Appendix 2

There are many different definitions or understandings of the professional activity of “psychotherapy”, which can include the following, or various combinations of the following:

Different Definitions of 'Psychotherapy':

  1. Psychiatric Psychotherapy – as a form of non-pharmacological, quasi-medical / ‘psychiatric’ treatment, conducted or supervised by psychiatric staff, in hospital or out-patient (psychiatric / mental health team) settings; in such cases the recipients would be those people who have been diagnosed, or assessed as,
    1. either having a form of mental illness, DSM-IV or ICD-10,
    2. or having significant identified, long-term, mental health or psychosomatic problems and issues,
    3. or having a mental health disorder, possibly episodic or short-term,
    4. or being someone whose psychological problems are significantly affecting their mental health and well-being; in such cases, it is not uncommon that the recipient is also receiving other forms of treatment, including psycho-pharmacological treatment;
  2. Psychological Psychotherapy – as a “talking therapy”, practised by both medical and non-medical professionals, alongside, separately, or in conjunction with, traditional medical approaches, like psychiatry or psycho-pharmacology; * Psychotherapy – in this context – is a parallel, but distinctly different approach to psychiatric psycho-pharmacology, which can enhance it’s activity (by making the recipient more aware, more alert, more present, grounded and functioning) or can intrude on, or disrupt, it (by interfering with the recipient’s receipt of psychotherapy). * Psychotherapy – in this context – is very similar to some of the other professional activities listed below, and is often conducted outwith and very separate from any medical setting, but it is still seen as a form of ‘treatment’, however it is practiced. * Psychotherapy – in this context – might be part of within a medical or legal treatment, control or assessment setting to evaluate (say) whether the recipient could function well enough outside the prison, hospital, in possible contact with addictive substances, without endangering others, etc.
  3. Health-Care Psychotherapy – as a recognized professional “health-care” activity, that can sometimes be paid for, or sometimes is subsidized by, state health payments or health insurance companies; payments are usually only made to those practitioners (psychiatrists, clinical psychologists, psychotherapists, counsellors, psychiatric nurses, social workers, etc) recognised by the official bodies, or state ministries, or registered with state-recognised professional bodies, and are usually made only to practitioners working within certain accepted modalities (methods), or in certain accepted settings; Psychotherapy – in this context – might be one of the health-care ‘benefits’ provided by the state, or by the health insurance, as and when deemed necessary. After an initial assessment, the psychotherapy might be time-limited or diagnosis-specific: DSM-IV category (x) could get (y) sessions; but DSM-IV category (g) might only be able to get (h) sessions. It is noted that this ‘system’ is used fairly extensively in the USA, and is becoming more prevalent in Europe: especially as definitions of ‘state health care’ and health care providers become more globalized.
  4. Life-Event Psychotherapy – as a professional “helping activity” with a clear bio-psycho-social basis for ordinary people having difficulties, possibly with an accumulation of different life problems, traumatic life events, difficult emotional problems or relationship problems, or troublesome habits; these difficulties coming from both internal sources (biological, psychological, characterological) and/or external sources (socio-economic, familial, political, environmental, etc.) or a combination of these: therefore, in this understanding, psychotherapy is open to, available, and suitable for anyone, in almost any situation, and does not necessarily involve any form of medical diagnosis or clinical assessment;
  5. In-depth Psychotherapy – as a professional, “helping activity”, and is distinct, in several (as yet improperly defined) ways, from more vocational forms, like “guidance”, “coaching”, “pastoral care” or “counselling”; Psychotherapy – as just one of these forms of “helping activities” – is sometimes available in some European countries, provided by the state, health care services, specialist services, voluntary organisation, or privately, but these forms are not apparent in several other European countries; Psychotherapy – in this context – has an awareness of, is involved in, or is based on, the therapeutic relationship, a mutually agreed ‘contract’; management of change processes, personal history and contexts, and is directed primarily towards stimulating the recipient’s self-awareness, personal growth, and general sense of well-being; Psychotherapy – in this context – is probably not time-limited, or goal-oriented, and probably is much more self-directed and open-ended than in previously mentioned paragraphs.
