EFPA statement on psychologists practicing psychotherapy

- As approved by EFPA GA Amsterdam 2017

“Psychotherapy is the informed and intentional application of clinical methods and interpersonal stances derived from established psychological principles for the purpose of assisting people to modify their behaviors, cognitions, emotions, and/or other personal characteristics in directions that the participants deem desirable” (Norcross, 1990, p. 218-220)


  • Psychotherapy is an area of applied psychology that is practised by the profession of psychologists.
  • Psychotherapy is a practice that psychologists acquire through different education programmes.
  • Psychologists practising psychotherapy have training that includes supervision and have proven competences in scientifically validated theories on human emotions, cognitions and behaviour and on processes of development, and are trained in the scientific application of the methods of change based upon these theories.

As a healing practice and professional service, psychologists practising psychotherapy are effective and highly cost- effective. In controlled trials and in clinical practice, psychotherapy results in benefits that markedly exceed those experienced by individuals who need mental health services but do not receive psychotherapy. Consequently, psychologists practising psychotherapy should be included in the health and social care system.
EFPA will continue its efforts to educate the public about the effectiveness of psychotherapy; support advocacy to enhance formal recognition of psychologists practising psychotherapy in the health and social care system; and help ensure that policies will increase access to psychologists practising psychotherapy in the health and social care system, with particular attention to addressing the needs of underserved populations.

EFPA will encourage integration of research and practice; and support advocacy for funding, and encourage continued and further research on the effectiveness and efficacy of psychotherapy.

The GA decided on the following actions for the Standing Committee on psychology and health:

  • To develop a strategy and work plan on how to handle matters of concern when it comes to psychotherapy
  • Produce a report of its advancement to GA 
  • Organize the work on psychotherapy in a sub-group with members designated by national associations, and convener appointed by the EC. 


 Amsterdam, July 2017
 approved by the delegates of the 37 EFPA member associations.