Counselling, psychotherapy, and occupational therapy

Moving into the world of counselling, psychotherapy, and occupational therapy will allow you to heal minds, restore lives, and empower people to reach their full potential.

Studying counselling, psychotherapy, and occupational therapy gives an insight into the human mind and its interaction with daily life. It focuses on mental wellbeing, developing skills in active listening, empathy, and therapeutic intervention. This combination equips you for diverse career choices.

  • In counselling, you become a guide through life's challenges, supporting people in navigating personal and emotional issues.
  • Psychotherapy unveils the deeper layers of the psyche, enabling you to facilitate transformative change through in-depth therapeutic processes.
  • Occupational therapy, on the other hand, focuses on enhancing daily functioning and independence, making a tangible impact on people's lives.

Graduates can find themselves working in hospitals, schools, mental health clinics, or private practices, contributing to a society that increasingly values mental health and holistic wellbeing. This subject not only promises personal and professional growth but also allows you to be a part of empowering others to lead fulfilling lives.

The impact you could make
  • Contribute to the improvement of mental health by giving people the tools to navigate and overcome challenges.
  • Create a supportive space for personal growth and self-discovery.
  • Reduce the stigma associated with mental health issues.
What you could study
  • Counselling skills
  • Psychology and human development
  • Ethics and professional practice
  • Mental health and wellbeing
  • Personal and professional development
  • Occupational science

Study options

Options to study in this field include:

Chat to a current counselling, psychotherapy and occupational therapy student

Chat to a current counselling, psychotherapy and occupational therapy student using UniBuddy.

Some conversation starters for you:

  1. Ask which modules they really enjoyed.
  2. Find out how easy it was for them to make friends on their course.
  3. Do they have any tips on your personal statement?
  4. Did they do anything to prep for uni before they went?
  5. Are there books, podcasts or YouTube channels they would recommend?

Chat to students powered by Unibuddy

Start your search now

Get your UCAS Hub

Your place to discover your options and research your future.

Sign up today
Example module
“My favourite modules are definitely the placements. I love the practical side to the course and gaining real-life experience.”
Second year occupational therapy student, Glyndwr University, Wrexham
Example assignment
"The personal development reflexive statements. This assessment challenged my usual shy self to stand up and share personal and difficult parts of my personal development. It allowed me to bond with other students in a way that I couldn’t imagine."
Second year counselling and psychotherapy student, Edge Hill University

Subjects it's useful to have studied first

Some counselling, psychotherapy, and occupational therapy courses or apprenticeships will have requirements for previous qualifications in certain subjects. Entry requirements vary, so always check with the provider.
Hard skills you'll develop
  • Counselling techniques
  • Assessment skills
  • Group facilitation
  • Activity analysis
  • Occupational assessment
Soft skills you'll develop
  • Boundaries and professionalism
  • A habit of reflective practice
  • Active listening
  • Patience and persistence
  • Collaborative problem-solving
83% of students
studying counselling, psychotherapy, and occupational therapy would recommend the subject to others
(UCAS subject guide survey 2023)

Careers: Where it can take you

Find out more about your career prospects from studying counselling, psychotherapy, and occupational therapy. The following information is based on a typical occupational therapist role.
Available jobs
47,999 vacancies in the past year
6.06% growth over next eight years
Average salary
Up to £48,234

Career options

Health, social, and childcare services
Public services

What is a… mindfulness-based therapist?

This type of therapist guides people in developing mindfulness practices to enhance wellbeing, reduce stress, and improve mental health. They draw from mindfulness-based interventions rooted in tradition and evidence-based therapeutic approaches. They can work in many different settings, including mental health clinics, wellness centres, educational institutions, corporate environments, and private practice. They also collaborate with mental health professionals, educators, and organisations to integrate mindfulness into every day.

Getting in: Entry requirements

Find out more about what you'll need to study counselling, psychotherapy and occupational therapy at university or as an apprenticeship.

Average requirements for undergraduate degrees

Entry requirements differ between university and course, but this should give you a guide to what is usually expected from counselling, psychotherapy and occupational therapy applicants.

A levels
Scottish Highers
Other Level 3/Level 6 qualifications (e.g. Pearson BTEC Level 3 National Extended Diploma or SQCF Level 6) may be accepted as an alternative

Other subjects you may be interested in

Considering an apprenticeship?

Applying for an apprenticeship is just like applying for a normal job. Here’s what you need to know:
  1. Deadline

    Apprenticeships don't follow the same deadlines as applying to uni, the deadline is down to the employer.
  2. Where to apply

    You apply directly through the employer.

  3. No limits

    You're not restricted to one apprenticeship application; you can do as many as you like.
  4. Apply to university and apprenticeships

    There's nothing stopping you applying to university through UCAS, while also applying for apprenticeship vacancies.

  5. Find out more

Explore further

Go deeper into counselling, psychotherapy, and occupational therapy with the following:
  1. Mental Health Foundation

    A podcast with different people and experts exploring topics around mental health, including mental health in the workplace.
  2. On the Psych Ward

    This BBC documentary with Stacey Dooley explores the pressure of life on the frontline of mental health services.  
  3. Keep up-to-date with the latest news

Application advice

Whether it's personal statement tips or what to write in a cover letter for an apprenticeship application, our advice will help you get ahead in your counselling, psychotherapy, and occupational therapy journey.
Skills, experiences, and interests to mention
  • Make sure you highlight your capacity for empathy and compassion as that’s crucial in this subject.
  • Talk about instances where you’ve demonstrated resilience and the ability to cope with challenges, an essential trait in counselling and therapy.
  • Have you been involved or are interest in mental health advocacy and challenging stigmas?
  • If you’ve had experiences in building therapeutic relationships, whether through mentoring, coaching, or supporting others, share these experiences.
  • Highlight experiences that required keen observation and reflection, as these skills are integral to therapeutic practice.

Personal statement builder

Try our tool.

Get help structuring your statement.

Sign up today