  6. Personal Psychotherapy – as an ‘in-depth’ ‘long-term’ “reflective practitioner” approach – conducted either with a professional, and/or a qualified and experienced ‘lay’ practitioner, oriented specifically to the recipient’s personal development, and/or intellectual and emotional growth, and/or self-awareness, which might include a re-framing of values, some social re-education, attaining a deeper understanding, and/or the exploration of any personal, psychological or philosophical difficulties, as well as gradually acquiring a different, and more satisfying ‘better’, sense of self; Psychotherapy – in this context – is stylistically or methodologically probably oriented more towards psychoanalysis and/or psychodynamic psychotherapy and/or some of the humanistic, existential or transpersonal approaches; Psychotherapy – in this context – is usually conducted regularly (once or a week, though this can vary to 2-3 times a week or once a fortnight); is long-term, over several continuous months or years, and is only very occasionally practiced in a mental health or health care setting; it is more often practiced (and paid for) privately, or in some subsidised fashion.
  7. Political / Legal psychotherapy - This is psychotherapy as it is seen ‘politically’ or ‘legally’ in different countries and by different professions across Europe: some of these perspectives have already been mentioned slightly in other definitions. Some European countries have passed laws that attempt to define ‘psychotherapy’ as an ‘activity’ that can only be done ‘properly’ by certain ‘professionals’: usually psychiatrists and psychologists. Therefore, to be ‘registered’ as a ‘psychotherapist’ in that country – or perhaps even to ‘practice’ psychotherapy in that country – you have to have ‘qualified’ as a psychiatrist or psychologist. Other European countries have, or are moving towards, a ‘national’ or ‘state register’ for ‘psychotherapists’ that can include clinical psychologists and several other professionals with sufficient specific training. Still other European countries (some within the EU, some in the EEC, and other countries) have no specific regulations – yet! This is similar to a certain extent to the situation in America, where every state has different regulations: the state of New York and that of California regulate the activity of psychotherapy much more than some other states. Psychotherapy – in this context – is therefore a regulated / licensed ‘activity’: i.e. no-one can practice it without being licensed; or, it is a regulated / licensed ‘profession’ – i.e. you cannot call yourself a (professional) ‘psychotherapist’ without being registered or licensed; or it is – as yet – ‘unregulated’. Countries in Europe vary significantly, and the situation is changing and developing. Given the political / legal situation in the European Union, which was originally established as a free labour market, if a person is state-registered in one EU country, then they have the legal “right” to work in any other country. The implication of this ‘superior’ law is that some of the national ‘laws’ regulating the activity or profession in a particular country will not stand up in court, if challenged. There have already been a few successful court cases in some countries with such a law. The EAP is attempting to persuade the EU to establish a “Common Platform” for Psychotherapy within the 25+ EU countries: this is where a majority of countries can agree certain basic standards about a profession without any one country’s ‘laws’ being overturned: however this structure is fraught by internal EU Parliament / Commission difficulties, and is so complex that no Common Platform has actually been awarded for any profession within the last 5 years. The only other ‘instrument’ is a ‘Sectoral Directive’, existing for 7 particular professions and this form of regulation has largely been discontinued. The situation has been constantly changing and the latest EU Directive (2005/36/EU) consolidates and modernises the present position on the trans-national recognition of professional qualifications. The EAP is now accepted as a Professional Organisation (consulting member) of the EU on professional qualifications relating to psychotherapy.
