Can I Become A Therapist Without A Psychology Degree – Choosing a career path in mental health can be confusing. Photo: Michael Urban/AFP/Getty Images
Understanding the difference between a counselor, psychotherapist, or psychologist can be confusing. Here is our guide to training as a therapist
Can I Become A Therapist Without A Psychology Degree
The career path in counseling or therapy is confusing. When I started my journey eight years ago, I was struck by the rhetoric and the lack of clear and direct advice: Do I need a PhD, Masters or Diploma? Need to base or summarize? Do you work with adults or children, individuals or groups, families or couples? Do you pursue humanities, psychology or intellectual training?
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I could not understand the difference between a counselor, a psychotherapist and a psychologist, nor the difference between psychology and psychotherapy.
The process is very complicated and can quickly become overwhelming. But after years of investing in study, teaching, therapy, work experience, and personal research, I have a better understanding of different career paths. If you’re considering a career in counseling or therapy, here’s a guide to get you started.
There are five main paths to this career. In order of the least amount of time required to qualify, they are: counseling, psychotherapy, cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), clinical or counseling psychology, and psychology.
Psychology primarily requires training as a doctor, which you can learn more about. Clinical psychology and counseling are legally protected terms and may not be used by anyone without formal training. It is unethical to call yourself a counsellor, psychotherapist or CBT therapist without proper training – employers will not consider you unless you are a registered member of a recognized regulatory body.
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Each pathway has its own leadership: counseling – British Association for Counseling and Psychotherapy; Psychiatry – Psychiatric Council of Great Britain; CBT British Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Psychotherapy (BABCP); and clinical or counseling psychology is the British Psychological Society. Each of these bodies accredits courses, so save time by choosing an accredited one. Although there are other accrediting bodies, not all of them can accredit recruiters.
Vocational counselor training takes three to five years and can be at the diploma or certificate level. Eligibility requires minimum client hours worked through placement.
Training begins with an introductory consultation. It lasts up to three months, but if you have previous experience, you can waive it. You will then apply for a Certificate in Counseling Skills (one year) followed by a Diploma in Counseling (two to three years). Alternatively, you can study for a university counseling degree. Each course is based on academic theory that informs the counseling process in practice. There are many theories of counseling, and all courses already list their theoretical approaches – through training, you become a counselor in your chosen approach, which affects your counseling style and the way you work with clients. .
These can be broadly divided into five categories: psychoanalytic/psychodynamic, which holds the view that a person’s problems are rooted in the past; humanism, which takes the view that a person’s actions arise from his environment; more spiritually oriented transpersonal; cognitive, behavioral, and cognitive-behavioral, which are action-oriented, goal-oriented, and related to the relationship between thoughts, feelings, and behavior; and hybrid, which is a combination of all based on what works best for the client.
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Psychotherapy is a graduate degree, but your undergraduate degree is not necessarily relevant. Education is academically based and may last five years or more, leading to at least a master’s degree.
As with counseling, there are different practices that reflect different perspectives. The main difference between counseling and psychotherapy is in terms of academic training. In theory, counselors work short-term with life issues such as grief and relationships, while psychologists work with long-term complex or long-term mental health issues. In fact, there is so much overlap that in practice you will see counselors and psychotherapists doing both.
CBT training is also at postgraduate level, but requires previous qualifications in mental health in addition to experience.
There are two ways to do this: through the Postgraduate Diploma in CBT (listed on the BABCP website) or Improving Access to Psychotherapy (IAPT), an initiative to improve access to mental health services in the NHS. This method is an efficient method of training because it is funded by the government and the trainers are paid. If you have no previous mental health qualifications, work in an area where counseling skills are used or, for example, have volunteered online, your professional experience can be important.
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You can also train to become a low-level psychotherapist working with mild anxiety and depression or an intensive CBT therapist working with people with complex symptoms.
A clinical or counseling psychologist obtains a PhD and is registered with the Health and Care Professionals Council. You must first have a psychology degree, but you can take a substitute course to get one. Work includes research, team coordination, development of treatment plans, and direct work with clients and patients. Psychiatrists typically work with psychiatrists who are licensed to diagnose or prescribe medication when evaluating clients.
Whichever path you choose, the financial and emotional investment is huge. In some courses, you can participate in therapy during training. You also have to pay extra for check issuance, indemnity insurance and protection. The courses are also very intense and stimulating, which you should know before you decide to take part. It’s not an easy road, but it’s satisfying work and the rewards are worth it. Discover the fastest ways to become a licensed counselor or therapist. Explore certification consulting options, licensing information, and career opportunities.
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Becoming a therapist requires certain courses of study and licensure. Our guide will quickly provide information on becoming a counselor or therapist. Candidates can begin the process by earning a bachelor’s degree in counseling or psychology.
To work as a counselor or therapist, professionals must obtain a license in their field. Licensing requirements vary by state, so this guide outlines some general procedures and requirements for candidates to qualify.
Read on to learn about the discipline’s undergraduate and graduate programs, including program length, course topics, and credit requirements.
Psychologist, counselor and therapist are three terms that are often used interchangeably. For the average customer, each of these professionals provides the same service. However, career terms and opportunities may vary.
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Psychologists, also known as psychotherapists, usually have a doctorate degree. These professionals serve people with serious mental or emotional difficulties and often work alongside psychiatrists. In some states, psychiatrists can prescribe medications after completing additional training.
Counselors, sometimes called marriage and family therapists, usually have a master’s degree and help clients with relationship, behavioral, and emotional issues.
A counseling degree usually takes 2-3 years, while a doctorate in psychology usually takes 5-6 years. Becoming a counselor can fast track a career in mental health.
Counselors typically have a master’s degree in counseling, marriage and family therapy, pastoral counseling, or a related field.
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Psychiatrists see clients like counselors, but often deal with more serious and in-depth mental health issues.
The path to becoming a licensed therapist or counselor begins with a degree in counseling, psychology, or human services. Counseling usually requires a master’s degree and psychotherapy usually requires a doctoral degree.
Some students may want to accelerate their career path. Prospective counselors who already have a bachelor’s degree can earn a master’s degree and become licensed as a counselor. But prospective students without a degree may want to pursue a bachelor’s degree in a related field.
The path to becoming a licensed therapist or counselor begins with a degree in counseling, psychology, or human services.
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Interested students should carefully consider their career aspirations. Some accelerated counseling degrees lead to licensure, but many do not.
Undergraduate programs have different course offerings, admission requirements, and structures, but students can expect some similarities. Diploma seekers typically complete their bachelor’s degree requirements in four years of full-time study.
Bachelor’s programs typically consist of 120 credits. Course work includes psychological methods in psychology, personality and social processes, scientific thinking in psychology. Many institutions offer flexible online formats that allow students to continue working while earning a degree.
A professional with a bachelor’s degree can perform entry-level counseling and therapy roles. Completion of an undergraduate program also prepares applicants for graduate study.
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Candidates who want to further their education and expand their career opportunities can study for M.Sc.
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