Top tips for those considering a career in psychotherapy

Psychotherapist and music industry consultant Tamsin Embleton of Embleton Psychotherapy shares some top tips for those considering a career in psychotherapy. It’s a guide Tamsin created following conversations with musicians and other professionals within the industry who had been considering a change in direction.

So what does Tamsin do?

She is an attachment-based psychoanalytic psychotherapist, meaning that she explores the quality and availability of a client’s first relationships and how these experiences influence the client’s sense of self and ability to form relationships in later life. She works with clients from all walks of life including the creative industries – and although they come to her with varying presenting issues, beliefs and perspectives – they all have common aims of seeking clarity, support and a deeper understanding of themselves.

So what does a potential therapist need to think about before starting training?

Tamsin says considering things like your underlying motives and how you feel being close to people in distress is important. Having overcome personal challenges and difficulties is a strength in the industry according to Tamsin, as it allows a would-be therapist to get closer to the client’s material and empathise on a deeper level.

There are currently two registration bodies in the UK, the BACP (British Association for Counsellors and Psychotherapists) and UKCP (UK Council for Psychotherapy). Various criteria need to be filled in order to be registered with either body, although UKCP registration is longer and requires more in-depth training.

How long does it take?

Training generally takes between three and five years and being accepted on to courses requires some pre-requisites like volunteering in a caring role or on a helpline, and in some cases the completion of a foundation certificate. Plus personal therapy is an important part of training which allows the potential therapist to work through their own material before beginning work with others.

Self-care

Another important factor to keep in mind is self-care practices, as Tamsin stresses there is exposure to a lot of distress during training. She suggests budding therapists to develop sound self-care practices early on in training because they help in processing the emotions which arise when being around distressing situations and help to mitigate the likelihood of burn-out or vicarious traumatisation.

How much does it cost?

In terms of costs of re-training there are a few things to keep in mind according to Tamsin. The costs of the courses vary between £4000 and £7000 per annum, which doesn’t include personal therapy and can be between £30 – £80 depending on what is agreed with the therapist. Trainee therapists usually start working with clients around year 2 or 3 which is unpaid but may require supervision which will also incur a cost, although some supervisors offer low fees for trainees and some course providers offer supervision as part of their fee. There are Career Development Loans available as well but not all courses are compatible so worth checking.

And so although the training is expensive and challenging with constant self-evaluation, Tamsin says it’s a great privilege to be part of client’s healing journeys and thinks that there’s lots of personal and professional rewards of the career.

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