Psychotherapist Career Information, Jobs, Degrees & Training Programs

Psychotherapists meet with patients individually and in groups to discuss emotional, relationship, and other problems. This form of therapy is popularly known as talk therapy. People consult with psychotherapists to discuss:
  • Behavioral problems
  • Grief
  • Mental health disorders
  • Substance abuse and addiction problems
  • Post-traumatic difficulties
  • Relationship problems
Job Description

Psychotherapy was developed during the late 1800's. The following are specialties in this field:
  • Cognitive or behavioral psychotherapy – addresses behavioral issues related to harmful thoughts.
  • Couples or group psychotherapy – addresses family, group, and relationship problems.
  • Constructivist and humanist psychotherapy – evaluates an individual's worldview.
  • Humanistic and integrative psychotherapy – combines various approaches to address behavioral and emotional problems.
  • Hypno-psychotherapy – a type of hypnosis meant to address various problems.
  • Psychoanalysis – this type of therapy was popularized by Sigmund Freud. It's meant to address problems by examining a patient's past experiences. It's commonly referred to as psychodynamic psychotherapy.
Psychotherapists typically treat patients in a hospital's psychiatric unit. They're also employed at government agencies, college health centers, community centers, and medical clinics. Many psychotherapists provide instruction for social workers, health care professionals, and other psychologists. Some psychotherapists manage their own clinics, but it typically takes years to establish a clientele.

Most psychotherapy sessions last between a half-hour to an hour. During a session, psychotherapists typically ask their patients to discuss their behaviors and feelings and consider making modifications. Psychotherapists often organize group and couple psychotherapy sessions.

Education and Training

The type of training an aspiring psychotherapist should undergo is usually determined by specialty. Medical specialists and social workers often complete training in psychotherapy to better assist clients.

Psychologists desiring to conduct psychotherapy must have clinical experience and complete some graduate study. Social workers interested in psychotherapy can sign up for a licensed clinical social worker class instead of returning to school.

Prior Work Experience

Aspiring psychotherapists can acquire work experience by volunteering with a health clinic, social welfare agency, school wellness center, or youth correctional facility. One of the best ways to obtain applicable experience is to participate in group research projects during college.

Career Advancement

Most psychotherapists advance in their careers by developing a specialty, which could include group or child psychotherapy, building a large clientele, or training aspiring psychotherapists. Psychotherapists employed at universities frequently get promoted to run academic departments.

Related Associations and Groups

Details about psychotherapy careers can be obtained from these organizations:

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