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  • The NHS Health Careers website explains that psychiatry is the study of mental health problems and their diagnosis, management and prevention. Psychiatrists are medical doctors who have qualified in psychiatry. It says that psychotherapists “help people to overcome stress, emotional and relationship problems or troublesome habits”. These may be psychiatrists or other health professionals who have had additional training. The NHS notes that “increasingly, there are a number of psychotherapists who do not have backgrounds in the above fields, but who have undertaken in-depth training in this area”.
  • In the UK, the General Medical Council (GMC) regulates doctors and holds the medical register. The medical register is an online database that lists all doctors qualified to practice medicine in the country. Prior to joining the medical register, the GMC checks a doctor’s identity, qualifications, and experience to ensure that the doctor can safely practice medicine in the UK. Doctors who hold a license to practise medicine in the UK are required to renew their licenses through a process known as ‘revalidation’. This takes place every five years and allows the GMC to identify that doctors were fit to practise.
  • In relation to psychotherapy, the UK Council for Psychotherapy (UKCP) holds a national register of psychotherapists and counsellors (other bodies also hold registers, such as the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy). In order to register with the UKCP, individuals must meet the UKCP’s standards and training requirements. The UKCP states that training for psychotherapists is a four-year, postgraduate masters, or masters-equivalent level specialist training. Whilst training for counsellors is degree level or equivalent. However, the UKCP notes that therapists do not have to register with either the UKCP or any other organisation. The UKCP says this means that anyone can call themselves a psychotherapist. Requirements for other registers may vary.
  • In November 2018, the UKCP, British Psychoanalytic Council and the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy began a collaborative project to develop a draft competency framework—known as a Scope of Practice and Education (SCoPEd)—detailing the minimum training requirements, competences and practice standards for psychotherapists and counsellors working with adults.

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