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What are the legal requirements to call yourself a clinical psychologist and do therapy in Lithuania?


What are the legal requirements to call yourself a clinical psychologist and do therapy in Lithuania? Do you just need to graduate from a Lithuanian university with a master degree in psychology and then you are licensed to do therapy?

Also, do you distinguish between psychologist / therapist / psychotherapist etc. - is psychologist a protected title?


 

ATSAKYMAS (2020-04-23)

Currently we have no psychology or psychotherapy laws in Lithuanian. Adoption of these laws is pending thus psychologist or psychotherapist are not protected titles. The same applies to clinical psychologists.

The only title which is regulated in Lithuania by the order of the Minister of Health, is a title of medical psychologist. Medical psychologist is a psychologist, who graduated from university with a master degree in clinical or health psychology, who has a professional seal with professional number provided by the state accreditation body and who is practicing in a health care institution which also is licensed to provide personal health care services. Medical psychologists work in various mental health care setting including primary care, psychiatric hospitals, rehabilitation facilities, etc. Thus, in many cases this title might be considered as synonym for clinical psychologist.

Historically, psychologists are called clinical psychologists in Lithuania, if they have graduated from Vilnius University Clinical Psychology Master program, or they have long standing experience working in clinical settings.

Situation with psychotherapist title is even more complicated. In health care settings only medical doctors, who have special additional education in psychotherapy, could be called psychotherapist. However, historically both medical doctors and psychologists are studying at the same postgraduate psychotherapy programs and have the same psychotherapy skills. Thus, working in private practice many psychologists, who have additional postgraduate education in psychotherapy, call themselves psychotherapist, and use this title. However, in state health care institutions psychologists with psychotherapy education could not practice independently and their services are called as “application of psychotherapeutic techniques”, but not psychotherapy. On the other hand, because psychotherapist title is not protected it is sometimes used and misused by people who have no education in psychology at all, or by psychologists who have no special postgraduate education in psychotherapy.

Lithuanian Psychologist Society is working hard on political level to change this situation as well as to increase public awareness about importance of professional education and proper use of titles. We hope thing will improve in near future.


 

 

 

 

 

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