How to become a therapist

After the events of the last few years, many of us have made – or are thinking about making – some significant changes. While some have moved house or added to their families, others have quit their jobs and embarked on new careers. 

One profession that might be of interest to those who are considering a career change is therapy. Demand is high for excellent counsellors and mental health specialists, especially now that many of us are dealing with the fallout of the past 24 months or so. 

If you think you have the empathy and supportive skills to become a therapist, read on. We look at how to enter the profession and become someone who can help those who are struggling with their mental wellbeing. 

Getting qualified

As this is a job that typically deals with people’s mental health, you must be qualified to offer therapy. As part of your role, you’ll be delicately handling sensitive issues. To provide a suitable support system for your clients, your training – whether that’s via a degree or dedicated therapist course – will be put into practise daily. 

You’ll start with basic counselling skills. This will provide you with an overview of what being a therapist involves and allows you to decide if you want to commit to your new career path. Once you’ve completed your qualifications, you’ll be able to register as a practising therapist. 

The paperwork 

Now that you’re registered, you’ll likely want to set up your own clinic. This involves some essential paperwork, such as registering yourself as a new business with HMRC and checking that you have the correct licences in place. For instance, there’s the BACP Register, which is a well-recognised and established record of counsellors and therapists who meet the set requirements. 

It’s also worth planning for all eventualities. If something should go wrong, therapists’ insurance can help protect you

Choosing a speciality

We have a deeper understanding of mental health than we ever did before. To address the issues faced by many people, there are different types of therapies designed to address the array of concerns we face. For instance, there’s cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), guided self-help, and counselling for depression. 

Now that you’ve qualified and set up, it’s possible to specialise in one area that you feel most drawn to. You might want to become an expert in relationship counselling or offer CBT for those with anxiety. 

Take the time to establish where your passion lies. Once you’ve found it, you’ll be able to offer a first-class service.  

Building a client base

As with any business, you’ll need to establish and grow your client base. Try offering introductory discounts and promoting your services through your website and social media channels. 

As you grow, you’ll become known for your niche. Satisfied clients will share your services with friends, building your client base through word of mouth. 

Becoming a therapist is a hugely beneficial career move. It will take time to set up on your own, but it will be rewarding when you do. 


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