Presidential acts, decrees and ordinances – ACT No. 56 18/2/1989
The Chamber of Deputies and the Senate of the Republic have approved:
THE PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC promulgates the following Act:
Article 1. (Definition of the profession of psychologist)
1. The profession of psychologist comprehends the use of cognitive instruments and interventions in the areas of prevention, diagnosis, habilitation-rehabilitation and support within the psychological field in favour of individuals, groups, social organisms and the community. It also comprehends experimentation, research and didactic activities within the same field.
Article 2. (Qualifications required for the practise of psychology)
- 1. A qualifying State examination in psychology must be passed and the enrolment of the appropriate professional Register is necessary to practise psychology.
- 2. The State examination is regulated by a decree of the President of the Republic, to be issued within 6 months of the coming into force of the present Act.
- 3. Graduates in psychology may be admitted to the State examination if in possession of adequate proof of training, in compliance with the formalities determined by a decree of the Ministry of Education, to be issued not later than one year after the coming into force of the present Act.
Article 3. (The practise of psycho-therapy)
- 1. The practise of psycho-therapy is subordinate to a specific professional formation, to be acquired after graduating in psychology or in medicine and surgery through specialisation courses of at least 4 years, providing adequate formation and training in psycho-therapy, held according to the decree of the President of the Republic No. 162, 10/3/1982, in schools of university specialisation or in recognised institutes in compliance with the procedure specified in article 3 of the aforesaid presidential decree.
- 2. Any purely medical intervention is forbidden to psycho-therapists who do not hold a degree in medicine.
- 3. With the consent of the patient, the psycho-therapist and the doctor in medicine shall exchange information.
Article 4. (Institution of the register)
- 1. The Register of psychologists is hereby instituted.
- 2. The members enrolled on the Register are subject to the discipline determined in articles 622 of the penal code.
Article 5. (Institution of the association of psychologists)
1. The members enrolled on the Register constitute the Association of Psychologists. it is structured at a regional level and, for the independent provinces of Trento and Bolzano only, at a provincial level.
Article 6. (Institution of provincial branches of the regional council of the association)
- 1. Should the number of members enrolled on the Register exceed 1,000, another branch may be established within the same region upon the request of at least 200 members resident in adjacent provinces other than that in which the regional association is based.
- 2. The aforesaid establishment shall result from a decree issued by the Ministry of Justice, after consultation with the National Council of the Association.
- 3. The same provisions determined by this Act applying to the regional or provincial councils of the Association shall be applied to the branches established under paragraphs 1 and 2.
Article 7. (Conditions of enrolment)
1. To enrol on the Register the applicant:
- a) shall be an Italian citizen or citizen of a State member of the EEC or of a State with which a reciprocal treatment exists;
- b) shall have received no criminal sentences in the past for offences leading to disqualification from the profession;
- c) shall be qualified to practise psychology;
- d) shall be resident in Italy or, in the case of Italian citizens resident abroad, shall prove to be resident abroad while employed as a psychologist by national organisations or corporations operating outside Italian State territory.
Article 8. (Enrolment formalities)
- 1. To enrol on the Register, the applicant shall send an application to the regional or provincial council of the Association, enclosing the document defined in article 7, point c) , and the receipts for payment of the registration fee and government license fee determined by the provisions in force for the enrolment on professional registers.
- 2. Public employees shall also prove their right to exercise the profession privately.
- 3. Should this right be precluded, this shall be noted on the Register together with the relevant cause.
Article 9. (Enrolment)
- 1. The regional or provincial council of the Association, as in the foregoing article 8, shall examine the application within two months of receipt.
- 2. The Council shall make a motivated decision after considering a member’s report, and draw up the relevant minutes.
Article 10. (Seniority of enrolment on the register)
- 1. Seniority of enrolment shall be determined by the date of the relevant resolution.
- 2. Enrolment on the Register shall take place in chronological order with regard to the resolutions.
- 3. The Register shall carry an alphabetical index, bearing the number of order of enrolment.
- 4. The Register shall contain, for each member: surname, Christian name, place and date of birth and residence, and also the relevant indication for those suspended from practise.
