe in the water by volunteering as a befriender or for a counselling service, eg Samaritans, Childline, MIND. There will be training involved. And you will find out whether you could work in this field. You are quite young to train as a psychotherapist and many people come to this later in life.

bissydissy Tue 02-Oct-12 22:09:47

Beware clin Psych training is more competitive than ever. Freudian when did you qualify? I think was less competitive before but is simply cut throat now and there are a lot of years before knowing you have a place on a course.

Fully qualified psychotherapist are I think the longest route into mental health work and also involve many hours of (expensive) personal therapy. I think you need to have a real think/research about what you want to do. Psychotherapy is quite a distinct discipline and would not suit all.

WantARealJob Tue 02-Oct-12 22:13:47

All really useful advice thank you.

Is there any retraining funding available, anywhere, at all, public or private?

I wish I had realised this two years ago when I did my masters; human rights law is really rather useless when you have no intention of being a lawyer and are doing the subject just out of interest hmm

bissydissy Tue 02-Oct-12 22:18:19

I'm not clear if you are using the term psychotherapy to mean a proper psychodynamic psychotherapist. This is usually I think done post grad whilst working as a psychologist/psychiatrist/social worker/nurse etc. or if you mean psychotherapist in its broadest sense of being a talking therapist.

The doctoral part of clin psych is free and you are salaried as you train.

FreudianLisp Tue 02-Oct-12 22:28:31

Bissydissy it was always horrendously competitive.

bissydissy Tue 02-Oct-12 22:31:52

I know but def think its worse now. Certainly a

bissydissy Tue 02-Oct-12 22:34:51

Oops - applications are up and training places are down. Also there are less jobs/worse jobs post qualification. I

whois Tue 02-Oct-12 23:54:58

Hmmm I think YABU

Someone suggested clinical psychology. That would be an undergrad and masters in psychology. Then work for a while while trying to get into a phd course. Then do 3 years on phd course. Then try and get a job. Not easy. Expensive. Time consuming.

You don't have to love your job. Can you move industries and do something else more fulfilling in your free time?

AdoraBell Wed 03-Oct-12 01:44:47

Yes, do it. I realised that I want to do exactly that about two years ago. I'm mid forties, left school at 16, currently live abroad where I don't have a strong enough command of the language to study effectively, it's not something I can easily do long distance. Do not turn into me, I will never forgive you if you do <narrows eyes to watch OP Like. A. Hawk>

Good luck.

sadnoonie Wed 03-Oct-12 07:41:33

wantarealjob - how much money do you have or are you willing to borrow? To do a psychotherapy training is horribly expensive! Even if you are working in the tiny, beleagured part of the nhs which delivers therapy, you will be funding most of the costs off your own back.

You will have to pay:
- personal therapy or analysis fees. This will be minimum twice per week but up to 5x per week if you want to be a psychoanalyst. Mandatory for ukcp or any psychodynamic training, dunno about cbt, systemic, cat, etc. I pay £60 per session.
- training fees to the institute you choose to train through. You can find this on their website. Couple of thousand a year?
- costs of supervision, need to pay for experienced therapist's to supervise ur patients; may need more than one and to see them more than once per week.
- costs of hiring therapy room.

Personal costs
- lot of your time and energy. Learning to do therapy, writing up notes, writing up assignments/ doing academic component, going to supervision and own therapy.
- very difficult thing to do. I agree it is fascinating and a privilege to work in this area but man it is tough. High personal cost and emotional draining. Hard on own sanity. Therapy not cosy, can be very disturbing to have personal therapy.

I could go on! But baby just woke and wants feeding.

My advice: you are so young. I say this from the lofty age of 34! I definitely have found even 10 more years of living helps me in psychotherapy.

So keep your goal and work towards it!

ExplOre what sort of therapist you want to be. Start your own therapy. And look at your job or the shift to having the freelance component of current as a means to build up a savings pot to fund your training as it sounds like you are in a job with a reasonable salary?

Must go, hth, need to go to work soon too.

sadnoonie Wed 03-Oct-12 07:58:17

Oh, I'm a psychiatrist! Just to clarify that I'm training via the nhs/ rcpsych. But that would be 5 or more years at uni, then working as a basic foundation year 1 and 2 year doctor before getting a basic training job (ct) in psychiatry and rotating through psychiatry specialities, then getting a specialist training post in psychotherapy, which are a bit scarce. So at least 10 years before you actually get into a psychotherapy training post?

freudianlisp's suggestion of clin psychology training sounds much more pragmatic!

Also didn't mean to sound patronising re your age, more been there done that, so speaking from experience (in a rush) smile

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now