Psychotherapists provide talk therapy to help people manage and improve their mental health and emotional wellbeing.
Psychotherapists with up to five years' experience usually earn
$53K-$71K per year
Senior psychotherapists with more experience and responsibility usually earn
$71K-$112K per year
Source: Apex & Auckland DHB, 2020.
Pay for psychotherapists varies depending on experience, qualifications and employer.
Psychotherapists at district health boards
- Graduate psychotherapists with up to five years' experience usually earn $53,000 to $71,000 a year.
- Psychotherapists with more than five years' experience usually earn $71,000 to $84,000.
- Senior psychotherapists who may supervise staff can earn $84,000 to $112,000.
Psychotherapists in private practice
- Self-employed psychotherapists
usually earn from $60 to $160 an hour.
Source: Apex & Auckland DHB, ‘Psychotherapy Collective Agreement, 2018-2020', 2020.
(This information is a guide only. Find out more about the sources of our pay information)
What you will do
Psychotherapists may do some or all of the following:
- assess clients' mental health and emotional wellbeing
- develop personalised treatment plans for clients
- provide individual or group therapy treatment sessions
- help clients address the effects of childhood influences and past trauma
- help clients understand and control their emotions and behaviour
- monitor client responses to treatment and write reports
- maintain client files.
Skills and knowledge
Psychotherapists need to have knowledge of:
- psychotherapeutic and psychological theory and treatment methods
- social and cultural issues that may affect clients
- analysing and assessing human psychology and behaviour
- current research and research methods.
- usually work regular business hours, but may work evenings or weekends and be on-call
- work in private practices, non-profit agencies, voluntary organisations and public hospitals
- may work in emotionally draining and stressful circumstances
- may travel to visit clients or attend workshops and conferences.
To become a psychotherapist you need to:
- have a qualification, or a qualification and work experience, that meets the Psychotherapists Board of Aotearoa New Zealand's registration criteria
- be registered with the Psychotherapists Board of Aotearoa New Zealand.
The Vulnerable Children Act 2014 means that if you have certain serious convictions, you can’t be employed in a role where you are responsible for, or work alone with, children.
A tertiary entrance qualification is usually required to enter further training. Useful subjects include English, social studies and health education.
Psychotherapists need to be:
- empathetic and concerned for the wellbeing of others
- able to keep information private
- able to relate well to people
- able to influence people.
Useful experience for psychotherapists includes:
- social work
- community work or counselling
- life experience
- work helping or caring for people
- research in related fields.
Psychotherapists need to be registered with the Psychotherapists Board of Aotearoa New Zealand and have a current Annual Practising Certificate.
- Psychotherapists Board of Aotearoa New Zealand website - information on psychotherapist registration
Find out more about training
- NZ Association of Child and Adolescent Psychotherapists
- secretaryNZACAP@gmail.com - www.nzacap.org.nz
- NZ Association of Psychotherapists
- (04) 475 6244 - firstname.lastname@example.org - www.nzap.org.nz
What are the chances of getting a job?
There are few permanent full-time positions advertised for psychotherapists. However, they often work part time as psychotherapists in private practice and combine this with paid work as a case worker, counsellor or addictions counsellor.
Forty percent of psychotherapists work part time.
According to the Census, 600 psychotherapists worked in New Zealand in 2018.
More demand in rural locations
Demand for psychotherapists is higher in rural areas, for example work as a private contractor for ACC. However, these jobs are not always full time.
Self-employment common and types of employers varied
Sixty-five percent of psychotherapists are self-employed. They may also work for:
- district health boards
- government departments such as Department of Corrections, Ministry of Education, Ministry for Vulnerable Children Oranga Tamariki, ACC and Defence Force
- iwi organisations
- non-governmental organisations such as Red Cross
- addiction, trauma and abuse centres
- universities and polytechnics.
- New Zealand Association of Psychotherapists website, accessed April 2021, (nzap.org.nz).
- Stats NZ, '2018 Census Data', 2019.
- The Psychotherapists Board of Aotearoa New Zealand website, accessed April 2021, (www.pbanz.org.nz).
(This information is a guide only. Find out more about the sources of our job opportunities information)
Progression and specialisations
Psychotherapists may progress to academic research, teaching, clinical, advisory or management roles.
Psychotherapists can also specialise in areas such as:
- child and adolescent psychotherapy
- group/family psychotherapy
- clinical supervision.
Last updated 30 July 2021