I recently jumped and promised to describe my position in more detail. I thought I would only write about confidentiality, but somehow I signed it. Here’s what happened.
Recently, I often encounter profanation of the profession. My observations are that the following ideas are the most common.
Psychological assistance may be provided by a person who has not received professional training. Option: Our home-grown training is no worse or maybe even better (italics) than the internationally accepted one.
During the Soviet era, psychotherapy developed in the West. Active development of psychotherapy in Russia began after perestroika, when training of local psychologists and doctors began. This is the generation of those who are between 50 and 60 years old today. Some of the psychotherapists practicing in Russia today have received a full education according to Western standards.
What is included in this education? Knowledge, skills, personal psychotherapy and supervision of their practice by “older comrades i.e. from accredited professional community of supervisor trainers.
Further on, professional life, membership in international professional associations, publication of complex cases in international specialized journals, participation in professional international conferences, finally, obtaining the status of a supervisor and the emergence of its own students.
Another part of practicing psychotherapists has not received such a systematic and comprehensive education. Usually their education is a number of master classes and trainings of Western colleagues.
The first obstacle for many people is their lack of knowledge of languages. You don’t know a foreign language (English is usually enough), you can’t participate in conferences, you can’t communicate with a supervisor, you can’t finally undergo your own psychotherapy with a psychotherapist recognized in the West.
Nevertheless, somehow these colleagues began to engage in psychotherapy, create their own schools and organizations, practice and teach others. Thus, a certain, inherent level of professionalism was reproduced. В
a bout between bouts, where everybody’s in their own juice. I will give an example from the life of psychoanalysts, because they are the first and oldest school with the most well-structured professional standards.
There is an international psychoanalytic association, IPA. It is an umbrella organisation that brings together national psychoanalysis associations. There is also the European Psychoanalytical Federation (EPF), which has the same structure.
These associations, in particular, have a training committee that is responsible for developing a professional standard and training and an ethics committee that monitors compliance with ethical standards.
To become a member of the IPA or EPF, it is necessary to have a relevant education (medical or psychological), to undergo a psychoanalyst’s own analysis, which the association has given the right to be a training or coaching analyst. At the same time, it is necessary to attend theoretical and clinical seminars for several years, where the work of analysts and clinical cases are discussed.
The applicant for IPA/EPF membership must be allowed to manage, first, one of their own cases with weekly supervision. If all is well, he or she can get permission to handle the second and then the third case. The supervision cannot last less than a year.
If everything goes on without delay, you can become a member of a professional association in six years, more often ten years. Only then could a person be considered a psychoanalyst, and could he or she be called a private practitioner, or could he or she hang his or her diplomas and membership certificates on the walls of his or her office. And not to be an impostor.
To date, in Russia there are about 30, maybe several more IPA/EPA members, who are indeed psychoanalysts. The people who call themselves psychoanalysts are thousands. As they were taught, what is difficult to understand.
Thus, they reduce the professional standard and of course they know about it. But I do not want to give up my proud title. Then the reasoning about the specificity of the Russian reality, the client and the psychotherapist begins, and thus the justification for weak professionalism and provinciality.
In my field, in a systemic approach, the same story. It’s just that we’re not so clear, because we’re much younger than psychoanalysts, we’re only 60 years old. However, there is the European Association of Family Psychotherapists EFTA, with its training committee, with its ethics committee.
There are very professionally demanding associations, such as AFTA – American Family Psychotherapy Association, or AMFTA – American Spousal and Family Psychotherapy Association.
My supervisor, Hannah Wyner, who for a time was president of the International Association of Family Psychotherapists (IFTA), was more proud of her ordinary membership in AMFTA than her presidency.
The debate is about what is relevant – only psychologists and doctors, or teachers and social workers. However, the set of knowledge and skills, the number of hours of supervised practice and personal psychotherapy are all defined by the international professional standard.