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Everything you need to know about UK therapists: types of therapists, qualifications, and more

Written by Alina Ivan

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    Mar 17, 2022, 4 min read

    According to the Office for National Statistics, the number of adults in Britain with depression doubled during the pandemic. This is just one example of how the pandemic has taken its toll on people's mental health. UK therapists are seeing an increase in patients with anxiety, depression, and other mental health issues.

    There are many different types of therapists practising in the UK today, and as a potential patient, it can be challenging to know which therapist is right for you and your needs. This post will provide an overview of the different types of therapists available in the UK and their qualifications, where you can find them, and how Augmentive matches users with a therapist.

    Different types of therapists

    Clinical psychologists

    Clinical psychologists have a Doctorate in Clinical Psychology (DClin), a three-year professional doctorate that includes teaching, supervision, and a training post. To be eligible for this qualification, they first complete an undergraduate degree in psychology, usually lasting three years. As the DClin is very competitive, candidates also take on several positions as Assistant Psychologists to increase their chances to be accepted on the course. After completing the DClin, clinical psychologists are required to complete a year-long placement.

    Clinical psychologists work with patients with various mental health conditions, learning disabilities, physical health conditions, and neurological disorders. They tend to use therapeutic theory, science, and clinical knowledge to help them understand their patients’ problems.

    Counselling psychologists

    Counselling psychologists are registered with the British Psychology Society (BPS) and the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC). Like clinical psychologists, they also have a Doctorate, in this case a Doctorate in Counselling Psychology (DPsych), a three-year professional doctorate. After completing the Doctorate, counselling psychologists are required to complete a year-long internship.

    Counselling psychologists use psychological and psychotherapeutic theory and research to help patients experiencing psychological distress. They work with patients to help them understand their problems and find ways to cope with them.

    Therapists and counsellors

    Therapists usually have a degree in counselling or psychotherapy, which is a three-year undergraduate degree or Master’s degree. Many different institutions offer these degrees, some of the best training institutions for therapists include Cambridge, Mentanoia, Roehampton and Oxford.

    After completing an undergraduate degree in counselling or psychotherapy, therapists are also required to complete a year-long placement, just like clinical and counselling psychologists.


    Psychiatrists are medical doctors registered with the General Medical Council (GMC) who have specialised in the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of mental illnesses. To become a psychiatrist, one must first complete an undergraduate degree in medicine, usually lasting five years. After successfully completing a medical degree, they then complete a two-year foundation programme. Successful graduates then complete a core training which lasts three years (referred to as CT1, CT2 and CT3). At this point, psychiatrists can pursue higher psychiatry training (referred to as ST4, ST5 and ST5) and can specialise in sub-specialties such as addictions or eating disorders, to name a couple.

    Psychiatrists work with patients who have mental health disorders and physical health conditions. They use medications and psychological therapies to treat their patients.

    What do all these letters mean? Qualifications explained

    BACP: British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy

    This is the highest level of accreditation that a therapist can achieve. A therapist with MBACP after their name means that they have been assessed and found to meet the rigorous standards set by the BACP. While being the largest governing body for counsellors and psychotherapists in the UK, their mission is to establish and monitor standards to ensure access to ethical and effective psychological therapy.

    HCPC: Health and Care Professions Council

    This body regulates the UK's health and social care professions, including orthotists, prosthetists, and hearing aid audiologists. The HCPC ensures that these professionals are appropriately qualified and registered to practise.

    BPS: British Psychological Society

    As we mentioned above, the BPS is the professional body for psychologists in the UK and regulates the standards of training, education, and practice for psychologists.

    BABCP: British Association for Behavioural and Cognitive Psychotherapies

    The BABCP is the professional body for cognitive and behavioural psychotherapists in the UK. The BABCP establishes the standards specifically for CBT therapists.

    UKCP: UK Council for Psychotherapy

    The UKCP is the professional body for psychotherapists in the UK. Just like the other professional bodies, the UKCP sets the guidelines for psychotherapist training, education, and practice.

    How Augmentive matches you with a therapist

    At Augmentive, we want to make finding a therapist easy to do and easy to understand. Our platform can connect you with therapists for online and in-person sessions. We have over 400 qualified and registered therapists in our community from all over the UK.

    As we’ve seen, there’s a lot to wrap your head around when looking for mental health support. We take out the guesswork and offer a free Ask a Therapist Concierge run by our co-founder Sarah Norman, who can help you find the right therapist.

    If you wish to explore options yourself, you can connect with a therapist in five easy steps:

    1. Browse specialists for one-to-one sessions, classes or a workshops
    2. Create an account
    3. Book your session at a time and date that works for you (a lot of therapists offer free initial consultations!
    4. Only pay once your booking is confirmed
    5. Join your video session online directly on the Augmentive platform. Alternatively, if your session is in person, we will let you know the time and location to meet your therapist.

    Whether you’re feeling off-kilter or want to shake up your routine, our state-of-the-art mental wellbeing platform gives you quick and seamless access to world-class support on your terms, from private psychiatric assessments to helping you find a therapist near you for support on your journey..

    Not sure where to start?

    We offer a free 15 minute consultation so that we can guide you to the most relevant professionals