  8. Classified Psychotherapy – seen as a multiplicity of different methodological approaches or orientations, largely from within the field of human sciences, that can usually be categorised into a number of distinct mainstreams and modalities (methods), with many very different origins, viewpoints and methodologies (techniques); A method of psychotherapy – in this context – is defined by the ‘modality’ (or method) in psychotherapy as being seen to be lying loosely within several well-defined ‘mainstreams’ (or collections) of similar psychotherapy methods. There are therefore some psychotherapy modalities that are ‘close’ and some that are very ‘different’: some modalities bridge two different mainstreams; In this context – there are about 4 universally agreed psychotherapy mainstreams (psychodynamic, cognitive-behavioural, systemic and humanistic) and about 12 generally-agreed mainstream collections (psychoanalytic, psychodynamic, family & systemic, body-oriented, humanistic, existential, transpersonal, hypno-psychotherapeutic, group psychotherapies, expressive psychotherapies, psychotherapies with specialist client groups, integrative psychotherapies, and (maybe) brief psychotherapies); and there are between 400 and 600 identified psychotherapy methods. A one-on-one mapping is not always possible of method into mainstream. A psychotherapy – in this context – is only defined as a ‘proper’ psychotherapy, where the psychotherapy organisation representing that modality (method) is legally registered and possessing an accountable administrative and financial structure; it must be active in the field of psychotherapy; it must have a clear definition of who is within the organisation, and on what grounds; and it must have a written code of ethics or practice, largely compatible with the ethical principles of the EAP. A psychotherapy – in this context – is also only defined as a ‘proper’ psychotherapy, where it is clear that there has been a significant level of academic publications in that modality (method), internal and external peer and professional activities, public & professional conferences, with activity over a significant time-scale, and with a reasonable level of appropriate (‘scientific’) research, also with evidence of extended clinical activity, with clear definitions and boundaries, etc. – all to ensure that is it more than just a philosophy, purely theoretical, or a belief system, or (say) a couple of people recently setting up in an office; A psychotherapy – within the EAP context – must also have the ‘scientific validity’ of each modality ‘assessed’ by a scrutiny and peer-review process of examining their substantive written answers to the EAP’s “15 Questions on Scientific Validity”: this method has (to-date) ‘assessed’ about 40 different modalities; it has found several to be submissions to be insufficient or inadequate, and has invited re-application, often offering help with the writing of the actual submissions. 2-3 ‘methods’ have been definitely excluded – on various grounds, after much unsatisfactory processing. Psychotherapy – in this context – represents a rich and developing multi-modal and diverse “field” of widely differing psychotherapeutic methods; practicing European-wide (in several different countries) and/or world-wide; by a number of differently trained professionals; in a very wide number of different settings; Psychotherapy – in this context – is also establishing its own common training standards, competencies, and methods of assessment for trainees; ethical principles and research parameters; with most or all agreeing that they are acting professionally within a reasonably, mutually recognised, convergent umbrella or framework; there is a strong consensual component, with an equally strong ‘caveat’ not to exclude more ‘fringe’ methods without them being given every opportunity to meet very clear and well-established, agreed and published, parameters; Psychotherapy – in this context – is largely self-defined and self-regulated by the practitioners themselves, or the professional associations and training schools attached to the different methods: but – at this point – it must also be clearly stated that – in this context – some methodologies or groups that call themselves “psychotherapies”, and who may have some properly-qualified ‘psychotherapists’ practicing within them, may (in reality) be closer to a sect or a cult, but this could probably only be determined by peer-assessment from comparison with other modalities, or by state or legal external examination.
  9. Effective Psychotherapy – seen as a professional activity – irrespective of the modality, philosophy or setting – that can be undertaken at widely varying frequencies and for different durations – and that has been assessed as “effective”:
    1. Psychotherapy can be undertaken at a high frequency (daily or 2-3 times per week), a more usual frequency (about once per week or fortnight), or at a low frequency (once every 3-4 weeks); and …
    2. The duration of psychotherapy can be ‘brief’ (about 6-12 sessions), middle-term (up to between about 30-60 sessions), or long-term (stretching over many months, into years, sometimes up to hundreds of sessions).
    There is usually (hopefully) a determination (and/or clear understanding) at the beginning of the onset of psychotherapy as to what the frequency will be and what the expected duration may be; this should be provided by the practitioner, and should be what is most suitable for the recipient. There is significant evidence that brief psychotherapy is reasonably effective, though the effects are sometimes not retained significantly after several months: it is therefore effective as an intervention. There is evidence that middle-term psychotherapy (of any sort) is effective according to a number of different markers and the beneficial effects are usually retained over several months after the end of the therapy. There is also evidence that long-term psychotherapy has lasting benefits, though these tend to ‘plateau out’ with little further increment in the very long-term. Much of this sort of “effectiveness” research (studies of benefits over time) comes from America, is out-of-date, is very modality-specific, is linked to a particular client-group, or has not been translated into commonly-used European languages. The profession of psychotherapy in Europe seriously lacks a set of properly organised and conducted, ‘across-the-board’, modern “effectiveness” studies, standardised for each modality. The establishment of these should be seen as a priority by all the professional associations in each modality, and by the EAP.
