Supporting trainees in medical psychotherapy

Contact us

Are you a medical student interested in the specialty of medical psychotherapy?

We've created a contact form specifically for medical students, where you can ask anything about the subspecialty.

All core trainees:

  • Are a member of psychotherapy focused case discussion group (Balint group)
  • See a patient under weekly supervision as a short psychotherapy case
  • See a patient under weekly supervision as a long psychotherapy case

We have produced this animation to help trainees gain a better understanding of this experience


CT1-3 Core curriculum guides

Once you have obtained your core psychiatry training and MRCPsych you will be eligible to apply for one of the higher psychiatry trainings, including in medical psychotherapy.

Higher specialist training ST4-6 psychotherapy to become a Consultant Psychiatrist in psychotherapy

Posts in Medical Psychotherapy are either single Certificate of Completion of Training (CCT) or dual CCT.

Single CCT training is full-time for three years . Dual CCT training is full-time for five years. As a dual CCT trainee you will spend part of your training time in general adult psychiatry and part in medical psychotherapy.

Higher trainees in medical psychotherapy major in one psychotherapy modality and minor in two others. Posts tend to be set up with the major modality in mind.

You can obtain a Certificate of Completion of Training (CCT) in Psychotherapy by specialising in:

  • Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT)
  • Psychodynamic Psychotherapy
  • Systemic therapy.

Training comprises three years at ST4-6 level in a GMC approved psychotherapy scheme, quality assured by local deaneries through the schools of psychiatry.

Trainees acquire an in-depth knowledge of theory and practice of their major approach, and also receive training in CBT, psychodynamic, or systemic approaches.

At the end of this training you will gain a CCT as a specialist in psychotherapy and will be eligible to apply to be on the Specialist Register of the GMC. This will allow you to train specialty registrars in psychotherapy and to take the role of leading multi-modal psychological therapy teams. It is also possible to spend a year in psychotherapy which will lead to an endorsement in psychotherapy

Psychotherapy training for ST4-6 in specialties other than psychotherapy

The curriculum indicates that trainees continue to develop their psychotherapeutic expertise as they become higher trainees according to their interest and specialty, for example:

  • A rehabilitation or general adult trainee might seek to gain experience of cognitive therapy of psychosis
  • A trainee interested in eating disorders may gain further experience of family therapy
  • Psychodynamic psychotherapy, or training on group therapy may interest a learning disability trainee.

The combinations are many and tailored programmes of experience can be devised in conjunction with tutors and training programme directors.

Also see our Best Practice Guide: Psychotherapy training in higher specialist psychiatry

Relevant CPD eLearning modules and podcasts

CPD for SAS doctors and consultant psychiatrists

Staff, SAS doctors and consultant psychiatrists can access psychotherapy training by attachments to departments of psychotherapy organised by the psychotherapy tutors of the organisation they work in, helping them to achieve and advance competencies in the main psychotherapy modalities, working with individuals, couples, families or groups.

Role of a psychotherapy tutor

Each core training programme should have a tutor who is a consultant psychiatrist in sychotherapy.

The tutor works together with the training programme director ( TPD) of core training and the director of medical training of the trust to make sure psychotherapy training requirements are met in the training scheme.

This includes making sure that:

  • case based discussion groups (CBDs) are available in years 1 and 2 
  • CBT, psychodynamic, systemic or integrative training and supervision are available to trainees
  • liaising with, and advising supervisors - who may be non-medical - of the training requirements
  • advising trainees when and what kind of psychotherapy cases are appropriate.

The psychotherapy tutor and other consultant psychiatrists in psychotherapy will also conduct and advise on the workplace based assessments such as the ACE on the psychotherapy long case.

The psychotherapy tutor will then contribute to the review of the trainee's progress by advising the TPD whether the psychotherapy requirements have been met.

The overall aim of the psychotherapy tutor is to help core psychiatric trainees develop habits of self reflection and emotional curiosity, to have an understanding of the therapeutic relationship, unconscious modes of communication and learn about different models of psychotherapy enough to be able to refer or work alongside as the patient undergoes therapy.

Training programme director (scheme organiser)

TPDs have responsibility for managing specialty training programmes including fixed term specialty training appointments.

Their responsibilities include:

  • making sure the programmes deliver the specialty curriculum and enable trainees to gain the relevant competences, knowledge, skills, attitudes and experience
  • taking into account the collective needs of the trainees in the programme when planning individual programmes
  • providing support for clinical and educational supervisors within the programme and  contribute to the annual assessment outcome process in the specialty
  • careers advice
  • helping the postgraduate dean manage trainees who are running into difficulties by supporting educational supervisors in their assessments and in identifying remedial placements.

TPDs work within the trust alongside:

  • the director of medical education, the schools of psychiatry within the deanery
  • delegated College/faculty representatives (e.g. College tutors, regional advisors)
  • national College/faculty training or specialty advisory committees (SACs).

Psychotherapy advisors at schools of psychiatry

Each school of psychiatry has access to a regional representative in psychotherapy who:

  • makes sure the deanery is aware of the requirements for psychotherapy training for core and higher psychiatry training and higher specialist training
  • offers advice on how to make sure information is available to trainees and that they attain appropriate competencies in psychotherapy pre- and post-MRCPsych exams.

Who we are

  • Judith Mirsky
  • Anna Croxford 
  • Marion Neffgen

Contact c/o

Our role is to:

  • chair the trainees’ business meeting three times a year
  • represent trainees on faculty committees
  • be a point of contact between the trainees and the rest of the faculty
  • be a point of contact for any interested trainees.

Keeping in touch

Trainees are encouraged to join our higher trainees online group where we share news and events information and trainees can contact each other.

To get become a member, search for 'faculty-of-psychotherapy-st4-6-trainees' on Google groups and apply. You can also email us.

If you're having trouble accessing the group, please email Benjamin Robinson.

Getting together

We aim to get together as a group of trainees three times a year:

  • Once at our faculty conference in April
  • At our trainee/trainer conferences in the Summer and in the Winter.

Training resources

See more in our training section, where you'll find information on exams, CPD and more.

Financial support

See more about accessing financial support for Medical Psychotherapy trainees' personal therapy.

Who are medical psychotherapists?

Choosing a career in psychiatry? Watch this video about what it takes to be a medical psychotherapist.

Medical psychotherapy training pathways

See psychiatrists and trainees talking about the training pathways available in medical psychotherapy.

Being in your own therapy

See trainees talk about why being in therapy is a compulsory part of medical psychotherapy training.

Read more to receive further information regarding a career in psychiatry