Article 11. (Cancellation from the register)
- 1. The regional or provincial council of the Association shall, on its own initiative or at the request of the public prosecutor, declare the cancellation from the Register:
- a) when the member gives up membership;
- b)when private practise as a professional is incompatible with a situation;
- c) when one of the conditions specified in article 7, letters a), b) and d) ceases to exist, unless, when taking up residence abroad, the member obtains exoneration from that condition.
- 2. The aforesaid council shall declare the cancellation after having heard the party concerned, unless he cannot be contacted, or in the case foreseen by paragraph 1, letter a).
Article 12. (Regional or provincial councils of the association)
- 1. Should the number of members not exceed 200, the regional or provincial council of the Association shall be composed of 7 members, and of 15 members when the members exceed 200. The components shall be elected from amongst the members enrolled on the Register, in compliance with the following articles. The council shall remain in office for 3 years after the date of election. No member may be elected more than twice running.
- 2. The regional or provincial council of the Association has the following functions:
- a) it shall appoint within its structure, within 30 days of election, the President, the vice-president, the Secretary and the Treasurer;
- b) it shall entrust counsellors with assignments, as needs may be;
- c) it shall conduct the Association’s ordinary and special affairs, take care of its real estate and personal property, and annually compile the final balance sheet and budget;
- d) it shall ensure the respect of the rules and regulations relating to the profession;
- e) it shall concern itself with the Register, note enrolments and cancellations and effect a revision of the same at least once every 2 years;
- f) it shall transmit a copy of the Register and the yearly updating to the Minister of Justice and to the Public Prosecutor at the court at which the council of the Association is based;
- g) it shall designate, upon request, the representatives of the Association in regional or provincial organisations and commissions, where required;
- h) it shall safeguard the professional qualification of the psychologist and operate directly and indirectly to prevent any unauthorised practise of the profession;
- i) it shall adopt the disciplinary measures in conformity with article 27;
- l) it shall ensure the respect of the laws in force regarding income tax.
Article 13. (Powers of the president of the association’s regional or provincial council)
- 1. The President represents the Association and shall exercise the powers given to him by this Act or other rules, or by the Council.
- 2. He shall issue certificates and testimonials regarding members.
Article 14. (Meetings of the association’s regional or provincial councils)
1. The Council shall be summoned by the President at least once every 6 months or whenever necessary or when requested by at least 4 o f its members, or at least 1/3 of the members enrolled on the Register. The minutes are not secret and shall be drawn up by the Secretary, directed by the President, and signed by them both.
Article 15. (Notification of the decisions made by the association’s regional or provincial councils)
- 1. The decisions made by the Association’s regional or provincial councils regarding applications for membership of cancellation from the Register shall be communicated to the party concerned and to the competent Public Prosecutor within 20 days.
- 2. Should it be impossible to contact the party concerned, notification will be effected by displaying a notice of the measures adopted for 10 days in the Association’s Council office and on the Register for the town where the interested party last resided.
Article 16. (Dissolution of the association’s regional or provincial councils)
- 1. Should a regional or provincial council of the Association continue to violate its duties after being reprimanded, or should other serious reasons exist, said council may be dissolved. It may also be dissolved upon the written and motivated request of at least 1/3 of the members enrolled on the Register.
- 2. Should a council be dissolved, its powers shall be exercised by a special commission, which shall arrange the convention of an assembly for the election of a new council within 90 days of the dissolution of the council.
- 3. A decree of the Minister of Justice, to be issued within 30 days of the events foreseen in paragraph 1, provides for dissolution of the Association’s council and appointment of a commissioner.
- 4. The commissioner has the power to appoint, from among the members enrolled on the Register, a committee of not less than 2 and not more than 6 members, one of whom shall act as secretary, assisting him in the performance of his duties.
Article 17. (Appeals against the resolutions of the association’s regional or provincial council and regarding elections)
1. The council’s resolutions and the results of elections may be contested by an appeal to the competent court, made by the party concerned or by the Public Prosecutor at the court itself.
Article 18. (Time limit for appeals)
- 1. The appeals under article 17 shall be made within 30 days of the notification of the contested measures or of the announcement of the election results.
