Psychotherapy is a way of helping people to overcome stress, emotional problems, relationship problems or troublesome habits. Psychotherapy is provided in a range of settings, including on an individual, group, marital or family basis.
A psychotherapist may be a psychiatrist, social worker, psychologist, mental health nurse or other mental health professional who has had further specialist training in psychotherapy. Increasingly, there are a number of psychotherapists who do not have backgrounds in these fields but who have undertaken in-depth training in this area.
The NHS employs psychotherapists in adult and child areas.
There are many opportunities in the NHS for psychotherapists to work with adult patients. Such roles can be found in a range of areas, working with patients with learning disabilities and mental health problems. Multi-disciplinary teams working in these areas will include mental health nurses, psychiatrists, clinical psychologists and a range of therapists (including psychotherapists).
Child psychotherapists generally work in specialist child and adolescent mental health services (CAMHS) as part of a multidisciplinary team which will usually include mental health nurses, occupational therapists, child and adolescent psychiatrists, clinical psychologists and a range of therapists including those who are trained in systemic or cognitive therapy as well as psychoanalytic approaches. CAMHS teams work in collaboration with staff from many other children's services, including education and social services.
Mental health problems in children can create distress not only for the child or young person, but also their families and carers and may continue into adult life.
Mental health problems in children can be associated with educational failure, family disruption, disability, offending and antisocial behaviour placing demands on social services, schools and the youth justice system. It is estimated that ten per cent of five to fifteen year olds have a diagnosable mental health disorder. This suggests that around 1.1 million children and young people, under eighteen, could benefit from specialist services, including up to 45,000 young people with a severe mental health disorder.
CAMHS cover all types of provisions and interventions, from mental health promotion and prevention, specialist services that are based in the community, through to very specialist care as provided by in-patient units for young people with mental illness.
Details of vacancies for adult psychotherapists and child psychotherapists can be found in a range of places, including the NHS Jobs website.
Visit our page on entry requirements and training for psychotherapists, for information about these topics.
For further information about psychotherapy, visit our psychological therapies links page for full contact details of the relevant professional organisations.