In Summary - Psychotherapist
Trained to relate to and treat people who are distressed and works to alleviate personal suffering and encourage change.
Psychotherapists typically work in the following Career Sectors:
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The Work - Psychotherapist
Psychotherapists usually work with clients on a one-to-one basis, meeting them in private and treating their problems in confidence. Some psychotherapists work with families, couples, children or groups of clients. They offer the opportunity to address thought processes, feelings and behaviour in order to understand inner conflicts.
There are various schools of thought in psychotherapy. Each of the five major approaches is represented by their own organisation in Ireland. See contact details below.
Therapists who use psychodynamic therapy (which includes psychoanalysis and Jungian analysis) encourage clients to explore their feelings and open up their emotions. Many psychotherapists believe that our experiences as children strongly affect our adult behaviour, even if we are unaware of this influence. They help clients to make links between past and present events.
A central part of psychodynamic therapy is the idea that the type of relationship that develops between psychotherapist and client can itself reveal a lot about the client's difficulties.
In cognitive/behavioural therapy, therapists help clients to challenge their assumptions about past experiences and present relationships. Psychotherapists help their clients to think about and put into practice strategies for change.
Face-to-face interviews and verbal communication are an important part of psychotherapy. However, the therapist can also learn from non-verbal communication. For example, some psychotherapists specialise in child and adolescent psychotherapy. They may observe how children play or behave towards other children, to find out more about their feelings and relationships. Psychotherapists may also analyse drawings to see what they reveal about young people's thoughts and feelings. Psychotherapists usually see the family together initially.
Interests - Psychotherapist
This occupation is typically suited for people with the following Career Interests:
The Social person's interests focus on interacting with the people in their environment. In all cases, the Social person enjoys the personal contact with other people in preference to the impersonal dealings with things, data and ideas found in other groups.
Many will seek out positions where there is direct contact with the public in some advisory role, whether a receptionist or a counsellor. Social people are motivated by an interest in different types of people and like diversity in their work environments. Many are drawn towards careers in the caring professions and social welfare area, whilst others prefer teaching and other 'informing' roles.
The Investigative person will usually find a particular area of science to be of interest. They are inclined toward intellectual and analytical activities and enjoy observation and theory. They may prefer thought to action, and enjoy the challenge of solving problems with sophiscticated technology. These types prefer mentally stimulating environments and often pay close attention to developments in their chosen field.
Creative people are drawn to careers and activities that enable them to take responsibility for the design, layout or sensory impact of something (visual, auditory etc). They may be atrracted to the traditional artistic pursuits such as painting, sculpture, singing, or music. Or they may show more interest in design activities, such as architecture, animation, or craft areas, such as pottery and ceramics.
Creative people use their personal understanding of people and the world they live in to guide their work. Creative people like to work in unstructured workplaces, enjoy taking risks and prefer a minimum of routine.
As a psychotherapist, you must enjoy working with people and helping them to solve their problems. You must respect the client's right to make their own decisions, and avoid making judgements, giving advice or imposing solutions.
The ability to use tact and treat your client's problems in strict confidence is essential to psychotherapy. Some clients experience positive changes after a short time, but others need therapy over a long period, so you will need patience, tolerance and determination. You will need excellent communication skills, to listen carefully and ask the right questions.
Clients may reveal intense emotions, and discuss painful aspects of their past or present experiences. You must be objective and professional at all times, and be resilient enough not to become burdened by the problems you encounter.
Entry Requirements - Psychotherapist
Pay & Salary - Psychotherapist
Salary Range (thousands per year)* 24k - 43k
Last Updated: March, 2017
* The lower figures typically reflect starting salaries. Higher salaries are awarded to those with greater experience and responsibility. Positions in Dublin sometimes command higher salaries.