- 2. Appeals regarding elections shall not have a suspensive effect.
Article 19. (Decisions regarding appeals)
- 1. The competent court shall judge the appeals filed against resolutions passed by the Association’s council in the Court Chambers, after hearing the public prosecutor and the party concerned.
- 2. The party concerned may apply to the Court of Appeal against the sentence passed by the court, observing the same proceedings as those followed in court.
Article 20. (Election of the association’s regional or provincial council)
- 1. The election of the association’s regional or provincial councils shall be effected within 30 days precedent to the expiry of the council’s term of office and the date is fixed by the retiring President of the council, after consultation with the council.
- 2. The retiring council shall remain in office until the new council takes over.
- 3. The members enrolled on the Register shall exercise their right to vote in the polling station within the council’s structure or in a polling station situated elsewhere, chosen by the council.
- 4. Notice of summons shall be served to all members by registered mail or by hand with acknowledgement of receipt, at least 15 days prior to the date established for the first convocation.
- 5. A notice of summons, sent to the Association’s National Council, shall specify the place, date and time of the opening and closure of electoral procedures of the first and second convocations.
- 6. The second convocation shall take place not less than 5 days after the first one.
- 7. An elector may vote after his identity has been ascertained by exhibition of a document or his recognition by a member of the board of scrutineers.
- 8. The elector shall collect his ballot paper, complete it secretly and return it, closed, to the president of the board of scrutineers, who shall place it in the ballot box.
- 9. A scrutineer shall note the giving of each vote, signing his name beside that of the elector on the electoral register.
- 10. Postal votes shall be allowed. The elector shall ask the Secretary of the Association’s council for the specific ballot paper, which must be returned in a sealed envelope, bearing the elector’s signature, authenticated by the mayor or a notary public, and a statement declaring that the envelope contains a ballot paper, to the president of the board of scrutineers before the closure of the voting procedures: the president of the board of scrutineers, having checked and demonstrated its integrity, shall open the envelope, take out the ballot paper without opening it, and after having it signed by one of the scrutineers, shall place it in the ballot box.
- 11. Voting shall take place publicly for at least 8 hours a day on not more than 3 consecutive days. Voting shall be closed during the first convocation when at least 1/3 of the electors entitled to vote has voted.
- 12. Otherwise, having sealed the ballot papers in an envelope, the president shall adjourn the voting until the second convocation. In this case, the voting is valid if at least 1/6 of those entitled to vote has voted.
- 13. The polling station, supervised by the President of the Association’s council, shall be set up in an appropriate room, assuring secrecy of vote and visibility of the ballot box during the electoral proceedings.
Article 21. (Composition of the board of scrutineers)
- 1. Before starting the voting, the President of the Association’s regional or provincial council shall choose the president of the board of scrutineers, the vice-president, and two scrutineers from amongst the electors present.
- 2. The Secretary of the Association’s regional or provincial council shall act as secretary to the board of scrutineers; in the case of impediment, he shall be substituted by a counsellor chosen by the President of the aforesaid council.
- 3. During the voting, the presence of 3 members of the board of scrutineers shall suffice.
Article 22. (Voting)
- 1. The ballot papers of the first and second convocations shall have the same form, determined by the National Council and bearing the mark of the regional or provincial council of the Association of Psychologists. Immediately prior to the voting, the ballot papers, bearing the indication of the relevant convocation, shall be signed on the outside by one of the scrutineers with the number corresponding to those entitled to vote.
- 2. An elector may not vote for a number of candidates superior to half of those to be elected. Any excesses shall be rounded off.
- 3. Those receiving most votes shall be considered elected.
- 4. Elected members who for any reason cease to carry out their functions shall be substituted by candidates who, having received less votes, are immediately next on the list. Should half of the counsellors cease to carry out their functions, new elections shall be called for.
Article 23. (Communication of election results)
- 1. The president of the board of scrutineers shall communicate the names of all voted to the President of the Association’s regional or provincial council and shall publicise the list and the names of those elected by displaying the list in the Association’s council office.
