National Board of Italian Psychologists Replies to the questionnaire on psychologists/psychotherapists

This Document is a courtesy of the Commission of the European Communities, DGXV.
Its reference number is XV/E/58452/95 – Orig.: EN

A. Structure of the Profession

Question n°1.
The profession of Psychologist exists in Italy; that of Psychotherapist is an activity within the professions of Psychologist and Doctor in Medicine.

Question n°2.
The profession of Psychologist, and that of Psychotherapist within the professions of Psychologist and Doctor in Medicine, are clearly regulated.

Question n°3.
The profession is regulated by State Law No. 56 dated 18 February 1989, which provides for:

  • definition of the profession of Psychologist;
  • the requirements for practicing Psychologists;
  • the requirements for practicing Psychotherapists;
  • the creation of a register and board of Psychologists;
  • transitional regulations for initial application of the law.

Question n°4.
The profession of Psychologist comprises use of cognitive and operative instruments for the prevention, diagnosis, activities relating to psychological rehabilitation and support of individuals, groups, social bodies and communities, including experimental, research and teaching activities within these areas.
Practice of Psychotherapy is subject to special professional training, to be gained, after obtaining a degree in Psychology or in Medicine or Surgery, through specialization courses lasting at least four years, providing adequate training in the theory and practice of Psychotherapy.

Question n°5.
The numerous laws currently in force on this subject, which are still undergoing modifications, give a number of distinctions between the professions of Psychologist, Psychotherapy Psychologist, Doctor of Psychotherapy, Doctor of Psychology, especially from a public point of view. The reference criteria is that Psychologists and Psychotherapists who are not also Doctors of Medicine are prohibited from any form of practice that is within the exclusive field of the medical profession.

Question n°6.
Psychologists are listed in a register, which forms the Board of Psychologists.

Question n°7.
The Board of Psychologists, which is organized into Regional Committees whose Presidents form a National Committee, is the authority to which members of the profession refer. The Ministry of Justice oversees the National Board of Psychologists.

B. Structure of Education and Training

Question n°1.
To practice the profession of Psychologist it is necessary to be registered in the Register of Psychologists, and therefore to have gained a degree in Psychology, to have completed a one-year apprenticeship according to the terms set down by law, and to have passed the State Examination.
To practice the profession of Psychotherapist it is necessary to have gained a degree in Psychology or in Medicine, and to have completed specialization courses lasting at least four years, which foresee adequate training in the theory and practice of Psychotherapy, run by university schools of specialization or recognized institutes. Transitional regulations deal with cases existing prior to entry in force of Law No. 56/89.

Question n°2.
The Degree in Psychology is obtained from State-run Universities (Cagliari, Cesena -Univ.Bologna, Firenze, Milano Cattolica, Padova Facolta’ di Psicologia, Palermo, Roma “La Sapienza” Facolta’ di Psicologia, S.M. Capua Vetere “Seconda Univ. Napoli”, Torino, Trieste, Urbino) or Universities whose final qualification is considered equivalent, and involves passing an entrance examination, passing twenty-five examinations, distributed over a five-year period of which two years form a basic foundation course and three years form the specialization period, passing an English language examination, and disputation of a final thesis.