  10. Societal Psychotherapy – as a twentieth-century phenomenon – can also be seen as a psycho-sociological reaction to, and compensation for, the development of relocated and isolated individuals and small family as a result of the preceding economic and Industrial Revolution and the recent development of large urban populations; Psychotherapy – in this context – compensates for the extended family with access to its blood-relative elders; the village, tribe, or cultural unit, with access to hierarchical elders; well-known neighbours, priests, shamans, medicine men, wise women, witches, sages, seers, druids, midwives, apothecaries, guilds, trade associations, captains & sergeants, professors, as well as judges, lords & kings, etc. etc. - all supplying various sources of help, support, wisdom and objectivity to their biological and sociological associates; Psychotherapy – in this context – is the creation of a professional activity out of a set of human needs not being met elsewhere, so that people living more traditional lives would therefore not ‘need’ a professional psychotherapist, as these needs would probably be adequately met from other sources within their society.
  11. Trans-cultural Psychotherapy - where it is seen significantly differently by different cultures: ethnics, national and international; within particular religions or cultures and different social groupings; there are different social and cultural assumptions and contexts; and these, professionally and ethically, require different and additional awareness and sensitivities. Psychotherapy – in this context – must also be seen as an aspect of Western globalization that is overlaying (and swamping) many more traditional cultures, languages, practices, mind-sets, and traditions. Psychotherapy – in this context – must also be seen from a more radical, existential or ‘post-modernist’ critical perspective that tries to ‘transcend’ the culture, mores, assumptions and perspectives of some traditional and ‘modernist’ trends, and is therefore capable of criticising the more, narrow-minded viewpoints of ‘culture’, ‘’capitalism’, ‘scientific’ ‘objectivity’ and ‘progress’, thus focussing more on inequality, injustice, difference, plurality and the varying cultural contexts. In this context, the work and thoughts of people like Heidegger, Sartre, Derrida, Lacan, and particularly Foucault, are significant in offering a philosophical or psychological critique of the prevailing (Western) European culture. Foucault critiqued several social institutions, notably psychiatry, medicine, death, human sciences, the prison system, and human sexuality – and has himself been critiqued. Psychotherapy – in this transcultural context – is practiced substantively differently in China, India, Japan, South America, Africa and Russia, than it is in the more ‘Westernised’ cultures of Europe, North America (USA & Canada) and Australia. Psychotherapy – in this context – can be seen, by the feminists and post-feminists, to be very different (and maybe less relevant for) women as it is largely based on masculine-gendered perspectives, ‘norm’s and concepts. Feminine psychology therefore puts a strong emphasis on gender equality and women’s rights, and feminist psychotherapy is largely avoiding ‘diagnosis’ and is geared significantly more towards freeing of predominant assumptions and the empowerment of the (female) client. Psychotherapy that is practiced – in this context – with: more religiously-oriented (Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Buddhist, or Taoist); or is based more within a spiritual context (transpersonal, shamanistic, pagan); or that works with people from special cultural groups (like the Roma, Hasidic Jews, the Sami (Lapp), etc.); or special ‘national’ or cross-cultural groups (like the Basques, Kurdish peoples, Tyroleans, Bosnians, Cypriots, etc.); or with people with special socio-cultural needs (like Orthodox Jews, the ‘Shahed’ in Iran, Amish in USA, Plymouth Brethren in UK, traditional Muslim, etc.); or who have been culturally dislocated (refugees, asylum seekers, ‘victims’ of economic or environmental relocation, etc.); or with widely differing cultural issues (education of Muslim women; attitudes on marriage, divorce & widow-hood; the predominance of men in hierarchical positions, etc.) can also be considered as ‘trans-cultural’ and will probably require additional special cultural sensitivity awareness and training. Psychotherapy – as it practiced in very rural or traditional situations – Chinese barefoot doctors, traditional villages, rural hospitals and health centres in Africa & India, etc. is also trans-cultural, in that it often mixes both Western and traditional concepts and practices.
