New psychotherapy training with a two-year master’s degree has now also been approved by the Federal Council

2024-04-24 15:28:11

Minor adjustments to social security law and adaptations to rehabilitation allowance

Vienna (PK) – With the exception of the SPÖ, there were also in the State Chamber All political groups advocated academicizing psychotherapy training and putting it on a new footing. From 2026, it will be possible for the first time to train as a psychotherapist at universities and technical colleges. The central component of the bill is the establishment of a two-year master’s degree program with a total of 500 training places.

The representatives of the ÖVP and the Greens spoke of a milestone, a long overdue new regulation and a significant contribution to improving psychosocial care for the population. The SPÖ parliamentary group in the state chamber maintained its criticism of the law and justified this primarily with the limitation of study places and the costs of up to €20,000 that are still incurred for the third part of the training. A motion for a resolution she submitted, which also called for an expansion of medical insurance contract positions, did not find a majority in the vote.

A collective amendment containing a number of smaller changes to social security law was only approved by the ÖVP and the Greens. Above all, various older findings from the Constitutional Court were incorporated into the ASVG and other social security laws and adaptations were made to rehabilitation benefits. The FPÖ particularly criticized the fact that it was not possible to carry out an assessment process by submitting an initiative application. The SPÖ called for the elimination of disadvantages in pension law; However, the motion for a resolution submitted did not find a majority.

The Federal Council also raised no objection to this agreement between Austria and Japan on social security. The primary aim of this state treaty is to put people who were employed in both Austria and Japan on an equal footing with other pension recipients when it comes to the granting of pension benefits.

500 master’s degree places from 2026 for broad and cost-effective access

Almost 34 years after the first psychotherapy law came into force, training is now being academicized and put on a completely new footing. The 500 places per year planned for the two-year master’s degree program, which were anchored in the University Act, are to be offered throughout Germany, it says Short story.

The course can be installed at “all recognized post-secondary educational institutions”, which also includes technical colleges. The admission requirement for the new master’s program is a relevant bachelor’s degree or the right to practice certain professions. In addition to psychology and medicine, the list also includes social work, social education, music therapy, psychosocial counseling, medical-technical services, qualified health and nursing professions and midwives.

The third part of the training consists of postgraduate specialist training at recognized psychotherapeutic societies and internships with patient contact, during which you can work under supervision. The practical training – with the exception of personal experience and teaching supervision – must be completed in psychiatric-psychosomatic facilities. Some of this is also possible in private practice, especially in psychotherapeutic teaching practices and practice groups.

In this way, students should become familiar with the different settings in which psychotherapy takes place. The aim is to complete part of the practical training in employment relationships in order to improve the supply situation. The course is completed with a state licensing examination.

The FPÖ motion for a resolution to establish Music therapy in hospitals and health facilities as well as the NEOS initiative Academization of psychotherapy.

SPÖ is again criticizing the lack of study places and the high costs for the third part of the training

Federal Councilor Günter Kovacs (SPÖ/B) explained that his parliamentary group would not agree to the law, as costs of between €10,000 and €20,000 could still be incurred for the third stage of training. This excludes a large group of people who cannot afford it. The ÖVP also takes a similarly elitist approach to the debate about working hours, where employees should now be expected to work 41 hours. Kovacs also criticized the fact that only 500 study places should be set up, even though 594 psychotherapists were registered in the professional register last year alone.

Greens: New regulations are an important component for improving psychosocial care and prevention

Claudia Hauschildt-Buschberger (Greens/O) spoke of an important further development and continuation of a path that began in 1990 to create a legal framework for the profession of psychotherapy. The new version was preceded by intensive consultations with the professional association, among others, in order to create a modern law that would further improve psychosocial care for the population. A core part of this is the three-part academic training, explained Hauschildt-Buschberger, with the last section already having a lot of practical relevance – for example in the context of psychotherapeutic teaching practices, outpatient clinics and hospitals.

ÖVP: Law enables broad and inexpensive access to psychotherapy training

More and more people are affected by mental illnesses and have the right to be well looked after and cared for, said Federal Councilor Sandra Böhmwalder (ÖVP/N). The present draft law creates the basis to counteract the shortage of specialists in psychotherapy and the lack of offers in private practice. After almost 34 years, another important milestone is set and the training of psychotherapy is put on a completely new footing. It cannot be denied that the costs of training will be reduced by over three quarters, said Böhmwalder to the SPÖ. In the future, it is also planned to set up a separate bachelor’s degree program for psychotherapy. The Federal Councilor emphasized that a focus will also be placed on gaining practical experience in special care facilities, where students will already have the opportunity to earn an income.

Her parliamentary group colleague Günther Ruprecht (ÖVP/St) recalled that a professional legal framework was first adopted in 1991, which is now being updated and adapted to the new challenges. But now the states are also required to provide enough training places. Regarding the costs incurred in the third section, he assumes that some of them will be “neutralized”, especially since the students can already work under supervision.

FPÖ attributes the high demand for psychotherapists to the “catastrophic crisis management” during the corona pandemic

Federal Councilor Günter Pröller (FPÖ/O) ruled that a modernization of the legal basis for psychotherapy training was necessary after more than three decades. However, he doubted that the planned 500 study places would be sufficient to ensure high-quality care for the population. One must also criticize the fact that the law comes too late and that the treatment costs incurred by patients are not fully covered. However, he viewed the massive reduction in training costs associated with the new regulation as positive, as well as the inclusion of technical colleges. The need for psychotherapists is now extremely high, which in his opinion is primarily due to the “catastrophic crisis management” during the corona pandemic. There has been a massive increase in stress, anxiety and eating disorders, including suicidal thoughts, particularly among children and young people.

Debate about social security law and pensions

As part of the collective amendment to social security law, some adjustments will be made that were necessary due to highest court rulings, stated Federal Councilor Claudia Arpa (SPÖ/K). Unfortunately, other existing gaps, such as the still outstanding constitutional composition of the BVAEB’s bodies, have not been closed. She also took the debate about social policy issues as an opportunity to “clearly reject” the ÖVP’s demand for an increase in the retirement age. Rather, it is urgently necessary to design working conditions in such a way that retirement age can be reached without any health deficits and that women in particular can earn enough retirement time. It would also be important to abolish the aliquoting of the first pension adjustment and to introduce a protective clause equal to the adjustment factor of the second one

calendar year to avoid lifelong pension losses. Arpa criticized the Industrial Association’s proposal to increase weekly working hours to 41 hours without compensation, especially since one in four overtime hours worked in Austria is now unpaid.

The amendment, which contains some positive changes, is once again an example of the government factions avoiding review procedures and wanting to do everything quickly in the form of an initiative proposal, criticized Andrea Michaela Schartel (FPÖ/St). That’s why her group will not agree to the law.

Since 2014, the ASVG has been amended 113 times, says Marco Schreuder (Greens/W), and now it has been adjusted again. As an example, he cited changes to survivors’ pensions, which had become necessary due to the opening of marriage to same-sex partners. In practice, however, the ruling of the Constitutional Court has long been implemented, he said.

Ernest Schwindsackl (ÖVP/St) emphasized that one can be proud of an excellent social and health system in Austria, which is constantly being developed – as is the case with this amendment. In recent years, low pensions have been adjusted above inflation levels. He therefore could not understand if everything was talked about as ill simply out of a “party-fighting style”

The motion for a resolution submitted by the SPÖ regarding “necessary measures in pension law” did not receive a majority in the vote. (Continuation Federal Council) sue

NOTE: Meetings of the National Council and the Federal Council can also be followed via live stream and are available as video-on-demand in the Parliament’s media library available.

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