Comments from Participants in the Project
Many of our Participants have commented back to us in e-mails, either as part of their initial Registration, but more often as they complete the PAS forms. We have decided to share nearly all of these comments we have received with you. This is a selection of both positive and negative comments: minor corrections to English and syntax have been made only. These are all general comments, rather than comments relating to any of the specific Core Competencies.
- "Thank you very much for this great work you do. It is fabulous work and I appreciate this very much. I made my PhD on psychotherapeutic relationship. The title was “Emotional relationship and its influence to interaction between psychotherapist and the patient”. Basically it is about concept of emotional safety atmosphere in psychotherapeutic process. The research shows that if the therapist is able to establish emotionally safe atmosphere it positively effects the patient. No doubts. So, this emotional safety atmosphere is created when psychotherapist displays 9 capacities or competencies: (i) The capacity to understand someone emotions (empathic understanding); (ii) The capacity to listen others (empathic listening); (iii) The capacity to stay in contact with own emotions (congruence); (iv) The capacity to transfer emotions constructively (verbalization); (v) The capacity to focus on the future salvation of the problem, to see a chance (hope); (vi) The capacity to see someone resources (faith); (vii) The capacity to set freedom to respond (trust); (viii) The capacity to give someone time (time); and (ix) The capacity to stay patient (patience). So, I think we can add some of them to ability establish and maintain psychotherapeutic relationship here." Dr Maxim Gonsharaov (Russia)
- "Please find enclosed the first 3 domains, they do take a long time, and I will do the rest over the next few weeks. Many thanks for your really good work and best wishes."
"On a whole I would like to say that you have done an incredibly thorough and demanding work, I did not see any avenues to really improve it. I have no doubt it will contribute to better professional standards of training & education and to better work that we do with our clients." Romana Kebe (Slovenia)
- "That's it for today. Not easy!" Roswitha Carl (Germany)
- "I have looked at the forms, there seem to be 13, is that right. Their format is complex though, have you considered placing them online, such as on Surveymonkey, it makes them much more user friendly." Dr Werner Kierski (UK)
- "I appreciate how important this project is and how essential it is that EAP members contribute."
"I found completing the forms an interesting process – what has really stood out for me is that there could be a danger of very professional, experienced and competent practitioners not being able able to meet every criteria of all 13 Core Competences. I am concerned that those practitioners who perhaps have chosen to solely work in private practice, could be at a disadvantage and that a practitioners work setting should be taken into account and some allowances made when applying for the European Certificate of Psychotherapy.
I also wondered if, as part of this process, the EAP CPD requirements will be reviewed? (For the EAP's CPD requirements, see EAP website here) Elements a, b and c are broad and give practitioners a number of ways of fulfilling them. Whilst elements d and e, I feel, are narrow and restrictive and therefore may be difficult for some practitioners to fulfill. For example, element e - ‘participation in extra psychotherapy training as a supervisor/researcher/teacher’ - many practitioners without ‘participating in extra psychotherapy ............’ may be involved in research or training, yet it sounds like they are not be able to count these hours. Surely, with having a competence relating purely to research, this element could be expanded to take account of this. Again, there are many practitioners who take an active role in professional activities, but who wouldn’t be able to count these hours because they don’t meet the narrow criteria outlined for element d, for example, how many practitioners are formally elected to a Board, or a Committee?" Simone Cross (France)
- "It has taken time to complete them, sometimes it is difficult to choose, anyway we have tried to do our best." Catherine Bodar-de Tonnac (France)
- "I have done it ... so I hope all files are well; there are much things to discuss in more detail, but overall it seems to be a very basic process for all of us, though (we now have to) integrate all this in our praxis ..." Bernhard Schlage (Germany)
- "And it was a bit boring yes, but that didn't put me off, rarely are these things exciting: Also, I wasn't sure if I was doing it correctly - was I? I did find the instructions a LITTLE confusing, but if I filled it correctly then they obviously weren't too unclear. I will do another few soon." Sally O'Reilly (Ireland)
- "Thank you for all the work you have put into this document. However I had a quick look before rushing out this morning.
