Optimal Standards for Professional Training in Psychology
EFPA is an organisation of national associations of psychology, the great majority of which represent both the scientific and the professional community.
At its General Assembly held in Luxembourg in September 14-16 1990, EFPPA (now EFPA) fully recognised that the content and form of training in professional psychology in each country will inevitably reflect its own legal, educational and professional traditions.
However, to encourage international cooperation among professional psychologists and to assist member associations in their efforts to develop professional training and practice in their countries, EFPPA (now EFPA) is publishing the following statement which describes the optimal standards for training required for autonomous professional practice.
Member associations which subscribe to these optimal standards are encouraged to work towards their achievement.
1. Preparation for autonomous practice of psychology comprises at least two components: a core program and an advanced professional training in psychology. The core programme is concerned with the knowledge and skills relating to psychology as a scientific discipline and is common to all branches and specialisms within psychology. In the advanced component the student will acquire the knowledge and skills which are necessary for autonomous practice in a chosen field of professional psychology. At all levels, one should aim at an optimal integration of the core program and the professional training.
2. Both components should be provided within a university or equivalent institution of higher education. In some countries with an established tradition of doing so, professional training may be provided by an affiliated professional school or training program.
3. Together the two components should last, at least six years, with the distribution between the core program and advanced training determined by each country, according to national circumstances. However, at least half the time should be devoted to the core program.
4. All training should be accredited in ways acceptable to the relevant national association.
5. Entry to independent or autonomous professional practice should be restricted to those who have completed both components.
6. The core program in psychology should provide a broad introduction to psychology. It should include the traditional subdisciplines in psychology, ranging from the biologically oriented approaches to those that are cognitively and socially oriented and including developmental, methodological, philosophical and ethical issues.
7. Professional training should cover the theoretical knowledge, skills, competencies and research abilities required in the applied fields of psychology as set out below:
- A variety of different theoretical models should be taught because no single model is able to cope satisfactorily with the range of problems that confront the professional psychologist.
- Theoretical models must be considered critically so that students are fully aware of their limitations as well as their advantages.
- Theoretical teaching needs to be integrated with practice.
Skills and Competencies
- Substantial practical training is essential
- Practical training should include experience in a variety of settings, methods and approaches. It should include work with individuals, groups and organisations as well as practice in assessment, program development and evaluation.
- Ethical considerations should be taken into account in training.
- Practical training needs to cover communication skills as well as the transmission of psychological skills to others through teaching, supervision and consultation.
- Like other aspects of training, practical skills need to be tested and examined.
- Because of the importance of evaluating practice as well as the need to develop new models, techniques and intervention programs, an appreciation of the methods of applied research is essential.
- Students should have the experience of conducting an original and independent research project as part of their training (thesis).
8. National associations have an obligation to ensure that the education and training provided is consistent with their codes of practice and ethical standards.
9. It is recommended that national associations should encourage and promote, keep a record of, and if possible accredit, courses for the training of professional psychologists. This document was produced by a Task Force on training ard education in psychology with representatives from among the member associations of EFPPA (now EFPA).
Psychological associations in the following countries were Member Associations of EFPPA (now EFPA) - sit. July 1990
AUSTRIA, BELGIUM, DENMARK, FINLAND, FRANCE, GERMANY, GREECE, HUNGARY, ICELAND, ITALY, LIECHTENSTEIN, LUXEMBOURG, NORWAY, POLAND, PORTUGAL, SPAIN, SWEDEN, SWITZERLAND, THE NETHERLANDS, UNITED KINGDOM.
Dated July 1990