Psychotherapists are specialists who deal with a varied clientele, which can include business professionals and retired people. They can work with individual clients or can conduct sessions in which they counsel whole families. Through their broad knowledge of the psychological discipline they are able to diagnose any emotional distress a patient may be having. This may involve feelings of unhappiness, anxiousness, a phobia or a general feeling that their life is getting out of control.

A psychotherapist will need to choose an appropriate method of treatment for the patient. This may involve counselling, cognitive behavioural therapy or systemic therapy. As well as offering one-on-one counselling a psychotherapist will often give patients self-help exercises that they can do in their own time to help combat their mental problems. A psychotherapist may work in a hospital, clinic or even work in a private clinic.

Work activities

Typical work activities a psychotherapist would need to partake in each day include:

  • Conduct sessions with individual clients and also oversee group sessions.
  • Create a calm environment in which patients feel that they can disclose their inner worries and anxieties.
  • Use your extensive educational knowledge of psychological issues to diagnose patients.
  • Allot the most suitable treatment to help patients. This may be through group therapy or self-help techniques.
  • Keep abreast of any new concepts and ideas entering the psychological discipline.
  • Maintain communication with other psychological and medical professionals concerning patients.
  • Uphold a certain level of confidentiality between you and the patient.
  • Provide supervision and advice to other psychotherapists, as well as being open to their input.
  • Maintain records concerning the patient to see how their treatment is developing.
  • Explore and discuss sometimes disturbing topics.
  • Maintain a professional manner throughout the treatment of patients.
  • Possibly conduct your own research into the discipline.

Essential skills

  • Excellent communication skills.
  • Able to discuss topics that may put you and the patient on edge.
  • Able to report to supervisors concerning patients.
  • Able to uphold a certain level of confidentiality between you and the patient.
  • Continue to study in order to keep up-to-date with any new ideas and concepts entering the discipline.
  • Good professional manner.
  • Aptitude for the psychological discipline.
  • Able to create a calm environment in which clients can be at ease.
  • Able to work with individuals and groups of people when conducting sessions.