Training structure


Training Committee

In line with the fundamental beliefs and concerns of the Society, we don’t have a Training Committee. Students and ordinary members of the Outfit take responsibility for the general organisation of the Society, for clinical and academic work and for student learning

The Governing Body of the Society is the Business Meeting. The Business Meeting is called at least four times a year and all ordinary and student members are eligible to attend and vote. Much of its day to day work is delegated to sub-groups which have a mixed ordinary/student membership.

It is the responsibility of each student, with the support of other students and ordinary members, to reflect on and work out the most appropriate way for them to work towards becoming psychotherapists. There are a number of supportive structures for this, the principal one being the student group which is the focus for clinical and academic discussion and for practical and emotional support. The supervisor’s role is also a key one. Other supportive opportunities include:

The Planning Group which consists of the student membership and two or three ordinary members, and meets at least twice a year to plan the student programme.

A system of Pairings in which each student is paired with another student, and each student is paired with an ordinary member for periods of six months. This provides opportunities for information, support, mutual development, and exploration.

Various additional groups develop from time to time in response to people’s needs and wishes. These often have a mixed student and ordinary membership.

The ordinary members are always available to respond to students, either individually or as a group, to offer support, information, advice or consultation.

Selection procedure and admission

We look for people who are curious, imaginative, sensitive, intelligent, and enthusiastic, who seem likely to think deeply and who have that notoriously difficult to define something that suggests that they might become good at this kind of work. We are aware that this spark comes in different forms and guises, may have different cultural and gendered and age-specific forms and we try to be sensitive to this. We recognise the importance of continual learning about gender, age, race, class, sexual orientation, physical disability and religion in order that the Society can be accessible to a wide range of people.

Applicants need to be at a time in their life when they are able to make the serious commitments – in time, emotion, intellect and money – that may be required. No specific educational qualifications are prescribed. The successful working of the student group is an important part of people’s learning so basic compatibility between applicant and current students is a criterion that is taken into account.

If you are interested in training with the Outfit, an informal meeting can then be arranged (usually with a current student) to discuss what is involved in becoming a student member. We ask prospective students to make a written application that they feel comfortable about being widely circulated, as all members of the Society are free to be involved in the application process. There are then a meeting with the student group and two individual interviews. The final decisions are taken at a meeting of the whole society.

Time commitment per week and length of training

For the Outfit to work, a whole-hearted contribution from all student members, both to their own and to others’ learning, and to running the Outfit, is required. The type and extent of contributions varies enormously according to personal preferences and talents. Each student needs to make time for seeing clients, supervision, personal therapy and reading. Most write as well – for the Newsletter, the Journal, or for group discussion.

All students attend the weekly student meeting on Monday evenings for two and a half hours, as well as the quarterly Business Meetings. Each student is paired with another student and also with an ordinary member. Pairs meet at mutual convenience and frequency for discussion and support. Most members belong to one or more sub-groups, and this involves further meetings and preparation time. The Secretary and Treasurer are student members.

The length of time you might spend as a student is flexible, according to individual needs. In order to conform with UKCP requirements, student members should be in the group for a minimum of 4 years. More important is each person’s developing understanding of what is involved in psychotherapy, and how long, as an individual, they need to stay in the group.

What is the financial cost of the training?

For students of the Outfit, the annual contribution to running costs is currently £212. Students also need to budget for their own therapy and supervision, for the purchase of books and journals, and for renting a consulting room if necessary.

The absence of high fees makes the Outfit more accessible to those with limited means. However, any education in psychotherapy necessarily involves a substantial amount of personal therapy and supervision, and the cost of this may be significant. If a student experiences financial difficulties, it is important that they seek advice rather than curtail or compromise their learning.

Interruptions in training

Because of the nature of the organisation, interruptions can be accommodated. Becoming a psychotherapist with the Outfit tends to take longer than with some conventional trainings, and students can have periods of greater and lesser involvement. The key factor is to discuss with others any difficulty with the time commitment. If a member needs a period of “time-off”, it is important to discuss the matter fully and reach agreement with the Outfit as a whole.

Graduating and beginning a career

Graduation is seen as a gradual transition from being a student to becoming an ordinary member. This happens when a student feels ready to begin the graduation process, and will usually involve much discussion with other members of the Society. After graduation, members are free to work out their own level of responsibility and contribution to the Society, and this may vary over time. Graduates usually remain involved in the running of the Society in the ways described above. Generally, ordinary members wish to give back to the student group the kind of support they themselves received as students.

Most graduates combine private practice with work in the public sector or voluntary agencies.