Quality training for high-level services

Psychology is a demanding calling that comes with a high level of responsibility towards the people in one’s care. High-quality academic training is the key to providing effective and appropriate psychological services. Since its foundation, the Federation of Swiss Psychologists (FSP) has worked to ensure diverse and high-quality training is available to both generalist and specialist psychologists.

The FSP recognises postgraduate training courses offered by training institutions and professional associations. It awards FSP qualifications to psychologists who have successfully completed these courses, thus certifying the quality of the services they provide. The FSP is also the organisation responsible for a range of psychotherapy training courses accredited at the federal level. 

Basic training

Basic training in psychology is the responsibility of universities and other higher education institutions. Only people with a master’s-level qualification in psychology can use the professional title of “psychologist” in Switzerland. A master’s degree provides the fundamental expertise required by all psychologists, and is obtained at a university or a specialised higher education institution. 

Postgraduate training

Postgraduate training allows psychologists to acquire specialist knowledge in a specific theoretical or practical field. Postgraduate training can be compulsory, notably for professionals who bill their services via basic insurance (e.g. neuropsychologists, psychotherapists). 

As a guarantor of quality, the FSP recognises postgraduate training courses with standards of quality similar to those of the Confederation. The quality of the courses is developed on an ongoing basis and guaranteed via reassessment procedures. Specialisation courses are organised by professional associations affiliated with the FSP or by universities. 

Areas of specialization

FSP-recognized training courses leading to an FSP specialist title generally correspond to a Master of Advanced Studies (MAS) at a Swiss university. Those leading to a complementary qualification are equivalent to a Certificate of Advanced Studies (CAS).

Psychologists who hold a diploma from a postgraduate course recognised by the FSP and who are members of the Federation can obtain a specialist qualification or an additional qualification certifi-cate from the FSP. These have been widely recognised on the job market for several decades, and provide evidence of the holder’s specialist skills. FSP members who hold a qualification must com-plete 240 hours of continuing education over three years.

The FSP offers specialist qualifications in the following fields:

Psychotherapy

Want to help people with addiction problems, symptoms of depression, anxiety attacks or severe burnout?
Psychotherapists treat people suffering from psychological disorders and mental illnesses. Psychologists who practise psychotherapy apply various methods of diagnosis and intervention depending on the approach in which they have trained. Empathetic listening, the therapeutic relationship and the dialogue established in a professional setting are at the heart of their work.
Title
  • Psychologist specialising in psychotherapy FSP
  • Psychologist recognised at the federal level

Career development and human resources psychology

Want to help someone choose their future profession? Or guide them through a change of career? How about helping a company make the perfect hire?
Psychologists specialising in career development and human resources advise and support individuals, groups and institutions on issues relating to professional development and progression. This can involve vocational guidance and professional reintegration, helping to put together a personal career plan (including postgraduate training and continuing education) or developing an organisation’s human resources.
Title
  • Psychologist specialising in career development and human resources FSP

Coaching psychology

Want to set new professional goals? Or help people get back on track after a prolonged period of stress?
Psychologists who specialise in coaching help their clients explore their thoughts, emotions and behaviour, and to develop strategies for achieving their goals that support their mental and emotional well-being. Coaching psychologists also advise and support organisations as part of transformation and reorientation processes.
Title
  • Psychologist specialising in coaching psychology FSP

Neuropsychology

Want to help tackle attention deficit problems? Or support people struggling with memory loss? How about helping with rehabilitation after a stroke?
Neuropsychologists are interested in the relationship between experiences and behaviour on the one hand, and neurological structures and functions on the other. Their work includes diagnosing psychological functions that deviate from the norm (particularly after brain damage), planning therapy, and implementing rehabilitation. Neuropsychologists work in hospitals, rehabilitation clinics, long-term care centres, schools and research centres.
Title
  • Psychologist specialising in neuropsychology FSP
  • Neuropsychologist recognised at the federal level

Child and adolescent psychology

Want to help a child who refuses to go to school and says they keep getting stomach aches? Or a young person who is giving up on education and cutting off contact with people around them?
Child and adolescent psychologists assess, advise and support parents, families, children and adolescents, as well as the authorities and social, educational and health institutions. They focus on topics and problems affecting children and adolescents, while striving to protect and support the development of those in their care.
Title
  • Psychologist specialising in child and adolescent psychology FSP
  • Child and adolescent psychologist recognised at the federal level

Health psychology

Want to help people achieve a better work-life balance? Or assess the impact of an addiction-prevention programme?
Health psychologists carry out research, provide advice, make diagnoses, and conduct interventions and assessments in the following fields: health promotion; maintenance and recovery of personal, social and collective resources; disease prevention; adjustment of health-related behaviour; and the management of stress and illness.
Title
  • Psychologist specialising in health psychology FSP
  • Health psychologist recognised at the federal level

