The European Certificate of Psychotherapy

Approved by the Governing Board of the European Association for Psychotherapy and adopted at the General Assembly of the EAP

Rome, 29th June 1997


The European Association for Psychotherapy - EAP has adopted the ECP at its General Assembly in Rome, 29th June 1997. The ECP became an integrative part of the Association and its different bodies. The next steps are the following:

1. The 162 organisational members are going to implement the ECP in their training structure. This procedure should be finished until 1st of March 1998. A feedback about the final implementation to the office is required. The implementation of the ECP in the training structures of the diverse training institutes is necessary to guarantee to the public and to other training centers the quality control. It also helps the training institutes to be in the front of well established institutes in the European competition. Secondly it supports the training institutes in the following procedure of being recognized as certified training institutes to achieve the right to play a significant role in the awarding process of psychotherapists to get the ECP. This following procedure will start after the 1st of March 1998, when the diverse training institutes have implemented the ECP and the other co-regulations like validation of psychotherapy-schools have achieved a certain point of practicability.

2. The National Umbrella Organizations - NUO of the EAP have already started to inform their member-associations about the ECP and its implementation advantages. The NUO´s also start to inform their national institutions, which are related to psychotherapy like health ministries, social insurances, ministries of education and science etc. about the ECP. The NUO´s will point out, that the national authorities shall correspond with them about training standards related to the ECP in the future. Feedback is also welcome to the office until 1st of March 1998.

3. The board members of EAP will inform their members of the European Parlament (MEPs) within the European Union about the ECP. The governing board will negotiate with the Commission in Brussels about the meaning of the ECP and possibilities to implement it in the regulations of professions in Europe. A first summary about this activities will be given at the next board meeting, 14th of February 1998 in Vienna.

Please get in contact with the office in Vienna, Rosenbursenstraße 8/3/8, A-1010 Vienna, Tel.: 0043 1 513 17 29, Fax: 0043 1 513 17 29, E.Mail: eap.headoffice@magnet.web if you have any questions, considerations, news and political contacts concerning the ECP.

Yours sincerely


Alfred Pritz

Chief Executive of the EAP

The European Certificate of Psychotherapy

Criteria and procedure for its award

Approved by the Governing Board of the European Association of Psychotherapy and adopted by the Delegates of the Annual Meeting in Rome in June 1997.

Adopted at the Annual Meeting of the European Association of Psychotherapy in Rome 29th, June 1997.


In 1991, the European Association for Psychotherapy was founded in Vienna, Austria. Psychotherapists from Germany, Switzerland, Hungary and Austria were the founding members and in the meanwhile, the association has been enriched by colleagues from Belgium, Britain, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Greece, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Lithuania, Netherlands, Poland, Russia, Sweden, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain and Ukraine. The European Association for Psychotherapy brings together 160 organisations (13 national umbrella organisations) from 26 European countries, and by that more than 50.000 psychotherapists. Membership is also open to individual psychotherapists.

The EAP is concerned to protect the interst of this profession and the public it serves, by ensuring that the profession functions at an appropriate level of training and practice. One of its immediate aims is to establish a European Certificate of Psychotherapy which will ensure psychotherapists are trained to EAP standards and which will guarantee mobility of professionals across the European Union.


1. Strasbourg Declaration on Psychotherapy 1990

The Strasbourg Declaration on psychotherapy is the bedrock of this organisation´s commitment to establishing a compatible and independent profession of psychotherapy across Europe*;

1.1 Psychotherapy is an independent scientific discipline, the practice of which amounts to an independent and free profession.

1.2 Training in psychotherapy takes place at an advanced, qualified and scientific level.

1.3 The multiplicity of the methods of psychotherapy is aasured and guaranteed.

1.4 In a process of psychotherapy, training is carried out in full and includes theory, self-experience and practice under supervision. Adequate knowledge is gained of further processes of psychotherapy.

1.5 Access to training is through various preliminary qualifications, in particular in human and social sciences.

Strasbourg, October 21st, 1990

In accordance with the aims of the World Health Organisation (WHO), the non-discrimination accord valid within the framework of the European Union (EU) and intended for the European Economic Area (EEA), and the principle of freedom of movement of persons and services.

2. Conditions for the award of the European Certificate of Psychotherapy (ECP)

2.1 The European Certificate of Psychotherapy (ECP) will be awarded to practitioners whose training has been completed.

2.2 It will be awarded by the European Association for Psychotherapy according to criteria determined by the EAP, on the recommendation of National Awarding Organizations which have been recognized by the EAP and with the approval of the European Wide Organization representing the modality of psychotherapy concerned.

2.3 Normally the conditions for the award of the ECP will be determined by the European Training Standards Committee of the Governing Board of EAP, and mention of EAP in this document should be taken to mean the European Training Standards Committee, on behalf of the EAP, unless otherwise specified.

2.4 Certificates will be awarded for a period of five years in the first instance.

2.5 There will be a fee for the award of the ECP, which will be split between the National Umbrella Organisation and the EAP, to cover administration costs.


