Acknowledging Educational Programs in Psychotherapy for Psychologists: Possible Ways of Government Regulation



We present an example of current legal regulation of education and training programs for psychotherapists on the example of legislation in Switzerland. It dwells upon the criteria for training professional psychotherapists. The paper also discusses the procedure for admission into the workforce (accreditation) and describes the experience of the first stage of admission in Switzerland. The Swiss example shows that the provisions for applying the law to the admission procedure need to be clarified in order to be able to distinguish, as required by the law, scientifically based psychotherapeutic approaches and methods from those which are not, or not yet, scientifically or evidence-based. Furthermore, we touch upon the issue of distinguishing between psychological counseling and psychotherapy and describe a proposed solution to this problem, as practiced in the Netherlands. In addition, we present the recently (September 2020) enacted reform of the Psychotherapy Act of Germany. This reform concerns education and advanced qualification training as well as the accreditation of psychotherapists.

General Information

Keywords: legislation in psychotherapy, education in psychotherapy, advanced qualification training, criteria for psychotherapeutic approaches, psychotherapeutic methods, counseling, evidence-based psychotherapy

Journal rubric: Workshop and Methods

Article type: scientific article


Acknowledgements. I would like to thank Annemieke van Straten (Free University of Amsterdam) and Birgit Watzke (University of Zurich) for their helpful advice on the manuscript.

For citation: Perre M. Acknowledging Educational Programs in Psychotherapy for Psychologists: Possible Ways of Government Regulation. Konsul'tativnaya psikhologiya i psikhoterapiya = Counseling Psychology and Psychotherapy, 2020. Vol. 28, no. 4, pp. 144–166. DOI: 10.17759/cpp.2020280408. (In Russ., аbstr. in Engl.)


