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dynamic psychiatry

Psychotherapy (often referred to as ‘talking therapy’) involves using psychological approaches to understanding and treating mental health problems. Developing psychotherapeutic skills is an essential part of general psychiatric training and these skills can help psychiatrists in a range of settings and specialities. The Royal College of Psychiatrists sets out the aims of psychotherapy training during core training as follows.

Doctors will be able to:

  • Account for clinical phenomena in psychological terms.
  • Deploy advanced communication skills.
  • Display advanced emotional intelligence in dealings with patients and colleagues and yourself.
  • Refer patients appropriately for formal psychotherapies.
  • Jointly manage patients receiving psychotherapy.
  • Deliver basic psychotherapeutic treatments and strategies where appropriate.

Although some parts of psychiatry are taught through specific placements, psychotherapy training runs through the whole of core training and trainees will normally set aside a part of their working week to undertake their psychotherapy training. In CT1 psychotherapy training starts with doctors participating in Case Based Discussion Groups (CBD groups, formerly known as Balint Groups). CBD groups are weekly groups which last 60-90 minutes. Each week a different group member will present a case and the group will discuss psychological and emotional aspects, often looking in greater depth at the doctor-patient relationship. Please see the ARCP requirement section to learn about how the CBD groups must be evidenced.

Once trainees have completed their CBD group requirements, they can move on to conducting formal psychotherapies, normally in CT2-CT3 years. Trainees will need to complete a formal psychotherapy with at least two patients and using at least two different modalities. Examples of modalities include cognitive behavioural therapy, psychodynamic psychotherapy, cognitive analytic therapy or family therapy. Other modalities are also used but should be discussed with the local psychotherapy tutor. All formal psychotherapies will be conducted under the supervision of a qualified psychotherapist. There are a number of formal assessments that trainees will need to complete in order to pass their ARCP requirements (see ARCP requirements section), please make sure that you are familiar with these