Psychotherapist Kaihaumanu Hinengaro

Psychotherapists provide talk therapy to help people manage and improve their mental health and emotional wellbeing.

Psychotherapists need to be registered with the Psychotherapists Board of Aotearoa New Zealand and have a current Annual Practising Certificate.

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.

Useful Experience

Useful experience for psychotherapists includes:

  • social work
  • community work or counselling
  • life experience
  • work helping or caring for people
  • research in related fields.

Personal Qualities

Psychotherapists need to be:

  • empathetic and concerned for the wellbeing of others
  • non-judgemental
  • able to keep information private
  • able to relate well to people
  • able to influence people. 


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.

Subject Recommendations

A tertiary entrance qualification is usually required to enter further training. Useful subjects include English, social studies and health education.

Psychotherapists can earn around $53K-$71K per year.

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.

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.

Years Of Training

3-5 years of training usually required.

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.