Clinical psychology

Want to manage treatment chains in a clinic? Or help ensure the quality of psychological care through accurate diagnoses?
Clinical psychologists develop approaches to preventing and treating psychological disorders and mental illnesses. Taking account of organisational, operational and technical aspects, they advise and support psychotherapists, doctors and other professionals, helping them to plan, implement and assess psychological and medical interventions as effectively and sustainably as possible. They also carry out their own psychological interventions with patients.
Title
  • Psychologist specialising in clinical psychology FSP
  • Clinical psychologist recognised at the federal level

Sport psychologist

Want to help manage stress, motivation and self-confidence in the run-up to a competition? Or rebuild relationships in a sports team?
Sport psychologists provide advice and psychological support to help clients define and implement their objectives with regard to sport, movement and health. They do this by deploying a range of tools including training, counselling and support.
Title
  • Psychologist specialising in sport psychology FSP

Forensic psychology

Interested in carrying out expert assessments of witnesses or the accused for a trial? Or substantiating a decision on child custody or parole?
Psychologists specialising in forensic psychology work on behalf of the authorities and courts. They apply psychological methods founded in science to assess legal issues relating to the behaviour and experiences those concerned by a criminal act. Forensic psychologists provide well-founded information that helps the courts to make decisions.
Title
  • Psychologist specialising in forensic psychology FSP

Traffic psychology

Interested in assessing whether people are fit to drive? How about developing road safety awareness programmes? Or dealing with problematic driving behaviour?
Traffic psychologists are interested in people’s experiences and behaviour in road traffic. With regard to road traffic specifically, a traffic psychologist tasked by the authorities with making a diagnosis will use scientific methods to assess whether, and to what extent, a person’s cognitive abilities or personality increase their risk of a road accident.
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  • Psychologist specialising in traffic psychology FSP

Fields in which the FSP offers additional qualifications:

Psycho-oncology

Want to help someone make informed decisions about treatment? Or deal with pain, end-of-life, and quality-of-life issues?
Psycho-oncologists counsel and support children, adolescents and adults suffering from cancer, as well as their families, helping them to maintain or regain their quality of life as much as possible dur-ing the various phases of the disease.
Title
  • Additional qualification in psycho-oncology FSP
Affiliated association

Psychotraumatology

Want to help manage symptoms of post-traumatic stress, including nightmares, flashbacks, anxiety and avoidance? Or deal with trauma-related emotions?
Psychotherapists with an additional qualification in psychotraumatology apply specific, scientifically recognised psychotherapeutic treatment methods (or traumatotherapeutic methods) to treat patients suffering from trauma-related disorders. Psychotraumatologists aim to help patients overcome or mitigate the consequences of their trauma. In doing so, they take due account of the patient’s psychosocial environment and, where necessary, collaborate on an interdisciplinary basis with specialist medical staff and other professional groups involved.
Title
  • Additional qualification in psychotraumatology FSP

Gerontopsychology

Want to help tackle the challenges of growing old? Or work on programmes aiming to maintain cogni-tive health and reduce the risk of dementia?
Gerontopsychologists use their specialist expertise to advise, support and counsel older people, their families and institutions. They aim to promote, preserve or restore the quality of life, autonomy and self-determination of their clients as much as possible during the ageing process.
Title
  • Additional qualification in gerontopsychology FSP

Emergency psychology

Want to provide emergency care after traumatic events, both for the people affected and the first responders?
Emergency psychologists provide counselling and support to the people affected and those around them immediately after unforeseen and potentially traumatic events (e.g. road or rail accidents, air crashes, major fires, natural disasters, acts of violence). By harnessing the resources of the people affected, they help them to recover their sense of psychological and social well-being and prevent the onset of after-effects.
Title
  • Additional qualification in emergency psychology FSP
Affiliated association

Cognitive behavioural therapy supervisor

Are you interested in assessing the experiences of therapists and helping them to progress? Would you like to help other therapists tackle complex clinical cases, particularly those involving patients with serious disorders or co-morbidities? Or offer personalised support to therapists in training?
Psychotherapists with an additional qualification in cognitive-behavioural therapy supervision are authorised to guide and support postgraduate students in psychotherapy, as well as federally recognised psychotherapists. The aim of supervision is to reflect on and improve individual practice of cognitive-behavioural therapy.
Title
  • Qualification: Additional qualification in cognitive behavioural therapy supervision FSP
Affiliated association

Continuing education – Always at the forefront

By joining the FSP, psychologists commit to ongoing training. In this way, they continually develop their skills. They also benefit from new approaches and methods, whether derived from psychological practice or research. Ongoing training is a guarantee of the quality of psychological services.

General psychologists are required to complete a minimum of 120 hours of training over a three-year period. An extended training requirement of 240 hours over three years applies to holders of FSP qualifications.