I am sorry to say I stopped at the very first section of Domain 1. While I agree in principle with at all that is written here I find the English inadequate for such an important document. Have I jumped the gun? Is this document still to be proof read? While I have in the past done my share of proof reading documents I do not feel competant to undertake the task for this size of document.
Sorry I have not got back to it. I found it somewhat tedious to complete with a sense I needed at least a free hour to do the second domain. Had it taken me 10 minutes and been utterly boring I would probably have persisted, but the thought of at least 13 precious hours was off putting. However I have not binned it so am glad you have taken the initative to ask these questions." Celia Scanlan (Scotland)
- "I have registered for participating in the Competencies project. However, I am finding the draft Competencies over detailed and over inclusive. Some of the detail would be in/and or covered by Codes of Ethics and Practice. It would be implicit that a professional psychotherapist presented sober for work for instance. It reads as somewhat insulting, but I'm sure this is not intended.
I was expecting an overarching document for psychotherapies across Europe to be sufficiently broad-brush for all to feel included. It would also have to differentiate between close professions e.g. psychology, psychiatry etc.
It then occurred to me that this could be a major difference in style between the UK approach to these things and continental Europe." Gill Westland (UK)
- "I attach my feedback which I send on behalf of the UKCP College of Hypno-psychotherapists and the European Association of Hypno-psychotherapy. I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate you on an excellent piece of work! I have made some suggestions but almost everything is a '3' …" Fiona Biddle (UK)
- "Some time ago, before my career as psychotherapist, I was working in Human Resources - my job title was "competency manager". I spent in this position about 2 years. Yesterday I met some of old colleagues, who is still doing the same work. And during our talk, I had in mind your project. I'm just wondering, do you use any theoretical model of competency description? We, at that time, mostly used this approach http://www.amazon.com/Competence-Work-Models-Superior-Performance/dp/047154809X Maybe you know another profession, which is described in the way, you are doing description of psychotherapist? I'm asking this, because already existing material is HUGE. On the other hand, competency models for professions, used in HR, usually are no longer than 1-2 pages (A4) - to make them usable. Maybe your approach is different (with different goals - to differentiate profession) so it should be long, but right now I'm confused. I do not want to be too critical, and I'm supporting your job, but these are my thoughts and doubts which I'm sharing with you." Ansis Stabingis (Latvia)
- "Thanks! The process of filling in the forms took me maybe 1,5 hours or less - after I figured out what is it about and found out (d'uh!) - that I may evaluate the section in general and not every point. I can imagine how much time did it take your team (or whoever you engaged in the project) to develop these forms!
I also would like to comment that in my opinion, every one of the competencies are very important , where applicable or at least need to be aware of and considered - where not applicable (e.g. if the professional is not self-employed or planning on establishing a private practice, or does not work with a team). And every person who is a holder of a European Psychotherapy membership/Certificate/status should refer to them as standards of the profession." Dana Zlenko (Canada & Ukraine)
- "I don't actually really enjoy the process, it is a bit tedious to me, but I feel that I want to take my responsibilities for psychotherapy in Europe ... This is why I contribute ..." Martine Casterman (Belgium)
- "In Holland, the psychotherapist and the 'Gz-psycholoog' are both state-registered on the same level. After university, the psychologist can choose to study as a psychotherapist (which takes 3680 hours) or as a Gz-psychologist (which takes a study of 3600 hours): the difference is that the GZ-psycholoog gets more training in diagnostics and the psychotherapist gets more training in treatment. The psychotherapist can do a short (estra) study to be a Gz-psychologist, and vise versa. But most psychologists choose to be a state-registered GZ-psychologist and specialize themselves in behavior therapy, like I did." Lucienne Rog (Netherlands).