- 2. The results of the election shall also be communicated to the Association’s National Council, the Minister of Justice and the Public Prosecutor at the court in which the regional or provincial council is seated.
Article 24. (Assembly of the Association’s regional or provincial councils – Offices)
- 1. Within 20 days of the elections, the President of the Association’s retiring regional or provincial council shall communicate the results to the elected members of the regional or provincial council and summons them to take office. During the meeting, presided over by the oldest counsellor, the President, Vice-president, Secretary and Treasurer shall be elected.
- 2. The result of these elections shall be communicated to the Association’s National Council and the Minister of Justice in compliance with article 25.
- 3. To validate the assembly of the Association’s council, the majority of its members must be present, In the case of the absence or impediment of the President or Vice-president, the oldest member shall take his place.
- 4. Resolutions shall be passed on an absolute majority and the President shall be the last to vote.
- 5. Should the vote result in a draw, with regard to disciplinary matters the vote most in favour of the member subject to disciplinary measures shall prevail, and in all other cases that of the President shall prevail.
Article 25. (Renewal of the elections of the Association’s regional or provincial council)
1. The court of Court of Appeal having jurisdiction where a claim is admitted regarding the election of the whole regional or provincial council of the Association, shall immediately inform the aforesaid council and the Ministry of Justice thereof, who shall nominate an extraordinary commissioner under article 16.
Article 26. (Disciplinary measures)
- 1. A registered member, guilty of abusive or inadequate behaviour while practising the profession or who behaves in a professionally undignified or unseemly fashion, may, depending on the seriousness of the fact, receive one of the following disciplinary measures, which shall be inflicted on him by the regional or provincial council of the Association:
- a) a warning;
- b) a censure;
- c) suspension from the practise of the profession for a period not exceeding one year;
- d) striking off.
- 2. Besides the cases of suspension from the practise of the profession foreseen by the penal code, the failure to pay the Association’s fees for a period of over two years shall also lead to suspension. In this case, the suspension shall not be subject to a time limit and shall be annulled by an order of the President of the Association’s council when the member provides proof that the amount due has been paid.
- 3. Striking off shall be duly declared when the member has received a prison sentence, “res judicata”, of not less than two years for a non-culpable crime.
- 4. Those struck off may, upon request, be readmitted, in the case of paragraph 3, when they have been rehabilitated according to the penal code.
- 5. The party concerned may appeal against the resolutions passed by the regional or provincial councils according to article 17.
Article 27. (Disciplinary proceedings)
- 1. A regional or provincial council of the Association shall begin disciplinary proceedings on its own initiative or at the request of the competent Public Prosecutor.
- 2. No disciplinary measure may be taken before informing the party concerned about the accusations moved against him, and inviting him to present himself, within a time limit that may not be less than 30 days, to be heard by the Association’s council. The party concerned may be legally assisted.
- 3. The party concerned and the competent Public Prosecutor shall be notified of resolutions within 20 days of said resolutions being passed.
- 4. Should it be impossible to contact the party concerned, notice of the resolutions passed under paragraphs 2 and 3 shall be deemed to have been duly served by displaying the measures decided on for 10 days in the Association’s council office and on the Register in the municipality in which the party concerned is last recorded as residing.
Article 28. (National council of the Association)
- 1. The National Council of the Association shall be composed of the Presidents of the regional councils, and of the provincial councils limited to the provinces of Trento and Bolzano, and of those as in article 6. It shall remain in office for three years.
- 2. It shall be summoned for the first time by the Minister of Justice.
- 3. It shall elect within its structure a President, a Vice-president, a Secretary and a Treasurer.
- 4. The President shall represent the Association and exercise the powers given to him by the present Act or other rules, or by the Council.
- 5. In the case of impediment, he shall be substituted by the Vice-president.