3. Recognized bodies involved in the award of the ECP

3.1 National Awarding Organisations

3.1.1 Must be the National Umbrella Organisation, i.e. the single organisation within a country that is recognised by the EAP as demonstrably the largest organization representing the broadest range of different approaches to psychotherapy in that country; OR if there is no National Umbrella Organization, must be a member organization of EAP, based in the country concerned, and recognized by EAP as able to act as the National Awarding Organization.

3.1.2 Must be accredited by the EAP as having ethical guidelines and complaints procedures, training standards, methods of accrediting training, and of operating procedures for grandparenting.

3.2 European Wide Organization

3.2.1 Must be a member organization of EAP and recognized by the EAP as the single organization representing a modality of psychotherapy which is valid according to EAP criteria (see Section 4).

3.3. Training Organization

3.3.1 Must meet the criteria of EAP, of the relevant NAO, and, if it exists, of the EWO for that modality for traing to ECP level. Must meet ethical and administrative standards determined by NAOs.

3.4. The European Association for Psychotherapy

Unless otherwise specified, reference to the EAP should be taken to mean the Governing Board of EAP or any body of EAP authorized by the Governing Board, usually the European Training Standards Committee.

4. Psychotherapy modalities followed in the training leading to the award of the ECP

4.1 The method used must be well defined and have a clear theoretical basis in the human sciences.

4.2 The theory must be integrated with the practice, be applicable to a broad range of problems, and have been demonstrated to be effective.

4.3 The methods must have been scientifically recognised by the EAP and have been recognised in several European countries as valid by relevant professional organisations.


5. Length and content of psychotherapy training

5.1 The total duration of training will be not less than 3200 hours, spread over seven years, at least four years of which must be in a training specific to psychotherapy. The EAP will, in collaboration with NAOs and European Wide Organisations determine the proportion of the training elements that need to be completed to be awarded the Certificate.

5.2 The training has been accredited by a National Awarding Organisation, by the relevant European Organisation if it is a member of EAP, and by any other professional bodies that the ETSC recognised for the purpose.

5.3 Supervision and therapy are provided by practitioners whose training would meet criteria for the award of an ECP and such other candidates as the EAP may specify.

5.4 The training meets EAP criteria for basic professional training, and includes the following elements:

5.4.1 Personal Psychotherapeutic Experience or equivalent

This should be taken to include training analysis, self-experience and other methods involving elements of self-reflection, therapy, and personal experience. No single term is agreed by all psychotherapy methods. Any training shall include arrangements to ensure that the trainees can identify and appropriately manage their personal involvement in and contributions to the processes of the psychotherapies that they practice in accordance with their specific methods.

5.4.2 Theoretical Study

There will be a general part of university study or professional training and a part which is specific to psychotherapy. University or professional courses leading to a first University degree or its equivalent professional qualification in subjects relevant to Psychotherapy may be allowed as a part of the whole of the general part of psychotherapy but cannot count towards the four years of specific psychotherapy training. The specific element of training should include the following elements: Theories of human development throughout the life-cycle, including sexual development An understanding of other psychotherapeutic approaches A theory of change An understanding of social issues in relation to psychotherapy Theories of psychopathology Theories of assessment and intervention

5.4.3 Practical Training

This will include sufficient practice under continuous supervision appropriate to the psychotherapeutic method and will be at least two years in duration.

5.4.4 Placement in a Mental Health setting or equivalent professional experience

The placement must provide adequate experience of psycho-social crisis and of collaboration with other specialists in the mental health field.


6. Completion of training

6.1 By the end of the seven years of training the trainee will have to demonstrate personal, social and professional maturity and a commitment to working to the ethical standards of their National Awarding Organisation. The National Awarding Organisation will determine how this should be assessed by training organisations.

6.2 There will be an assessment of both theoretical and practical work.

6.3 The psychotherapist must be in a professional organisation recognised by the NAO and found to have satisfactory ethical standards and complaints procedures.

6.4 The psychotherapist must have completed basic professional training within one accredited organisation and advanced training within that organisation or within another accredited organisation training in the same method.


7. Appeals procedures

7.1 If a NAO refuses to offer for Certification trainees whose training has been by a method scientifically validated by EAP and who have otherwise completed all training requirements, the European accrediting organisation concerned with that method may request the EAP to investigate the matter. If the NAO then acted without adequate reason, the EAP may withdraw its status as an NAO.

7.2 If an EWO does not accredit the methods followed by a Training Organization which has been recognized by an NAO, the NAO may request the EAP to investigate the matter. If the EWO then acted without adequate reason, the EAP may withdraw its recognition as an EWO.

7.3 Training organizations not put forward for accreditation by an NAO can, in the absence of a relevant EWO, appeal to the ETSC who may put that organization forward to the Board of EAP for accreditation, if appropriate.



8. Procedures for the award of the ECP

8.1 The award of an ECP will proceed in steps as follows.

8.2 National Umbrella Organisations or, in the absence of a national umbrella organization, suitably constituted national organizations will apply for recognition to the European Training Standards Committee (ETSC) of EAP for recognition as an NAO.