  12. Phenomenological Psychotherapy – as an experiential or phenomenological approach to a wide variety of activities within human society, primarily interested in the different experiences of individuals, and helping them overcome difficulties, resolve conflicts, change some, behaviours and come towards a greater understanding, of themselves and of their environment(s); Psychotherapy – in this context – is particularly relevant to Europe, given the wide range of social, cultural, religious, economic, language and political diversities, moderated by recent historical developments; Psychotherapy – in this context – is slightly more philosophical, possibly somewhat academic or intellectual, and there are also some practitioners working clinically. Psychotherapy – in this context – might also include those psychotherapies with a particular philosophical or epistemological viewpoint, including some ‘spiritual’ belief-systems, such as Buddhist, transpersonal or Christian psychotherapies – though this might be a significantly different grouping and thus need a separate, stand-alone, category.
  13. Scientific Psychotherapy – as a professional activity in which there has been a reasonable degree of appropriate ‘scientific’ research (efficacy and efficiency), which can include some form of ‘outcomes’ approach, satisfaction assessments, and post-activity follow-up, comparative case studies, as well as some randomised controlled (clinical) trials (RCT); Psychotherapy – in this context – can be said to be “scientific”, though it is not yet fully clear as to exactly what forms of scientific assessment are suitable and appropriate for all the many social and human science aspects already mentioned. Psychotherapy – in this context – can both accommodate some efficacy research (including RCTs and control groups), but withholding treatment from those who may need it raise serious ethical issues; effectiveness studies (over time) are useful, but often ignored by those more involved with the (natural) “medical” model of science, as contrasted with to the “human” (social and behavioural studies) model of science; the phrase “evidence-based” used for some psychotherapies is a misnomer as nearly all major mainstreams of psychotherapy have a very good ‘evidence-base’ though the ‘type’ of evidence varies considerably between the different mainstreams; Psychotherapy – in this context – can therefore accommodate both quantitative and qualitative research, but not just one or the other.
  14. Differentiated Psychotherapy – as a professional activity – is practiced in a variety of different forms: is an individual, private (one-to-one) setting; with a couple, or family; or in group of individuals, either with the same issues, or from a similar setting, or who have separately come together to work with the ‘group’ psychotherapist; Psychotherapy – in this context – can also be conducted in a variety of different settings: these include hospitals, out-patients departments, clinics, surgeries, hostels, prisons, voluntary organisational settings, employment settings, refugee camps, educational centres, as well as privately, in various forms and places; Psychotherapy – in this context – can also be practiced with a number of different and specialist client groups: adults; hospital patients; prisoners, criminals and perpetrators; refugees and asylum seekers; victims (of crime, natural disasters, accidents, particular illnesses, war and trauma); addicts; children and adolescents; for those wanting plastic surgery or infertility treatment; etc.
  15. Unconditional Psychotherapy – as a professional activity – is understood to be undertaken only where the freedom of the recipient to participate in the therapy (or not) is absolutely enshrined, and is totally respected, and therefore psychotherapy cannot properly be ‘enforced’ or ‘required’ i.e. as a form of coercion; or ‘imposed’ as a result of a mental health order – (as some ‘treatments’ like psycho-pharmaceutical medication, ECT, or psycho-surgery can be), nor can it be exercised as a form of socio-political control (as it has been in the past in some countries); nor can it be properly carried out within the context of a sect or cult (because of the physical and/or mental limitations of the recipient, when it becomes akin to brain-washing); Psychotherapy – in this context – is sometimes actually used to help ‘re-habilitate’ people who have escaped or been released from a sect or cult, or from a political or criminal kidnapping, or from long-term prison sentences; or to overcome institutionalised factors (like the Stockholm syndrome or extended solitary confinement); as a method to help restore the recipient’s sense of autonomy and a sense of their place in society.