- 6. The National Council of the Association exercises the following powers:
- a) it shall issue the internal regulations, providing for the proper functioning of the Association;
- b) it shall conduct the ordinary and extraordinary affairs of the Association, take care of its real estate and personal property and annually compile the final balance and budget;
- c) it shall prepare and update its code of ethics, binding for all members, and shall present it to them for approval by referendum;
- d) it shall ensure the respect of the rules and regulations regarding the profession relative to matters of national importance;
- e) it shall designate, upon request, the representatives of the Association in regional or provincial organisations and commissions, where required;
- f) it shall express its opinion, at the request of public organisations or on its own initiative, also on the qualification of non-public institutes for professional formation;
- g) it shall propose a list of the minimum and maximum professional fees and allowances and the criteria for the reimbursement of costs, which shall be approved by a decree of the Minister of Justice in agreement with the Minister of Health;
- h) it shall determine the annual fees to be paid by members enrolled on the Register, the duty to be paid for the issue of certificates and for advice given concerning the payment of professional fees. Fees and duties shall be limited to the amount necessary to cover the ordinary administrative costs of the Association.
Article 29. (Supervision by the Minister of Health)
1. The Minister of Health shall carefully monitor the National Board of psychologists.
Article 30. (Equivalence of qualifications)
1. Those holding academic qualifications in psychology obtained in university structures, recognised by a decree of the Minister of Education on the advice of the National University Council as being of particular scientific importance at an international level, may be admitted to the State examination mentioned in articles 2 and 33 of the present Act, even though those holding the aforesaid qualifications may not have requested that they be considered equivalent to the degree in psychology obtained in Italian universities.
Article 31. (Institution of the register and establishment of the association’s regional and provincial councils)
- 1. In the first enforcement of the present Act, the presiding judge in the chief towns of the regions or autonomous provinces shall, within 30 days of the publication of said Act, appoint a commissioner who shall provide for the formation of the professional Register for those entitled to be enrolled in compliance with the following articles.
- 2. Within three months of the publication of the results of the State examination in special session for the qualifications described in article 33, the commissioner shall order the election of the Association’s regional or provincial councils, complying with the regulations provided for by this Act. It shall also appoint a president for the board of scrutineers, a vice-president, 2 scrutineers and a secretary, choosing them from amongst the functionaries of the public administration.
Article 32. (Enrolment on the register during the first enforcement of the Act)
1. Upon application, to be presented within 60 days of the appointment of the commissioner defined in article 31, enrolment on the Register shall be granted, notwithstanding article 7, letters a), b) and d), to:
- a) full, temporary and retired lecturers or professors who teach or have taught psychology in Italian universities or in structures of particular scientific importance also at an international level, to researchers and regular university assistants lecturing in psychology, and to graduates who hold or have held regular posts, for which a degree in psychology is currently required, in state institutions teaching psychology;
- b) those who hold or have held regular posts in state institutions teaching a subject related to psychology, for which a degree is required and having won a public competition or having been exempted from the same;
- c) graduates who for at least seven consecutive years have been employed in activities of collaboration or counselling in the field of psychology within public or private organisations or institutions;
- d) those who have worked in psychology for at least three years, gaining national or international recognition in this field.
Article 33. (State examination in special session)
1. During the first enforcement of the Act, the State examination shall be held in special session, which shall be open to:
- a) those who hold or have held a post in a public institution in the field of psychology, for which a degree was required;
- b) those who have held a degree in psychology for at least two years, or graduates holding a university diploma in psychology or one of its branches, obtained after a university specialisation course lasting at least two years or a training course lasting at least three years, or those who have held for at least two years qualifications in psychology obtained in university structures, recognised by a decree of the Minister of Education on the advice of the National University Council as being of particular scientific importance at an international level, even though those holding the aforesaid qualifications may not have requested that they be considered equivalent to the degree in psychology obtained in Italian universities, and who can give documentary evidence that they have carried on an activity related to the profession of psychologist for at least two years;
- c) graduates in subjects other than psychology who, after graduating, have been employed for at least two years in an activity in the field of psychology under contract recognised by the university, and to graduates who can give documentary evidence to the effect that they have carried on said activity continuously in organisations or institutions subject to control or vigilance by the public administration for at least two years after graduating;
- d) those who, after a public competition, have been declared qualified for a post in psychology within a public institution, for which a degree was required.
