Counselling Associations

All Professional Bodies, National Associations (e.g. Mental Health, School, Guidance, Addiction, Faith-based etc.) and Accrediting Organisations.

Due to the abundance of counselling associations in Spain, some organizations are listed below as examples. A list of other associations can be found on the website of the European Association for Psychotherapy (EAP).

Federacion Espanola de Asociaciones de Psicoterapeutas (FEAP)

Asociación Espanola de Terapia Gestalt

Asociación internacional de Psicoanàlisis de Pareja y Familia

Spanish Psychological Association / Colegios Oficiales de Psicólgos (COP)

Federacion Espanola de Asociaciones de terapia familiar (FEATF)

Universities and Other Education and Training Institutes

There are many psychological studies offered in Spain. The listed state universities are:

Universidad de Murcia, Universidad de Almería, Universitat de les Illes Balears, Universitat de Barcelona, Universidad del País Vasco, Universidad de Cadiz, Universitat Jaume I, Universitat Autónoma de Barcelona, Universidad de Córdoba, Universitat de Girona, Universidad de Granada, Universidad de Huelva, Universidad de Jaén, Universidad de Castilla – La Mancha, Universidad de la Laguna, Universidad de la Rioja, Universitat de Lleida, Universidad de Alcalá, Universidad Autónoma de Madrid, Universidad Rey Juan Carlos, Universidad de Málaga, Universidad de Navarra, Universidad de Oviedo, Universidad de Salamanca, Universidade de Santiago de Compostela, Universidad de València.

Another listing of psychotherapeutic schools can be found on the website of the “European Association for Psychotherapy”:

Universidad de Murcia

Universidad de Almería

Universitat Autónoma de Barcelona

Universidad de Córdoba

Universidad de Cantabria

Universidad de Las Palmas de Gran Canaria

Counselling Agencies, Services, Group Practices, Counselling Centres

Background & Context

In Spain, the field of counselling is not an independent field. Psychology, on the other hand, has a long history. It was taught at universities in Spain as a branch of philosophy until the 20th century. The cities of Madrid and Barcelona played a major role. Here, psychology was studied both inside and outside the universities and established itself as an applied science. The two cities differed in their psychological focus. While Madrid was primarily concerned with the influence of pedagogy and philosophy, Barcelona was more experimental in terms of natural science. (cf. Erb 2005, p.63ff.). In 1918, the Institute for Vocational Guidance was founded in Barcelona. Here, young people were examined psychologically, socially and medically and assigned to an occupational group accordingly. (cf. ibid. p.103).

Over time, psychotherapy was shaped by many influences. In the 1920s by psychoanalysis, phenomenological psychology and psychiatry in the 1950s, the person-centered approach in the 1970s, and Gestalt therapy in the 1980s and cognitive therapy in the 2000s. (cf. Marín-Martín/Prieto 2015, p.211) Many different directions of psychology, chairs, institutes, journals, professional associations, and societies developed. (cf. Erb 2005, p.255)

In 1991 psychotherapy was recognized as a service in clinics and psychiatric institutions. (cf. Cohen 2002, p.19).

Current Regulatory Status / Level of Recognition:

In Spain there is no psychotherapist law, so psychotherapy is not regulated by law. (cf. ibid., p.18) However, the title of psychologist and clinical psychologist is protected by law. The title and the authorization to practice the profession are granted by a council in the Ministry of Health. The official councils of psychologists and physicians are responsible for accrediting training programs and organizing certified examinations for psychologists who specialize in clinical psychology. Furthermore, the councils take care of the accreditation of hospitals and centers that accept trainees. (cf. Van Broeck /Lietaer 2008 p. 57f.) Recognition as a psychologist is granted after successful completion of studies and four years of clinical work under supervision. (Cohen) Psychologists who are registered in the professional association can continue their education in private seminars, workshops or summer schools. (cf. Marín-Martín/Prieto 2015, p.211)

Psychotherapy can only be billed to private health insurance companies in rare cases. Statutory health insurers generally do not pay for psychotherapy. (cf. Cohen 2002, p.19).

Practice Settings

Challenges & Trends

In Spain, there is no numerus clausus for psychology studies and the chances to enter the labor market are rather low. The rate of unemployed psychologists is therefore very high. There are comparatively many self-employed psychologists in Spain, since citizens usually pay for psychotherapy themselves. (cf. ibid. 18f.)

After thorough research and review of the literature, no indications of further challenges or trends could be found.

Additional Information & References

Interested readers are advised to read the following articles and books for a more in-depth discussion of the counselling profession:

  • Erb, A. (2005). On the history of psychology in and between Spain and Germany from the late 19th century to the mid-20th century: aspects of German-Spanish scientific relations. Retrieved from:
  • Marín-Martín, C. & Prieto, J.M. (2015) Counseling and Psychotherapy in Spain: Andres’s Story. In: R. Moodley; M. Lengyell; R. Wu & U.P. Gielen. International Counseling. Case Studies Handbook. (S. 211-218) Alexandria: American Counseling Association
  • Van Broeck, N. & Lietaer, G. (2008). Psychology and Psychotherapy in Health Care: A Review of Legal Regulations in 17 European Countries. European Psychologist, Vol.13 (1), S.53-63
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