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Psychotherapy Degree

Psychotherapy is based on the theory that the unconscious mind influences the conscious self. While there are still a lot of opposing views in this field, the ideas and methods introduced by psychoanalytic thinking have contributed a great deal to the practice of experimental psychology, clinical psychology, cognitive psychology and modern day psychotherapy.

This field offers a diverse set of career paths. To enter into it, you will need to start looking for psychotherapy degrees and colleges that offer various forms of it.

worried women comforted by therapist

Psychotherapy Programs

Depending on your prior qualifications and future career plans, you can consider the various degree options within the field. Most college and universities’ psychology departments treat psychotherapy as one aspect of a very complex and varied field of psychology and mental health treatment. However, there are several universities that offer psychotherapy degree programs, at all levels of education.

Bachelor’s Degree in Psychotherapy

A Bachelor of Arts in Psychotherapy would typically take around three to four years to complete, and would include courses relevant to personal development through personal therapy, process group work and supervised clinical practice in the later years.

There are no particular prerequisites that you need to have taken for this degree. A high school diploma or a GED would typically be enough.

This degree would help students in:

  • Starting a career as a psychotherapist or a professional counselor
  • Gaining counseling and psychotherapy experience with actual clients
  • Using research-informed experiential models of therapy

Psychotherapy Master’s Degree

A master’s degree in psychotherapy prepares students to analyze the ideas, behaviors and emotions that patients show during therapy sessions. They use this analysis to determine the mental state of these individuals and help them with any unresolved subconscious conflicts.

To be eligible for admission into a master’s program in psychotherapy, you need to have earned a bachelor’s degree in any academic background. Most universities do not place a requirement for the major at the undergraduate level; however, some colleges might require you to have a basic understanding of concepts of psychology.

The coursework will vary greatly with your area of specialization and might vary from university to university as well. However, on the whole, it will most likely include subjects such as the following:

  • Fundamental psychoanalytic theory
  • Analysis techniques
  • Abnormal psychology
  • Child psychology
  • Clinical evaluation and treatment
  • Mental health and multi-cultural trends

In addition to these courses, a master’s degree typically includes a thesis at the end of the program.

PhD in Psychotherapy

There are not many universities in the United States that offer a doctorate program in psychotherapy. However, there are programs that offer a component that focuses on psychotherapy or a related science. Students are given the opportunity to take part in clinical research, participate in clinical practice and choose and work on a dissertation topic.

To be eligible for a doctoral degree in psychotherapy, you should at least have a bachelor’s degree. Some universities may require students to hold a master’s degree, or coursework equivalent to a master’s degree in the related subject area.

As a part of this degree, the courses you would typically study would include:

  • Freudian psychoanalysis
  • Psychoanalytic research
  • Dream interpretation
  • Human mental development
  • Jungian psychoanalysis

Psychotherapy Courses Online

There are several colleges and institutions that offer psychotherapy courses and certifications online. Many institutions offer blended learning certificates in counseling and psychotherapy. This online option allows students to explore the subject area at their own pace, from home. Course material is delivered online with ongoing tutor support.

Some psychotherapy programs are 100% online, while others might be offered in a hybrid format. Hybrid programs usually include on-campus classes over the weekends, where interpersonal communications, personal development and application of theory are explored. Experienced lecturers ensure the quality standards of these weekend workshops.

Careers in Psychotherapy

There is a vast set of career opportunities for people in this field. The sort of career path you end up in will be heavily influenced by the level of education you have achieved and the skills and expertise you can bring to the table. Popular career options with a psychotherapy degree could include:

  • Psychoanalyst in private practice
  • Psychology professor
  • Consultant
  • Senior mental health research associate

There are many other potential career paths that you could go for. This is not an exhaustive list.

Requirements to Become a Psychotherapist:

A few things you need to keep in mind before you embark on the journey to become a psychotherapist:

  • Education requirements may differ by state
  • The minimum required education is typically a doctorate degree
  • License is required to practice as a psychotherapist. All candidates must pass the Examination for Professional Practice in Psychology
  • Some states might require students to fulfill residency requirements with a licensed psychotherapist
  • Depending on the state, psychotherapists might be required to complete continuing education courses in order to keep their license current

As a psychotherapist, your typical work activities would include:

  • Conducting individual sessions with clients
  • Encouraging the clients to talk about their emotions and behaviors
  • Administering group sessions with people undergoing therapy
  • Keeping updated with the latest developments in the field of psychotherapy
  • Networking within the health professional community to maintain continuity of work and a strong client base
  • Evaluating therapy outcomes and considering potential options for improvement
cheerful psychologist with patients

Skills Required by a Psychotherapist

Psychotherapists have a major contribution to make in the alleviation of distress and depression, along with the development of the individuals. They deal with people from various walks of life, coping with a variety of personal problems including trauma, depression, personal and career choices, and relationships. Good counseling skills also come in very handy  and can play an important role in job satisfaction.

