Becoming a TA Psychotherapist

If you are interested in training to be a Transactional Analysis psychotherapist, the best thing to do is call your local TA training centre and speak to one of the qualified trainers there. The following is just a rough guide, to give you some sense of what to expect.

What is involved in training to be TA psychotherapist

Training to be a Certified Transactional Analyst (CTA) involves, firstly, training which field you are interested in specialising in: counselling, education, organisation or psychotherapy. The choice between counselling and psychotherapy can be made near the end of training.

Psychotherapy training involves several parts:

  • formal course of taught training
  • placement (practicum)
  • personal therapy
  • supervision
  • exam preparation (written and oral)

This will often involve several agencies and organisations. Much of this your training institute will help you with, but quite a lot you will be down to you, and your choices. It is very much a personal development journey, rather than a spoon-fed course of instruction.

The formal requirements to become a Certified Transactional Analyst takes a minimum of 2,000 hours, and includes:

  • 600 hours of training (of which half must be TA)
  • 150 hours of supervision (of which half must be TA and at least 40 with your principle supervisor)
  • Have a training contract with your principle supervisor for at least a year
  • 750 hours clinical practice as a therapist yourself (500 using TA, and at least 50 hours with groups and at least 50 with individuals)
  • Personal therapy is recommended over the period of training
  • Mental Health Placement to show an understanding of the psychiatric diagnostic system
  • 500 hours Professional Development Training (personal psychotherapy, psychiatric placement, and other activities approved by your trainer / principle supervisor).
Note that to become UKCP registered there are some additional requirements, though these are usually met in the TA training process, and many TA training institute programmes are now associated with Masters degrees from universities, who again may have their own requirements. All of these can be clarified in discussion with a trainer at one of the training centres.

See also: What is TA Training from the Training & Certification Council of TA.

How long does it take to train to be a TA psychotherapist

From the above it should be clear that commitment to train to be a TA psychotherapist is quite a long one. However plenty of people start the process and stop before the end, having got what they needed in terms of personal development and growth. Training to be TA psychotherapist is not just another career move. It changes you. 

In terms of years, training to be a TA psychotherapist could take anything between 6 and 12 years - though really there is no upper limit. It depends on what life events you have to contend with and what makes sense for you.

How expensive is it to train to be a TA psychotherapist

The cost is similar to self-financing a part-time Masters degree, and at the start therefore expensive. Later, as you start to practice, your earnings as a psychotherapist will help offset some of those costs. But you should enter into the process understanding that it is a major life investment in yourself. You may want to spend the money on a brand new Ford Mondeo instead. But becoming a psychotherapist, if it is right for you, will stay fresh with you for longer.