10 Professional Competencies - Domain 4




The Different Domains: Domain 4

Domain 4: ‘Contracting’ (Developing Goals, Plans & Strategies)

These domains of activity have to be considered within a framework that constitutes the professional work of a European psychotherapist. [1]
These ‘domains’ operate within each of the three main categories of Competencies (Core, Specific & Specialist),
All these domains indicate areas in which a European psychotherapist is competent:

  1. Working Professionally, Autonomously & Accountably:
  2. The Psychotherapeutic Relationship:
  3. Exploration, (Assessment, Diagnosis & Conceptualization):
  4. Domain 4: Contracting’ (Developing Goals, Plans & Strategies):[3] This means psychotherapists are able to demonstrate that: they are aware of how some conceptualizations are influenced by different modalities; and can develop an appropriate therapeutic ‘contract’ with a client or patient. Psychotherapists are able to demonstrate that they can formulate and develop an appropriate ‘treatment’ plan, or a ‘process’ strategy, or course or outline of development of psychotherapy, a number of planned psychotherapy sessions, and that this would be modified in discussion with the patient/client, and, necessarily, be subject to the agreement of the patient/client. A significant aspect of this 'contract' will draw on psychotherapeutic theory, research and practice. This co-creative plan or strategy will define goals, give clear indications as to the length or duration, frequency and cost of the sessions, cancellation policies, confidentiality, risk management and reporting needs, as well as taking into account the patient/client’s cultural, social and economic circumstances, areas or directions of sessional work, and any potential or desired outcomes, and, where appropriate, this would form the basis of a therapeutic ‘contract’ between the psychotherapist and patient/client. The various goals of such a contractual agreement could be: a reduction of distressing symptoms; managing stress, anxiety &/or depression; improving self-esteem; managing conflicts or anger; working with suicidalideation or self-harm; overcoming moderate & severe social difficulties, obsessive-compulsive behaviours, sexual difficulties, etc.;improving job satisfaction and looking at career development; exploring difficult relationship issues; attempting to resolve any residual traumas, and/or difficult aspects of family history; developing one's personal growth, etc. [2]
    • §4.1: ‘Contract’ with a Patient/Client
      • Formulate the Main Issues:
      • Identify appropriate and achievable goals, plans & strategies
      • Discuss the patient/client’s motivation
      • Decide upon the amount or extent of the psychotherapy
      • Make a ‘contract’
      • Moderate the contract
      • Give opportunities for referral on
    • §4.2: Plan the psychotherapy
      • Make use of evidence of effective practice
      • Draw on psychotherapeutic theory
      • Decide on the psychotherapeutic approach or strategy
      • Moderate the plan or strategy
      To view the detailed Core Competencies within this Domain, please click here.

  5. Various Techniques & Interventions:
  6. Management of Change, Crisis and Trauma Work:
  7. Completion & Evaluation:
  8. Collaboration with Other Professionals:
  9. Use of Supervision, (Peer) Intervision and Critical Evaluation:
  10. Ethics, Standards & Sensitivities:
  11. Management & Administration:
  12. Research:
  13. Prevention & Education:

To look at the description of any of the other domains, please click on the domain name.
To see the descriptions of all the domains together, click here.

Working Group on Professional Competencies: committee@psychotherapy-competency.eu