This role description is currently under review.

The Role(s)

As a Psychotherapist, you would work with people of all ages and backgrounds to help them overcome psychological or emotional issues. Treatment would normally start with an assessment, which could take place over a number of sessions. The assessment would be used to prepare a personal treatment plan for the client, helping them to address their thoughts, feelings and behaviours as well as understanding inner conflicts.

Psychotherapists can also work with couples, families or groups of people who share similar problems, such as eating disorders, aggressive behavior or depression. Psychotherapy can be provided for young people as well as for adults.

In NHSScotland, Psychotherapists may work in

  • hospitals
  • local clinics and health centres
  • the community

Skills, Interests and Abilities

Working as a Psychotherapist, you will need to be

  • an excellent communicator
  • able to work in a team environment
  • able to handle sensitive and difficult issues
  • confident working with individuals and groups
  • positive and enthusiastic
  • good at problem solving and decision making

 Useful abilities include:

  • being patient and understanding
  • an awareness of people and their behaviour
  • being able to gain clients’ trust
  • good observation an listening skills
  • the ability to remain calm in difficult or challenging situations


Entry Requirements

In Scotland, there are 3 providers which offer post graduate qualifications in Counselling or Psychotherapy, accredited by the British Association for Counselling & Psychotherapy (BACP). These are:

To practise as a Psychotherapist in NHSScotland, you must register with the HCPC after completing an approved postgraduate programme.

Protecting Vulnerable Groups (PVG) scheme

Psychotherapists working in NHSScotland are required to become members of the Protecting Vulnerable Groups (PVG) scheme in respect of regulated work protected adults and children. This scheme is managed by Disclosure Scotland.

Learning and Development

Once you have graduated, you will be eligible to apply for registration with the HCPC and apply to become a chartered member (CPsychol) of the British Psychological Society (BPS).

Continuing Professional Development (CPD) allows Psychotherapists to keep their knowledge and skills up to date and is essential to maintaining registration with the HCPC. The BPS offers a variety of courses and CPD opportunities, as well as conferences and seminars where psychotherapists can exchange ideas and update their skills.

Some Psychotherapists choose to become a specialist in a particular area or work with specific client groups. As an experienced practitioner, you could become a Senior or Consultant Psychotherapist, working in NHSScotland while running a private practice and teaching.


Professional Bodies

Health & Care Professions Council (HCPC)

The HCPC is an independent, UK-wide regulatory body responsible for setting and maintaining standards for health, psychological, and in England; social work professionals. It maintains a public register of qualified professionals and works to improve industry standards and education. Visit the HCPC website to find out more.

The British Psychological Society (BPS)

The BPS is the representative body for psychology and psychologists practicing in the UK. It promotes excellence and ethical practice in the science, education and practical applications of pure and applied psychology. Find out more on the BPS website.