Training and development (medical psychotherapy)

This page provides useful information on the training and development for this specialty and also has tips for people at all stages of their training including medical school.

Download the medical psychotherapy training pathway here

Training comprises two main stages:

The length of training can vary, for example it is possible to train flexibly if you fulfil the criteria for Less than Full Time Training (LTFT).

Dual training is occasionally available, for example in both general adult psychiatry and medical psychotherapy or in forensic and medical psychotherapy.

Core psychiatry training provides experience in the different areas of psychiatric practice through four to six month training posts.

Specialty training comprises three blocks of 12 months each, in areas that are relevant to medical psychotherapy. During higher training you will usually also need to undertake individual personal psychotherapy to help develop your own self-awareness and understanding.

You need at least 36 months’ whole time experience in psychiatry (not including foundation modules) or 36 months’ whole time training in psychiatry posts in an EU country before being accepted for ST4 training. Additional qualifications such as an intercalated degree are desirable.

An interest and realistic insight into psychiatry and mental health is essential and you will also need to demonstrate basic psychotherapeutic skills. Experience of extra-curricular activities, achievements and interests relevant to the specialty are also desirable.

Selection panels also look for evidence of academic and research achievements, which as well as additional academic qualifications include prizes, awards, distinctions, publications and presentations. An understanding of research, audit and teaching is also important as is evidence of the ability to work in a multidisciplinary team. Good leadership and organisational skills are also important.

Detailed entry requirements and all essential and desirable criteria are listed in the NHS Person Specification 2017 for medical psychotherapy ST4.

Detailed entry requirements and all essential and desirable criteria are listed in the NHS Person Specification 2016 for Core Training in Psychiatry CT1.

All 2017 person specifications can be found on the NHS specialty training website. Please note that these documents are updated every year in the autumn before the recruitment round opens.

The GMC provides information on the curriculum for medical psychotherapy training.

This information is correct at the time of writing. Full and accurate details of training pathways are available from medical royal colleges, local education and training boards (LETBs) or the GMC.

Getting in tips

It is important to develop your practical skills and interest in medical psychotherapy as early as you can. This will also give you valuable experience to add to your CV.

Here are some suggestions for people at different stages of their career:

 

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