This line of work involves a large amount of communication between patients and co-workers. Therefore, it is very important for these professionals to possess strong speaking and listening skills. In addition to that, patience and trustworthiness are also essential aspects of the patient-counselor relationship. Psychotherapists should ideally also be able to develop keen analytical, observational and problem-solving skills.

So if you have all these skills, along with the drive to help people, start considering the psychotherapy degree options available to you.

 5 Famous Celebrities Who Went to Psychotherapists:

  • Gwyneth Paltrow: In 2011, Paltrow talked about how she sought help for postpartum depression after the birth of her son in 2008.
  • Catherine Zeta-Jones: She received treatment for Bipolar II Disorder in 2011.
  • J.K. Rowling: The world famous author has spoken out about how clinical depression consumed her.
  • Jennifer Garner: Garner sought help after her first marriage ended.
  • Brooke Shields: Shields has been very open about seeking treatment for postpartum depression.


Frequently Asked Question(s)

Q:Can you tell me how to become a psychotherapist?

A:In order to become a psychotherapist, you need to have the right education credentials. The particular degrees and qualifications that you will need will depend upon your specific career goals. A bachelor's degree in psychotherapy may offer you the chance to pursue a number of entry level positions in the field. For more advanced positions, you may require a masters or doctorate degree. For more information, please refer to our page.

Q:What are psychotherapists?

A:A psychotherapist is a type of psychologist that is concerned with using different forms of therapy to treat emotional and mental health problems. A psychotherapist will work one-on-one with a patient in order to help them initiate a positive change/difference in their thought patterns, feelings, and behavior's. For more information about psychotherapists, please refer to our page.

Q:What is a typical psychotherapist job description?

A:A psychotherapist is a professional that works with individuals, couples, and sometimes groups and families, in order to help them overcome a wide range of emotional and psychological issues. Their treatment methods are individualized and often involve non-medical based treatments. They have sessions with their clients in which issues are addressed and treatment plans are formed. For more information, please refer to our page.

Q:What is a licensed psychotherapist?

A:A licensed psychotherapist is a professional who holds either a masters or doctorate degree in their chosen mental health field. Afterwards, they complete a supervised clinical residency which qualifies them to become licensed, certified, or registered by the government or a psychological agency. The fact that they have become licensed by these bodies makes them accountable to these bodies.

Q:What is depth psychotherapy?

A:Depth psychotherapy refers to the depth of the approach employed by a psychotherapist. This particular type of psychotherapy integrates existentialism and Jungian schools of thought, and aims to decipher the deeper reasons for mental and emotional suffering. Aspiring psychotherapists can take degrees or courses in depth psychotherapy. For more information, please check out our page.

Q:What are some of the skills required in psychotherapist qualifications?

A:Psychotherapists are professionals who work to alleviate the mental and emotional suffering of their patients. As such, some of the skills that are essential for a psychotherapist to possess include patience, good communications skills, good listening skills, the ability to multi-task, trustworthiness, good observation skills, and the ability to be analytical.

Q:How do you become a psychotherapist who specializes in a specific form of psychotherapy?

A:In order to become a psychotherapist who specializes in a specific type of psychotherapy, you would need to take additional course and pursue additional certifications in that specific type of psychotherapy. There may also be opportunities for you to become a licensed provider of that specific from of psychotherapy in your state. For more information, please refer to our page.

Q:What are the different types of psychotherapists?

A:There aren't different types of psychotherapists; there are different approaches to psychotherapy. The different theories of psychotherapy draw on different theories for why individuals suffer and what their conceptions on life are. Some of these therapies include behavior therapy, cognitive therapy, psychoanalysis, and humanistic theory. For more information about psychotherapy, please refer to our page.

Q:What are the different types of degrees in a typical psychotherapist education?

A:In order to become a psychotherapist, you need to have the right education qualifications, and in some cases, be licensed. Most states do require individuals to hold at least a doctorate degree in psychotherapy. There are also bachelor's degrees, master's degrees, and a number of different psychotherapy certifications available in the field.

Q:Is a psychotherapist a doctor?

A:A psychotherapist is a professional who is a specialist in providing different forms of psychotherapy. There are some psychotherapists who are also medical doctors, while some are not. In addition, some psychotherapists aren't as well-rounded and they specialize in only a particular psychotherapic method. For more information about psychotherapy, please refer to our page.

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