- "I tried to do the online survey in order to support the objectives of the EAP. I must admit, I am lost! What I found are 10-20 documents to download and no clarity, if this should be the survey? Well, anyway, in this format, I am unable to participate, I have to admit. I would recommend to make the whole project much easier to ECP holders and others. It might be worth applying an up-to-date-online survey ... if not the objective might fail due to un-usability of the tool." Iris Brauninger (Spain)
- "In the files attached I am sending you back the filled in PAS froms. I hope I understood the instructions correctly, so that they will be useful to you. Thank you for the work you are doing. And for the democratic way that you handle this process.
I have one suggestion: That you change the term 'competencies' into 'competence'. The difference for me is that the term 'competency' denotes a performance, while 'competence' denotes capacity. While competency has a behavioursitic conotation and 'competencies' mean atomization of something that is basically a whole, competency is more wholistic and refers to a person's characteristic. The way I would form this is: psychotherapist competence shows in the domains that you have articulated, and what you then subdivided into subsections could be named 'training outcomes' of a psychotherapeutic training that trains somebody to become a competent psychotherapist.
These are not my ideas, but were developed by my colleague Rudi Kotnik, Ph.D, in his article 'Competence in psychotherapy: From the Conceptual Ground to its Realization'." Tomaz Flajs (Slovenia)
- "Finally, I have managed to go through all the questionnaires and I am sending them in the attachment. I would very much like to appreciate the enormous effort invested by the working group in this project. All the competencies are very well elaborated. I have added some suggestions to reorganize the list slightly. Nevertheless, I wish you and your colleagues successful continuation of the project." Tomas Rihace (Czech Republic)
- "I found the time outlined to do the fillling in of the forms is way above the estimated time of three hours - I would say it took me at least double that time. I think the length of the project is probably a big contributor to the low return of forms. It requires some real dedication to fill them out and to think about the content and what is being asked.
I did find myself thinking a lot about the question ' A European Psychotherapist is competent to....' as I went through the process. I found some of the competencies very interesting and I was also a bit aghast at others. What was omitted for me overall though - was a core idea as to what I feel a competent psychotherapist needs - which is to be able to self-reflect. I think that is essential to our work. Without this self-reflective process within ourselves, I can't figure how a good psychotherapeutic relationship can develop. Or indeed how a psychotherapist can resource themselves adequately to do the work. I spent some years involved in the training of psychotherapists here in Ireland and so the question what a competent psychotherapist can do was one which I engaged with often. Self-reflection is from my experience important to include.
While I do understand this project is trying to include the 5 strands or schools of psychotherapy which means of course that the language is not necessarily the language I would use as an Integrative Psychotherapist. So there were competencies which seem irrelevant to the work I do, however, I respect they are important for others. It is a tall order to be able to find competencies which can be agreeable to all who work as psychotherapists within the European Association.
So there is further work to do after the compilation of these forms is complete. The work involved is a large piece of work. It will be interesting to see the final agreed competencies and then to see how members interact and respond to them.
I agreed to doing this survey as I thought to myself that I did not want to see competencies already agreed which I may strongly disagree with - therefore as with all democratic structures the only way to avoid that happening is to have my input at this early stage. Thank you for offering me the chance to input my scores..." B.M. (Ireland)
- "First of all, we want to make a great compliment for the committee, it is a gigantic work that has been done and you can be proud that you professionalize the EAP with this peace of work! The competence-profile looks complete. (Of course we have some proposals and of course we want to add our contribution.) As an EAPTI, we are a training institute. We want to train our students to become competent therapists. That is why the competency-profile is a good start.