8.3 The ETSC will recommend them to the EAP Board for accredidation, if appropriate.

8.4 National Awarding Organisations will submit to the ETSC the dossier on each training organisation wishing to train psychotherapists for the ECP. The dossier will contain evidence showing that the training organisation(s) concerned meet EAP criteria.

8.5 The ETSC will normally consult the EWO for that modality, and may also request expert independent scientific comment on the dossier.

8.6 The ETSC will recommend the training organisation to the National Awarding Organisation for accredidation, if appropriate.

8.7 Suitably qualified psychotherapists who wish to apply for the ECP will submit an application to their National Awarding Organisation and will include a transcript of studies endorsed by their training organisation, a fee, and a photograph.

8.8 If the NAO considers that the trainee should be awarded the ECP, the NAO will so recommend to the EAP. The EAP may:

8.8.1 authorize the award of the ECP by the NAO

8.8.2 reject the recommendation

8.8.3 request further information, such as the trainee´s training dossier

8.9 For a limited period of time, there will be separate arrangements for the award of the ECP to established practitioners (see Appendix 1).


9. Records of holders of the ECP, and removal of names from these records

9.1 The EAP Board will develop a procedure for recording the details of psychotherapists holding the ECP, which will satisfy National Awarding Organisations as to its accuracy and accessibility.

9.2 The EAP may publish this list, whether electronically or otherwise, and may make it available to enquirers.

9.3 NAOs must inform the EAP urgently of any psychotherapist whose registration they have suspended so that this list can be modified.




10. Procedure of Grandparenting

The introduction of any new professional qualification means that the status of current practitioners needs to be recognised. This is especially important when the qualification is one whose possession could become necessary for professional privileges to be granted, as may happen with the ECP.

It may be appropriate to insist that some practitioners demonstrate that they had training which meets the ECP criteria but this would be unreasonable in the case of practitioners who were already recognised as experts in their field but who have acquired some or all of their expertise through professional practice. This is the usual situation in new modalities, or in countries where psychotherapy is in a rapid phase of development, as is the case with many East European countries at the moment.

Practitioners who are recognised to have acquired expertise through practice and not training, are known as „grandparents", and the process of recognising expertise obtained through practice, as „grandparenting". Practitioners who are in training, or have recently completed it, will not normally be considered for grandparenting but may have their training recognised retrospectively.

10.1 Grandparenting must be based on the following principles, that:

10.1.1 the high standards of the European Certificate are maintained

10.1.2 NAOs continue to award the ECP

10.1.3 the EAP has, through the ETSC, the final authority over the award of the certificate

10.1.4 the role of the relevant EWO to monitor training standards within a particular modality is recognised

10.1.5 the different internal arrangements adopted by different NAOs must be taken into account

10.1.6 countries without NAOs must not be disadvantaged by the procedures for awarding the ECP.

10.2 Criteria for grandparenting

10.2.1 that the practitioner has expertise in a method of psychotherapy which is recognised by the EAP recognition of a method will be on the recommentation of a relevant EWO or the scientific validation sub-committee, or both that the practitioner is recommended by a national awarding body, having satisfied the EAP that proper national procedures for grandparenting have been developed, and with the approval of the European Wide Association representing the modality followed by that practitioner. that the practitioner´s theoretical knowledge and skillful practice of a therapeutic method have been considered by the NAO following procedures accepted by the EAP procedures to do so may include: a peer review process, such as interview by peers, or election by peers into a professional society that publications demonstrating relevant theoretical knowledge will be taken into account that the practitioners will have been in independent expert practice of the modality of psychotherapy for a period appropriate to justify grandparenting and which is to be determined by EAP.

10.2.2 that the practitioners´ levels of skill are equivalent to those of a practitioner who has been trained to ECP standards

10.2.3 that the practitioner adheres to a code of ethics which is compatible with that of EAP

10.2.4 is shown that it would be unreasonable to ask a practitioner to submit themselves for assessment, or to undertake further training.

10.3 Procedure

Once modalities have been recognised, a national awarding body accredited according to the criteria itemized in section 3.1, and their procedures for grandparenting approved, NAOs may submit the names of candidates for the award of ECP by grandparenting. Each NAO will have two year from the date on which the first name is submitted to complete the submission of all candidates for grandparenting from that country. Additional candidates for grandparenting will not normally be accepted by the EAP after that time. NAOs are not therefore expected to submit candidates for grandparenting until all their national procedures are in place.


Prepared on behalf of the European Training Standards Committee by the Authors

Emmy van Deurzen Digby Tantam

Professor of Psychotherapy Clinical Professor of Psychotherapy

Schiller International University University of Sheffield

London United Kingdom

External Relation Officer of the Chair, United Kingdom Council for

European Association for Psychotherapy Psychotherapy


Rome, 29th June 1997





EAP President 1996/97

Riccardo Zerbetto





Vice President 1996/97 Vice President 1996/97

Heiner Bartuska Michel Meignant