Article 34. (Admission to the State examination of those registered on a specialisation course)
1. Notwithstanding the provisions of article 2, point 3, those who, at the time of entry in force of the present Act, result as being registered on a specialisation course with a duration of at least three years in psychology or one of the branches thereof, and who can also provide documentary evidence of having carried on activities related to the profession of psychologist for at least one year, shall be admitted to the State examination indicated under point 2 of the above mentioned article, after obtaining their specialisation diploma.
Article 35. (Recognition of the practise of psychotherapy)
- 1. Notwithstanding the provisions of article 3, the practise of psychotherapy shall be permitted to either those enrolled on the Register of Psychologists or to doctors in medicine enrolled on the Register of Doctors and Odontologists who have held the relative degree for at least five years, and who declare on their own responsibility to have acquired a specific professional training in psychotherapy, giving in their curriculum documentary evidence of the places, dates and duration of their training and that of their continual practise of psychotherapy.
- 2. The Associations shall ascertain the validity of the aforesaid certificates.
- 3. The provisions of paragraphs 1 and 2 of this article shall be applied until the end of the fourth year upon the coming into force of this Act.
Article 36. (Financial coverage)
1. The expenses resulting from actuation of articles 31, 32 and 33 will be covered by the special State funds provided, which are under the control of the Ministry of Justice.
The present Act, sealed by the State, shall be included in the Official Collection of normative acts of the Italian Republic. Those concerned shall respect it and ensure that it is respected.
Rome, 18 February 1989
DE MITA, Prime Minister
The Chancellor: VASSALLI
The text of the notes published below has been drawn up in conformity with Art. 10, paragraphs 2 and 3 of the consolidation act approved by Presidential Decree No. 1092 dated 28 December 1985, with the sole aim of facilitating the understanding of the legal dispositions to which they refer. The value and effect of the legislative acts given below remains unchanged.
Note to Article 3: The P.D. No. 162/1982 concerns re-organisation of the direct schools of special education, of the schools of specialisation and of the specialisation courses. Article 3 thereof reads as follows: “Article 3 (Uniformity of organisation in schools of the same type). – The Minister of Education, after having consulted with the National University Council, will provide for the issue of Decrees setting out for each type of diploma the name, conditions for admission, duration and attendance of courses, indications of the total number of examinations and the obligatory subjects along with the related practical activities to be included in the program of studies, the manner in which examinations are to take place and the manner in which practical apprenticeship is to be carried out, along with all other activities to be evaluated according to the contents of the fourth paragraph of article 12 below, in the following cases: a) for diplomas issued by direct schools of special education and by schools of specialisation, when it is necessary to adapt our program of studies to comply with EEC directives on this subject;b) for diplomas issued by direct schools of special education which, according to the provisions of article 9 below, provide professional habilitation. For schools of specialisation and direct schools of special education in areas relating to the National Health Service, the Decree of the Minister of Education will be adopted in combination with that issued by the Minister of Health, after consulting the National Health Council. By Presidential Decree, adopted following the proposals made by the Minister of Education, in agreement with the other Ministers involved, diploma courses may be provided in direct schools of special education or schools of specialisation, whose activity emerges following actuation of economic or social development plans approved by law and for the realisation of which no corresponding professional qualifications are provided in the university organisation. Facilitations will be provided for the institution of these courses at Universities”.
Note to Article 4: The following is the text of Article 622 of the Penal Code: “Article 622 (Breach of professional secrecy). – Whomsoever may, either through his position or office, or through his profession or job, come into possession of a secret and reveal it, without good cause, or use it for his own profit or for the profit of others, shall be punished, should said fact be the possible cause of injury, by a period of detention of up to one year, or by payment of a fine of from three hundred to five thousand Lire. The crime is punishable following action by the offended party. The minimum and maximum amounts of the fine indicated in the first paragraph of the article given above has subsequently been multiplied first by two (D.L.L. No. 679 dated 5 October 1945), then by eight (D.L.C.P.S. No. 1250 dated 21 October 1947), then by forty after cancellation of the previous increases (Art. 3, Law No. 603 dated 12 July 1961) and finally by five (Law No. 689 dated 24 November 1981, Article 113, paragraph 1). The current amount of the fine is thus “from sixty thousand to one million Lire”.