Latvian Psychotherapy Association Union

Latvian Psychotherapy Association Union

Anita Plume

Latvia is one of the three Baltic countries having 2,5 million inhabitants.Even though there were 10 years of independence from communist regime, our country is still struggling with economical and political problems . One of the fields being in endless transition is social welfare including education and health care systems.

Looking upon psychotherapy as a part of the health care system it is easy to imagine certain difficulties in development of our profession including educational standards and legal situation.

By law at the time only medical doctors and as an exeption clinical psychologists can be certified in order to parctice as psychotherapists in the heatlh care system.

At the same time educational criteria are loosely defined and they have not regulation by law neither by theoretical division neither by training standards.That means no theoretical definition of different modalities exists, neither their trainning standards have been formulated.

Therefore certain chaos exists in psychotherapy education on the very oficial level. For example people who have not accomplished relevant training themselves in any psychotherapy are entaitled to train the others to be psychotherapists almost in every psychotherapy modality.

An official state registered certification cometee consists of medical doctors without proper trainning in theoretically defined psychotherapy themselves but this cometee has an official rights to prove or refuse qualification of the others by examination in any modality.

It had created peculiar situation when non qualified teachers train new psychotherapists in not theoretically defined psychotherapy, non qualified supervisors are doing supervisison work and not fully trained psychotherapists are working as a training therapists.

When one might compare our official training standards with requirenments from EFPP constitution obvious incompatibality can be seen at once.

At the same time non psychotherapy is covered by state insurence or reimburessed by private insurance companies with a little exeption in crisis and family therapy.

This situation can be explained by the history of psychotherapy development in our country.

Psychotherapy in Latvia has very short history . First educational programme in psychoanalytic psychotherapy came to Latvia from Sweden in 1991 satrting with a little group of 8 people . This group was enlarged in 1992 until 32 participants who had finished their first step education in psychortherapy in 1995. From this group interest in psychotherapy was spread around and since 1993 many other psychotherapy orientations where introduced in our country.

Psychoanalytic psychotherapy continued its development in a group of 12 people educated by Swedish psychotherapists from Karolinska Institute and it goes on now in group of 9 in restarted psychoanalytic psychotherapy programme still coming from Sweden now from Stockholm Academy of Psychotherapy. In nearest 3 years if all requrenments were fulfilled these will be the first more or less properly trained psychoanalytic psychotherapists in Latvia.

These people are grouped in two psychoanalytic psychotherapy groups – one belonging to the officaial state organization , registered under Latvias Physician Association and the other – non governmental organisation- Latvias Psychotherapy Association Union formed by different psychotherapy associations – also non governmental organisations -including psychoanalytic psychotherapy group registered under Ministry of Justice.

Looking upon development of the other theoretical modalities, description can be given as follows.

Systemic family therapy came in Latvia from Germany , Osnanbruck University , delivered by Linda von Keiserlink and prof.Aristid Shlippe. There are 20 family therapists workilng with families now but 8 of them are about to finish the second level education providing them with basic level teaching skills.All these people have basic University degree in psychology , social sciences or medical educatin as physicians.The family therapy association has its own theoretical definition ,constitution and educational standard requrenment.

Psychodrama came to Latvia from Sweden in 1994 and now has about 15 therapists working with this modality. All of them continue their education in order to develop their professional skills .Basic education in this group is medical and psychological on University level.They also have created their constitution accoprding to rquirenments for psychodrama in Sweden and Germany.

Psychodynamic psychotherapy arrived from Lithuania in 1996 and continues in a group of 18 medical doctors. Existential psychotherapy also comes from Lithuania since 1998 and continues in group of 10persons having psychological and medical background.

There is a group of integrative psychotherapy consisiting of 8 clinical psychologists being tought by american psychotherapist Janis Grants.

There is the psychoorganic analysis training programme delivered to Latvia from France by Pol Boisen and now group of 17 people are learning on the second step education programme. Basic education of these people are medical and psychological.

Gesttalt therapy is rather popular in Latvia especially in organisations concerned with their personell development in organisational settings. There is a gesttalt therapy group trained by French therapist Serge Ginger consisting of 14 psychologists and medical doctors.

Also 23 medical doctors have formed Hypnologists group practicing Ericksons suggestive therapy.

Organisations described above have their constitutions and educational requirenments.

All above mentioned groups had formed Latvias Psychotherapy Association Union(LPAU) in order to develop psychotherapy as a separate profession according to professional standards requested in the other European countries by every modality professional association mentioned including psychoanalytic psychotherapy.

Due to the present situation described in the beginning of the paper one of the aims of our network is to establishe proper certification system including development of psychotherapists towards professional requirenments in West Europe. In order to invent this new system the LPAU has been very active in Ministries and Saeima(Parliament of Latvia). Our organisation had handed in the first draft of the Psychotherapy law covering professional responsibilities,educational requirenments and professional qualification reflected in the certification procedure.

One of the propositions is to ask for the help of the wider European organisations to supervise local teaching programms in order to follow educational standards properly and develop psychotherapy in our country according to the standards accepted in the West.

On the behalf of our psychoanalytic psychotherapy group we would like to express our request to have an opportunity to attend EFPP meetings on any possible position .

We feel it will be necessary to follow EFPP work in order to develop our profession in Latvia properly.

We also would be pleased to support the idea to form the Central and East European subcometee due to our specific situation in professional development and specific needs.

We also would like kindly ask for support in order to have EFPP in advisory position helping to establishe very basic educational programmes in psychoanalytic psychotherapy in our network we would be able to provide ourselves.At the same time there are problems with supervision and training therapy availability. This also could be matter of disccusion and advice.

Anita Plume, MD, MSc psychoanalytic developmental psychology (London)
President of LPAU, Psychoanalytic psychotherapist in tarining