  1. Perrez M., Baumann U. (eds.). Klinicheskaya psikhologiya i psikhoterapiya. 3-e izd. [Clinical psychology and psychotherapy. 3rd ed.]. Saint-Petersburg: Piter, 2012. 944 p. (In Russ.)
  2. American Psychological Association. APA Clinical Practice Guideline Development [Elektronnyi resurs]. APA, 2020. Available at: directorates/guidelines/clinical-practice (Accessed 18.09.2020).
  3. BIG-Register [Elektronnyi resurs]. Available at: (Accessed 18.09.2020).
  4. Clark L.A., Cuthbert B., Lewis-Fernández R., et al. Three approaches to understanding and classifying mental disorder: ICD-11, DSM-5, and the National Institute of Mental Health’s Research Domain Criteria (RDoC). Psychological Science in the Public Interest, 2017. Vol. 18 (2), pp. 72—145. DOI:10.1177/1529100617727266
  5. Higgins J.P.T., Thomas J., Chandler J., et al. (eds.). Cochrane handbook for systematic reviews of interventions. Ver. 6.1 [Elektronnyi resurs]. Cochrane Publishing, 2020. Available at: (Accessed 01.07.2020).
  6. Bundesgesetz über die Psychologieberufe (Psychologieberufegesetz, PsyG) [Elektronnyi resurs]. Der Bundesrat: Das Portal der Schweizer Regierung, 2020. Available at: index.html (Accessed 18.08.2020).
  7. Engel G.L. The need for a new medical model. A challenge for biomedicine. Science, 1977. Vol. 196 (4286), pp. 129—136. DOI:10.1126/science.847460
  8. Funke M. Gestufte Versorgung in der Psychotherapie [Elektronnyi resurs]. Nederlands Instituut van Psychologen, 2020. Available at: en/dutch-association-psychologists/education/ (Accessed 10.09.2020).
  9. Gesetz über die Berufe des Psychologischen Psychotherapeuten und des Kinder-und Jugendlichenpsychotherapeuten (Psychotherapeutengesetz, PsychThG) [Elektronnyi resurs]. Ein Service des Bundesministeriums der Justiz und für Verbraucherschutzsowie des Bundesamts für Justiz, 2020. Available at: https://www. (Accessed 10.10.2020).
  10. Guyatt G., Oxman A.D., Montori V., et al. GRADE guidelines: 5. Rating the quality of evidence-publication bias. Journal of Clinical Epidemiology, 2011. Vol. 64 (12), pp. 1277—1282. DOI:10.1016/j.jclinepi.2011.01.011
  11. Heuft G., Esser G. Gutachten zur wissenschaftlichen Anerkennung der Humanistischen Psychotherapie [Elektronnyi resurs]. Deutsches Ärzteblatt, 2018. Available at: downloads/pdf-Ordner/WB/Gutachten_Humanistische_Psychotherapie.pdf (Accessed 14.09.2020). DOI:10.3238/arztebl.2018.gut_hpt01
  12. Insel T., Cuthbert B., Garvey M., et al. Research domain criteria (RDoC): Toward a new classification framework for research on mental disorders. American Journal of Psychiatry, 2010. Vol. 167 (7), pp. 748—751. DOI:10.1176/appi.ajp.2010.09091379
  13. Karunamuni N., Imayama I., Goonetilleke D. Pathways to well-being: Untangling the causal relationships among biopsychosocial variables [Elektronnyi resurs]. Social Science Medicine, 2020. Available at: (Accessed 21.08.2020). DOI:10.1016/j.socscimed.2020.112846
  14. National Institute of Mental Health. NIMH RDoC Publications [Elektronnyi resurs]. Available at: (Accessed 15.09.2020).
  15. Perrez M. Les sciences humaines ont-elles besoin d’une épistémologie spécifique? Revue interdisciplinaire de philosophie morale et politique, 1989. Vol. 55, pp. 47—62.
  16. Perrez M. Psychotherapeutic methods between scientific foundation and every day knowledge. New Ideas in Psychology, 1989. Vol. 7 (2), pp. 133—145.
  17. Rief W. Das kritische Gutachten des Wissenschaftlichen Beirats zur humanistischen Psychotherapie: Anlass zur Reflexion des Begriffs “Psychotherapeutische Verfahren”. Verhaltenstherapie, 2018. Vol. 28 (2), pp. 68—71. DOI:10.1159/000489537
  18. Tolin D.F., Forman E.M., Klonski E.D., et al. Guidelines for identifying empirically supported treatments: Practical recommendations for clinical researchers and reviewers. The Clinical Psychologist, 2015. Vol. 68 (3), pp. 16—21.
  19. Verordnung des EDI über Umfang und Akkreditierung der Weiterbildungsgänge der Psychologieberufe. Anhang: Umfang der Weiterbildung und Qualitätsstandards der Akkreditierung im Fachgebiet Psychotherapie (AkkredV-PsyG) [Elektronnyi resurs]. Der Bundesrat: Das Portal der Schweizer Regierung, 2016. Available at: (Accessed 10.09.2020).
  20. Wampold B.E., Imel Z.E. The great psychotherapy debate. The evidence for what makes psychotherapy work. 2nd ed. New York: Routledge, 2015. 300 p.
  21. Watzke B., Heddaeus D., Steinmann M., et al. Effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of a guideline-based stepped care model for patients with depression: Study protocol of a cluster-randomized controlled trial in routine care [Elektronnyi resurs]. BMC Psychiatry, 2014. Vol. 14. Available at: PMC4243822/ (Accessed 15.09.2020). DOI:10.1186/s12888-014-0230-y
  22. Westen D., Novotny C.M., Brenner H.T. The empirical status of empirically supported psychotherapies: Assumptions, findings, and reporting in controlled clinical trials. Psychological Bulletin, 2004. Vol. 130 (4), pp. 631—663. DOI:10.1037/0033- 2909.130.4.631
  23. Zhang Y., Alonso-Coello P., Guyatt G., et al. GRADE Guidelines: 20. Assessing the certainty of evidence in the importance of outcomes or values and preferences — inconsistency, imprecision, and other domains. Journal of Clinical Epidemiology, 2019. Vol. 111, pp. 83—93. DOI:10.1016/j.jclinepi.2018.05.011

Information About the Authors

Meinrad Perre, Doctor of Psychology, Professor, University of Fribourg, University of Fribourg, Fribourg, Switzerland, ORCID:, e-mail:



Total: 686
Previous month: 10
Current month: 9


Total: 395
Previous month: 1
Current month: 1