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Working as a Child and Adolescent Psychotherapist

Child and Adolescent Psychotherapists are one of the 12 Psychological Professions in the NHS.

What each of the 12 professions does and how you train to work in each is explained in the Psychological Professions Career Map. There is also a video here which describes the 12 professions. Below is the description of the role of Child and Adolescent Psychotherapists from the Careers Map.

An overview

A child and adolescent psychotherapist (CAPT) is trained to help children and young people aged 0 to 25 with severe mental health problems. As a CAPT you will work at a senior level in NHS teams in the community and hospitals, and with all types of psychological difficulties. You will use your specialist skills and a focus on underlying difficulties to assess and treat children and families with problems that may be complex to understand. You will also lead and supervise colleagues.

Child and Adolescent Psychotherapist

As a child and adolescent psychotherapist (CAPT) you will use specialist skills and knowledge to work with infants and children, young people up to age 25, and their families. Working as part of a multi-disciplinary team in a wide range of NHS mental health services, your training will enable you to contribute a psychoanalytic approach to team thinking, to assess and treat problems that can be severe or long-standing, and also to lead and supervise colleagues. As a CAPT you will seek to get to the core of difficulties which lie underneath worrying, confusing or even dangerous behaviours. You will adapt your approach to the individual child, and work in an age-appropriate way, assessing and supporting the child, their family or carers, through a combination of talking, playing and drawing.

Entry Requirements to Train for this Role


Child and adolescent psychotherapist is a graduate entry profession. You must have completed a recognised pre-clinical course which includes extended psychoanalytic infant and young-child observations, work discussion seminars, psychoanalytic theory and child development lectures. The courses are normally self-funded and offer an opportunity to decide whether psychotherapy with children and young people is the right profession for you and help the development of reflective practice, emotional availability and awareness of oneself.


To train as a child and adolescent psychotherapist you must have experience of working with children and adolescents but this experience may be gained in a wide range of occupations across health, education, social care and other sectors. Prior experience of working in mental health services is not essential. Applications from those with lived experience and from a diverse range of backgrounds are encouraged.

Salary Expectations

During the clinical training you will be paid on Agenda for Change Band 6. Child and adolescent psychotherapists (CAPTs) normally gain a substantive post on Band 7 after qualification. As CAPTs develop they may become highly specialist clinicians, consultants or take up teaching and management positions at Band 8a and above.

Future Career Options

Child and adolescent psychotherapists (CAPTs) offer a range of help and support to children and their families from prevention and early intervention through to consultation, assessment and treatment for the most complex of needs. In addition to community child and adolescent mental health services, you could work in in-patient units, looked after children teams, hospital teams for children with physical illness and disability, eating disorder services, perinatal and parent-infant services, schools, learning disability teams and forensic services. As your career develops you may choose to specialise in one or more of these areas of work or to progress into service leadership, supervision and teaching roles.

Registering or Accrediting Body

Child and adolescent psychotherapists must be registered with a register accredited by the Professional Standards Authority (PSA). For those who have completed the Health Education England (HEE) funded training, the accredited register is held by the Association of Child Psychotherapists (ACP).

Professional Organisation

Child and adolescent psychotherapists are normally members of the Association of Child Psychotherapists (ACP).