As the Committee wants to make this profile useful for trainings institutes, then, in our opinion as educational experts, there is one more step to make. In order to assess if the student has a good level of competency, we need to measure the quality of a shown competency in indicators of behaviour (‘to be able to’ at attitude, knowledge and skills level)). That is why training organisations need a more operational model of the profile of an ECP- psychotherapist. The list of competencies as formulated in the domains lacks this operational description in indicators of attitude, knowledge and skills. It would be a good idea to make the operational model of the competencies after the general profile is established. The other choice is to upgrade the current profile directly into a more operational profile." Jan Rademaker & Hans van der Esch (Netherlands)
- "The professional competencies project is comprehensive but important and you are doing a good job in helping us to keep track with progress and requirements. I hope you will manage to get all the feedback you need, to be able to go to the next phase." Ivana Vidakovic (Serbia)
- "Representatives of the School of Psychodrama gathered, and form a research team in order to research the professional psychotherapy core competencies. By doing so, they benefit from this research already much. There was a growing awareness of the rich dimensions of the profession of a psychotherapist. We are looking forward to do this work once more for our psychodrama modality. So thank you very much for your work." Renée Oudijk (Netherlands)
- "I can see how much work you all put into creating such a detailed Questionaire. Starting several times, opening the files, being overwhelmed from the mass of Questions and closing the files again. Today, with a lot of good will and knowing that Sunday is the last chance for sending back everything, I sat with a college helping in translation. It took nearly four hours answering the first two domains. I am totally frustrated by Questions which repeat, or are very similar. Knowing, that it will take me another three days. Asking myself the value of all that action. I am sorry, but I will not continue answering the Questionaires. I am also sure you don't get too many Questionaires back as people might be similarly frustrated and not daring to share. With best regards" GS (Germany)
- "I have spread this [task] over a few days, which allows for a better focus in the exhaustive list of questions :-) In total, I estimate that I spent around 5 hours [on the PAS forms]. Near the end, the subjects are such that they represent more coherently one's opinion, therefore the answers to the sub-questions are less diverse. The first parts require more diverse answers. I hope this contributes to a European definition of a competenent psychotherapist." Walter Engelen (Belgium)
- "I have now completed the survey forms for the Psychotherapy Competencies as best I can given both the time available to me and the forms themselves. At times I found some overlap between the questions and other questions seemed to contain a number of competencies that, in my opinion, would have required separate consideration. I hope what I have done will be helpful to you." Jim O'Donoghue (Ireland)
- "I wish I had had your reactivity and started to do my responses earlier: I’m sure they would have been more thorough. I think I would have been happier with a paper support that I could have filled out, like crosswords or Sudoku, as I had a few moments here and there. Thanks for taking on this ENORMOUS task." Joanne Wilson Graham (France)
- "About theories, methods, trainings, objectives … sometimes I don´t hear about this anymore … surely, one should have a more or less consistent procedure, that is in accordance with theories, and yet that is flexible enough to fit in with unexpected incidents. But how can I follow the objectives of theoretical / methodological perspectives when the experts in these disagree so much amongst each other, and sometimes "methods" fight against each other in a way that damages our common ground? Not least, psychiatric guidelines and practice, for instance, many a time contradict the psychotherapeutic ones (at least in the region thatI live in). Of course, I too follow (more or less) some methods and guidelines that I appreciate. But who will assess, or even judge in public, what is in accordance with therapeutic knowledge, if there does not exist any accord? Besides, such classes of thinking sometimes do not fit to the (or rather my) humanistic depth-psychological orientation of therapy – and not in a sphere where such an amount of individuality, personality, and such a sensitive relationship between different individuals happens. My opinion is that a good psychotherapist works with individual people and their special needs, not with methods or diagnoses!!" Dr Michal Hofreiter (Austria)
- "I commend you on your great efforts to raise the standard of excellence in European psychotherapy, and truly enjoyed working this project. Best wishes for continued success!" Jennifer Tantia (USA)
We have only considered comments from Participants who have registered and who have engaged in this process (to some degree or other). If any Participant wishes their comment to be anonymised, we will be happy to oblige. The full list of Participants is available: left-hand side bar, or here.