A counselling psychologist talks and listens to people to help them to deal with a range of mental health problems relating to life issues including bereavement, domestic abuse and relationship problems.
You could be:
working with children, older people, families, victims of sexual or physical abuse, or people suffering from phobias, addictions, depression, eating disorders or stress
interviewing people on a one to one basis, in couples or as a family
running group sessions for people who have the same problem
carrying out tests to assess people
applying psychological theories to solving clients’ problems
applying psychotherapy and relaxation techniques and evaluating the outcomes
helping clients cope with events such as bereavement
training others in counselling skills
carrying out research, writing reports and keeping records.
The figures below are only a guide. Actual pay rates may vary, depending on:
where you work
your field of specialism
whether you are in public or private practice or are self-employed.
The salaries for NHS Psychologists in Scotland are usually based on the NHS Agenda for Change pay rates. The current pay scales are from April 2023.
Qualified psychologists start on Band 7, £46,244 to £53,789 a year. With experience this rises to Band 8a, £56,992 to £61,522 a year, and Band 8b, £67,285 to £71,978 a year.
Consultant/lead psychologists are on Band 8c, £79,466 to £85,121 a year.
You might work in an office, health centre, school, university or college, hospital or prison or even in a client's home.
You usually work office hours from Monday to Friday.
There is opportunity for part time work.
You might have to see patients in the evening or at weekends.
Clients might be nervous, angry or sad, so your work can be emotionally demanding.
You would work towards registration as a Chartered Counselling Psychologist with the British Psychological Society (BPS).
To get Graduate Basis for Chartered Membership (GBC), you need either a BPS recognised degree (first or second class Honours) in psychology, or a degree in another subject plus a BPS recognised conversion course.
To do an Honours degree in psychology you usually need 4-5 Highers.
Paid or unpaid work experience is advantageous.
After your degree you would find relevant paid or voluntary work experience (at least 12 months) ideally as a psychology assistant or research assistant, before choosing your specialism.
In order to qualify as a registered Chartered Counselling Psychologist, you need an accredited Doctorate in Counselling Psychology or the BPS's Qualification in Counselling Psychology (QCoP).
Glasgow Caledonian University offers the only accredited doctorate course in counselling psychology in Scotland.
You will require a satisfactory criminal record check from Disclosure Scotland to show that you are suitable for this type of work. Contact Disclosure Scotland for details on the type you would need.
There are jobs with local authorities and the civil service, the National Health Service (NHS), and in private hospitals. About half of counselling psychologists do clinical work in health and social care settings. There are jobs in the human resource management departments of private companies.