  16. The Right to Psychotherapy – as one of the treatments and/or treatment conditions in the basic health, social care and well-being provisions that are established as a ‘right’ for all European citizens, in the Charter of Fundamental Human Rights of the European Union and based on the European Convention on Human Rights, the Council of Europe’s Social Charter and other similar charters. These rights are now arranged into six ‘sections’ comprising: dignity, freedoms, equality, solidarity, citizens’ rights and justice. Psychotherapy – in this context – is seen as, not only a legitimate form of treatment or resource for all citizens (people), but that it also should be made available to those who are in need of it: i.e. citizens should not be denied appropriate access to psychotherapy. Every one has the human right to food, clean water, shelter, education, basic health care, and social and medical assistance. Psychotherapy is being seen as a part of this last provision and is specifically mentioned in the ‘Groupings’ of the International Non-Governmental Organisations (INGO). Many EU countries are therefore including ‘psychotherapy’ within their mental and social health care provisions so as to fulfil the conditions of these Charters.[3]
  17. Psychotherapy Training – as distinct from training in professional counselling, pastoral counselling, social work counselling, coaching, psychological therapy, etc. – usually involves a reasonably high level of tertiary education and also post-graduate education - usually to at least Masters degree level - as well as professional training. Psychotherapy – in this context – is seen (at least by the EAP) to have a minimum requirement for a professional training in psychotherapy of 4 years of postgraduate training and practice, after a relevant university first degree, or the equivalent, bringing the total duration of the professional training in psychotherapy to not less than 3200 hours over a minimum of 7 years. Psychotherapy training – in this context – thus conforms to the professional training standards of CEPLIS[4] for a liberal profession in Europe. Psychotherapy training – in this context – must comprise significant amounts of: (i) academic components and theoretical study, (ii) practical training, (iii) personal psychotherapeutic experience (or the equivalent) – in order to ensure familiarity with the supply of the therapy and/or ensuring sufficient experience and emotional maturity to manage a professional practice, as well as, (iv) a placement in a mental health setting or the equivalent, and (v) supervised professional clinical practice and experience. [5]
  18. Competent Psychotherapy – as a European professional activity – is engaged in establishing the functional competencies of that profession. These competencies determine what a professional psychotherapist should be able to ‘do’. Anybody who can adequately demonstrate these competencies is – de facto – a professional psychotherapist. Psychotherapy practice – in this context – consists of a combination of: (i) ‘core’ competencies, that every psychotherapist should be able to demonstrate that they can do; (ii) competencies specific to their modality (method) or modalities (methods) or (in some case), specifically required by a particular country – that would need to be able to demonstrate as well; and (iii) ‘specialist’ competencies, when working with special client groups, or in special settings, or performing specialist functions (training, supervision, management, research, etc), that they would have to be able to demonstrate, but only if these categories were applicable to their practice. Psychotherapy – in this context – is practiced professionally within certain ‘domains’ or areas of professional activity. In each of these three main categories of competencies (above), there are several different ‘domains’. These domains cover a number of competencies within a particular area of functioning, and these domains include: (a) working professionally, autonomously and accountably; (b) the psychotherapeutic relationship between the provider and recipient; (c) exploration (assessment, diagnosis & conceptualisation) of the recipient’s problems or needs; (d) ‘contracting’ (developing goals, plans and strategies); (e) [that the provider has the necessary skills in …] various techniques and interventions; (f) … completion and evaluation; (g) … collaboration with other professionals; (h) … use of supervision, (peer) intervision and critical evaluation; (i) … ethics, standards and sensitivities; (j) … management and administration; (k) … research; (l) … prevention and education; (m) … management of change, trauma and crisis work; Psychotherapy – in this context – is then comprised of a matrix of various competencies, arranged in these several domains (or areas of professional activity) and – for each of these ‘nodes’ on the matrix, there would be a set of knowledge, skills and experiences that would be applicable to the competency and the domain, and that could be properly assessed. Psychotherapy – in this context – can eventually be ‘mapped’ in parallel to the other, similar professions, when it will become much clearer: (a) what aspects of the practice of psychiatry constitute ‘psychotherapy’ (and what do not) – and therefore psychiatrists will need appropriate training in psychotherapy to fulfil those competencies; (b) what aspects of the practice of clinical psychology constitute ‘psychotherapy’ (and what do not) – and therefore psychologists will need appropriate training in psychotherapy to fulfil those competencies; (c) what aspects of the practice of counselling constitute ‘psychotherapy’ (and what do not) – and therefore counsellors will need appropriate training in psychotherapy to fulfil those competencies; and (d) similarly for other professions. These competencies in psychotherapy – in this context – will eventually be taught and assessed in the basic training schools and colleges and will also be relevant for professional development courses for those moving into different areas of professional activity, or working in different modalities (methods). This will constitute the essential competency, knowledge and skills framework for the profession of psychotherapy.
