What personal qualities do I need to become a Psychotherapist?

2018-12-05T12:56:11+00:00December 5th, 2018|Articles, Miscellaneous|

Being a psychotherapist is not just about academic or analytic achievement. In your application process we are also keen to assess the personal qualities that are needed to be a safe, effective and sufficiently robust professional. Those qualities include:

A lively and enquiring mind

An ability to experiment and value learning from mistakes as much as successes

Enjoyment of others’ process and uniqueness

Curiosity in situations of “not-knowing”

Desire to develop compassion for yourself and others

Training to be a psychotherapist, and practicing as one, are emotionally and psychologically demanding because the skills and qualities needed to form and maintain therapeutic relationships require a good relationship with our own feelings, thoughts and vulnerabilities. When we engage in experiential learning we need to be able to reflect on our experiences and be open to feedback from our own emotions and from peers and tutors.

The ability to safely hold clients who may at times be distressed, confused and processing uncomfortable feelings, depends on us reaching our own capacity for owning, reflecting and processing our own inevitable emotional challenges. This is part of what makes psychotherapy such a rewarding profession, as long as we continually develop our psychological robustness and awareness.

It is not unusual for people to have come to the profession of psychotherapy through having benefitted from it themselves in managing life’s difficulties and sometimes from having received a mental health diagnosis. This is not in itself a barrier to training, it can enhance your learning and practice, however during your application process we need to consider together whether training could exacerbate existing mental health issues and how this is best managed. If we feel that it is not the right time in an applicant’s recovery to be able to benefit from the investment of time and money in training, we reserve the right to not admit that applicant to training.