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 and domestic abuse.
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 2019.
- trainee psychologist - Band 6, £30,401 to £38,046 a year
- psychologist – Band 7, £37,570 to £44,688 a year
- principal psychologist – Band 8a, £45,446 to £51,883 a year and Band 8b, £53,291 to £62,259 a year
- consultant/lead psychologist – Band 8c, £63,570 to £74,710 a year and Band 8d £76,083 to £88,132 a year
- head of psychology services – Band 9, £92,208 to £105,650 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.
Workforce Employment Status
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- 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 speciality.
- 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. This can be done in three years full time, or up to 7 years part time.
- 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.
- All practising psychologists must be registered with the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) to work in the NHS.
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.
Workforce Education Levels (UK)
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Job Outlook Scotland
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What Does it Take?
- listening skills and patience
- sound judgement
- good observation
- clear, logical thinking
- respect for confidentiality
- self-awareness and insight
- organisation skills
- good research skills.
You should be:
- sympathetic and tolerant
- able to communicate with different people and build relationships with clients
- able to help clients open up and discuss distressing experiences.
- Once you have achieved Chartered Membership of the BPS you will continue to learn and train during your career through a programme of Continuous Professional Development (CPD).
- You will need to keep up to date with research on a wide range of conditions and developments in the treatment of these conditions.
You could set up as a self-employed consultant, working from home or from a rented office.
The following organisations may be able to provide further information.
Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC)
Tel: 0300 500 4472
The Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) is the UK-wide regulatory body responsible for setting and maintaining standards of professional training, performance and conduct in the following health care professions: Arts Therapists; Audiologist; Biomedical Scientist; Chiropodist and Podiatrist; Clinical Scientist; Dietician; Dramatherapist; Occupational Therapist; Operating Department Practitioner; Orthoptist; Paramedic; Physiotherapist; Practitioner Psychologist; Prosthetist and Orthotist; Radiographer; Speech and Language Therapist. (The HCPC may regulate other healthcare professions in the future.) The HCPC website contains a register of all approved courses in the above professions.
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