  19. CPD Psychotherapy – is a on-going professional activity. It is necessary for anyone involved in the ever-changing field of psychotherapy to maintain and enhance their skills and keep up-to-date with developments in the field. The principle of a necessary component of Continuing Professional Development (CPD) is therefore a requirement of ‘proper’ professional practice. The EAP has considered this point carefully, and – whilst all members are not totally and currently performing to these criteria – the principle of a necessary minimum requirement for CPD has been accepted. In 2007, the EAP established CPD requirements. These are: a minimum of 250 hours over a period of the previous 5 years, which can be taken in various forms:
    1. Attendance at advanced or additional professional psychotherapy courses
    2. Engagement in professional supervision for psychotherapy practice/clinical/group work and peer supervision (This component should comprise 20% of CPD in any one year
    3. Attendance at psychotherapy conferences / symposiums / lectures / workshops / seminars / reading groups or other shared-learning environments that address psychotherapy theory and practice (This component should comprise 30% of CPD in any one year)
    4. Engagement in professional activities in psychotherapy (boards, committees, working parties, etc.) (No more than 10 hours each year can be claimed)
    5. Participation in extra psychotherapy training as a supervisor / researcher / teacher
    6. Involvement in the publication of professional papers and books on psychotherapy (No more than 10 hours each year can be claimed)
    7. Engagement in self-reflective practices (meditation, mindfulness, retreats, etc.) or personal therapy
    8. Engagement in CPD or professional educational activities in closely related fields: psychiatry, psychology, sociology, anthropology, mental health studies, nursing, specialised practices, etc.
    9. The minimum of 250 hours shall consist of no more than 75 hours from any one category. It is felt that this serves the developing profession.
  20. Preventative Psychotherapy – as a preventative measure. A lot of ‘lip service’ (insincerity) has been paid to psychotherapy as a preventative measure. For sure, we are helping people to live their lives a little better; but – when we are struggling with a huge case-load in the Health Service, we want our patients to get better and go away as quickly as possible so that we can take on the next patient, otherwise our waiting lists build up and then our manager will be breathing down our neck; – or we are being paid quite well, week after week, in private practice, and (maybe, just maybe) we are not working quite as hard as we could to make sure that the client ends their therapy as quickly as possible, and in a self-empowering way, because this is an interesting avenue to explore … etc., etc. Psychotherapy – in this context – could be seen lot of our actual practice could deny this principle. If we were really to be proactive here, we would be going into primary schools and secondary schools and re-educating 30 children at a time. Some of their future problems might be prevented this way. We could write ‘proactive’ self-help books[6] and make these readily available. As a profession, we could do much more than we are currently doing.


[1] As discussed in: Tantam, D. & van Deurzen, E. (2005). European Guidelines to Professional and Ethical Issues. Cpt. 3 in Handbook of Professional and Ethical Practice for Psychologists, Counsellors and Psychotherapists. Edited by Rachel Tribe, and Jean Morrissey: pp. 19-33 .
[2] Accessible 10/10/10:
[3] Accessible 10/10/10:
[4] CEPLIS: Council for the European Liberal Professions.
[5] Fuller details are given in the EAP’s European Certificate of Psychotherapy document.
[6] Young, C. (2010). Help Yourself Towards Mental Health. London: Karnac Books.

Working Group on Professional Competencies: