Already in 2001 the European commission installed working circles to formulate a directive on the recognition of professional qualifications within the European Union. In March 2002 the proposal was adopted by the European Commission and communicated to the European Parliament. The European Parliament held its first reading on the directive on February 11th, 2004. The report on this meeting included a significant success for the psychotherapy profession in Europe. Thanks to the efforts of the European Association for Psychotherapy, psychotherapy was included in Amendment 153 and 128 as an independent profession which should benefit from the automatic mutual recognition of professional qualifications.
Unfortunately the European Commission did not take these important amendments into consideration for the final draft of the Directive 2005/36/EC. The reason for this decision was only a purely technical one: there were only professions included that have already been accepted as regulated professions within the European Union before.
For all professions not regulated by the Directive 2005/36/EC the European Commission introduced artice 15, the European platform model. This regulation allows European professional organisations to establish criteria for the recognition of professional qualifications in their specific profession. The aim of a European Platform was described to harmonise the compensation measures throughout Member States and therefore to facilitate free movement of professionals. Unfortunately the procedure to become a European platform is so complicated that not a single European Association as yet succeeded to establish such a platform.
The European platform working group was installed at the EAP Board meeting in Belgrade, Serbia in June 2004 after a meeting of Mony Elkaim with the European Commission where the consequences of the decision not to include psychotherapy in directive 2005/36/EC were discussed. The first members of this working group were Mony Elkaim, Alfred Pritz, Willy Szafran, Michel Meignant and Paul Boyesen. As a first step, the European Platform working group formulated a questionnaire in 2005 to be sent out to all National Umbrella Organisations. The aim of this project was to receive detailed information on the current status in various European countries. Thanks to Mony Elkaim Annik Lambert, a lawyer from Belgium, volunteered to work on this project free of charge. She participated in various meetings with the European Commission and summarised the outcome of the 2005 questionnaires in the country tables. In 2008 Albina Colden, a researcher from the United States with wide experience in statistics and scientific work agreed to work for the EAP on a project-oriented basis. She updated the country tables and stepped into the discussion process with the European Commission.
The template was written by Alfred Pritz and Albina Colden in early 2008. The challenge was to formulate the cornerstones a national psychotherapy law and at the same time allow enough flexibility to take the specific requirements of each country into consideration. The idea was to use the text as a possible template in countries where the psychotherapy profession is not yet regulated. It is up to the relevant National Organisations to re-formulate it and make it suitable for the situation in their country and to use it for negotiations with governmental officers in charge of psychotherapy in ministries and other official bodies. Alfred Pritz and Albina Colden tried to find a language that is understandable also for non-psychotherapists.
On the recommendation of the European Commission a pilot study on the migration of psychotherapists in the European Union was conducted by the EAP headoffice in spring 2007. The researcher Albina Colden was asked by the EAP to work on a large-scale study. She started to distribute a questionnaire in summer 2010 asking psychotherapists who migrated to another country about the problems they faced. If you are affected by this topic or even think about a possible migration, please be so kind to fill out the questionnaire and send it to the EAP headoffice.
The EAP organised a Conference on the political and legal status of psychotherapists from a professionals and clients protection point of view in the European Union which took place in Vienna on February 18th and 19th, 2010. The conference with 120 participants from 35 countries was a huge success for the EAP. For the psychotherapy profession and the work of the EAP platform committee it was of utmost importance that Juergen Tiedje, head of the Unit for the recognition of professional qualifications in the European Commission accepted the invitation to give a keynote speech at the conference. We were very pleased that Paula Lanske from the Austrian Health Ministry, Bernhard Strauss from Jena University in Germany, Heinrich Lanthaler (a psychotherapist who suffered from the fact that there is no common law for psychotherapists in the European Union) and Albina Colden, researcher at the Sigmund Freud Private University held very interesting speeches. For the EAP the acting president Rodolfo de Bernart from Italy, General Secretary Alfred Pritz from Austria and Serge Ginger from France completed the list of speakers. The idea behind the European Conference was to provide space and time for officers in charge of psychotherapy in their countries to actively discuss the situation in their countries with each other and with the psychotherapists present. To facilitate the discussion we invited the politicans and officers to give a short presentation on the regulations in their countries. 15 participants volunteered to speak and give an overview. After the conference the EAP headoffice collected all powerpoint presentations which are available on request.
The Sigmund Freud Private University Vienna (SFU) in collaboration with the EAP has established a research programm dedicated to psychotherapy in Europe. Please visit the website of the research team for further information
03/06/2004 meeting of Mony Elkaim and Annik Lambert with Pamela Brumter-Coret (head of Unit Recognition of professional qualifications), Ana Rodrigues Pérez (advisor), Abilio Pereira (advisor), Catherine Heldmaier (advisor)
28/10/2006 meeting of the European Platform working group in Brussels
25/08/2007 meeting of the European Platform working group in Brussels
18/01/2008 meeting of Annik Lambert with Pamela Brumter-Coret, head of the Unit Recognition of professional qualifications of the European Commission in Brussels
02/12/2008 meeting of Annik Lambert with Pamela Brumter-Coret and Thomas Wiedmann from the Unit Recognition of professional qualifications of the European Commission in Brussels
29/01/2009 meeting of Annik Lambert, Mony Elkaim and Alfred Pritz with Pamela Brumter-Coret and Thomas Wiedmann from the Unit Recognition of professional qualifications of the European Commission in Brussels
19/10/2009 meeting of Mony Elkaim and Alfred Pritz with Juergen Tiedje, new head of the Unit Recognition of professional qualifications of the European Commission in Brussels
18/02/2010 European Conference on the political and legal status of psychotherapists from a profressionals and clients protection point of view organised by the EAP in Vienna. More than 30 officials from European countries participated. Among others Juergen Tiedje held a keynote speech
17/03/2010 meeting on the evaluation of the professional qualifications directive in Brussels – Alfred Pritz, Sandra Köhldorfer and Albina Colden participated for the EAP
Psychotherapists are required to engage in extensive personal psychotherapy during their training which is up to seven years duration. Psychotherapists usually have a first degree followed by a professional, highly specialised, theoretical and clinical training which includes research methodology and continuous professional development. The EAP promotes the recognition of common standards of training throughout Europe, and will ensure their mobility across member states.Training