Counselling Associations

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

Fachverbang Personenberatung und Personenbetreuung

Berufsverband Österreichischer PsychologInnen (BÖP)

Österreichischer Berufsverband für Psychotherapie

Österreichischer Gesellschaf für Psychotherapie

Institut für Systemische Therapie

Österreichischer Arbeitsgemeinschaft für Systemische Therapie und Systemische Studien

World Council for Psychotherapy

Austrian Coaching Council (Österreichischer Coaching Dachverband)

Österreichischer Vereinigung für Supervision und Coaching

Österreichischer Vereinigung für Gestalttherapie

Universities and Other Education and Training Institutes

Due to the abundance of further education, training and continuing education institutions for counselling in Austria, some institutions are listed below as examples. A list of other certified further and advanced training courses for life and social counselling can be found on the website of the Austrian Federal Economic Chamber: 

A listing of training associations for the psychotherapy specialty can be found on the following website:

A-Institute for Holistic System Development

  • Programme Types: Diploma Course in Life and Social Counselling; Continuing Education Course in Couples Counselling


  • Programme Types: Lehrgänge, Fortbildungsangebote, Seminare und Masterupgrades

Teaching Institute for Systemic Family Therapy (LFS)

  • Programme Types: Systemische Familientherapie

EMDR Institut Austria

  • Programme Name: EMDR Ausbildung
  • Programme Types: EMDR-Practitioner 

Austrian Working Group for Group Therapy and Group Dynamics (ÖAGG)                                                                              (Section Systemic Family Therapy)

  • Programme Name: Specialized training as a systemic family therapist or psychotherapist
  • Programme Types: Graduation as systemic family therapist

Austrian Working Group for Systemic Therapy and Systemic Studies

  • Programme Name: Specialized Course in Systemic Family Therapy

Austrian Academy of Psychology (ÖAP)

  • Programme Name: Clinical Psychology and Health Psychology Course                                                         (Further education, conferences and seminars for psychologists and psychosocial professions are offered.)

Austrian Working Group for Systemic Therapy and Systemic Studies

  • Programme Name: Training Course for Systemic Supervisor & Coaching
  • Programme Types: Title “Systemic Supervisor & Coach”; Entry in the ÖAS Supervisor List

Webster University Vienna (Private University)

Donau-Universität Krems

Donau-Universität Krems

Donau-Universität Krems

Sigmund Freud Private University

Sigmund Freud Private University

Sigmund Freud Private University

University of Vienna

Bertha von Suttner Private University

Bertha von Suttner Private University

Counselling Agencies, Services, Group Practices, Counselling Centres

Background & Context

Vocational guidance initiatives existed in Austria even before the First World War. Initially, it was private associations that offered counselling. At the beginning of the 20th century, public associations and organizations also joined in. Women’s associations also developed that dealt with the topic of career counselling. In 1919, public career counselling finally emerged in Austria, and thus career counselling centers. In 1921, the Berufsberatungsamt der Stadt Wien was founded, which became the largest and most powerful counselling center. In addition to career counselling interviews, medical and psychotechnical examinations and consultations took place there. In addition to career entry counselling, there was also counselling on study, continuing education and training. Finally, counselling centers for educational and life issues also developed in Austria. (cf. Gugitscher 2016, p.1ff.).

Since there was no legal regulation, anyone could pose as a psychologist* or counsellor* and offer alleged psychological treatment or counselling. In 1953, the Professional Association of Austrian Psychologists (BÖP) was founded. From then on, the association dealt with topics such as legal regulation, further education, and the position and abuse of psychology. The legal path was long, but in 1991 the Psychologists Act finally came into force (cf. Berufsverband Österreichischer PsychologInnen 2020) and in 1998 the Act on the Regulation of Life and Social Counselling (cf. Bundesgesetzblatt 1998).

Current Regulatory Status / Level of Recognition:

Life and social counselling has been regulated by law in Austria since 1998. The law requires an annual further training of at least 16 hours, as well as an annual individual or group supervision with a person who fulfills the requirements of the Life and Social Counsellors Certificate of Competence Ordinance (Lebens- und Sozialberater*innen-Befähigungsnachweisverordnung). Life and social counsellors are not allowed to provide counselling if the client has a medical condition. In this case, they must refer the client to a doctor or psychologist. (cf. Federal Law Gazette 1998).

In 2003, the access requirements for life and social counselling were defined by law. The law provides for attendance of a corresponding course in a certified training institution as well as individual self-awareness of at least 30 hours. Furthermore, a professional activity of at least 750 hours under accompanied supervision must take place, or certificates of a corresponding degree in an educational, medical, human or social science or psychological training or field of study must be presented. The exact requirements for admission and professional activity can be found in the Federal Law Gazette. (cf. Federal Law Gazette 2003)

Since 1991, there has been a psychotherapy law that regulates the practice and training of psychotherapy. This law is one of the most progressive in Europe (cf. Cohen 2002, p. 5) and describes the criteria that professionals must meet in order to bear the title of psychologist*in, clinical psychologist*in or psychotherapist*in as well as criteria for obtaining an authorization or license to practice these professions. (cf. Van Broeck/Lietaer, p.54).

Practice Settings

There are a variety of counselling settings in Austria. A distinction is made between psychological and social counselling settings. The following list is an excerpt of the available settings in Austria:

The Professional Association of Austrian Psychologists has a number of specialty sections. These include the following sections:

  • Industrial, economic and organizational psychology
  • Gerontopsychology
  • Health psychology
  • Child, youth and family psychology
  • Clinical psychology
  • Meditation
  • Emergency psychology
  • Educational Psychology
  • Psychotherapy
  • Legal psychology
  • Sports psychology
  • Trauma psychology
  • Traffic psychology

Challenges & Trends

There are also critical reflections on the effects of the Psychotherapy Act, as it has not been clearly clarified who is allowed to practice psychotherapy. (cf. Cohen 2002, p.6). It was also noted that some further training courses are too “verschult”.  (cf. ibid., p.7). In order for educational and vocational guidance to develop positively in Austria, there needs to be closer cooperation between the guidance services in the school, study, adult education and labor market sectors.  (cf. Hofer 2010, p.5). Austria is already very progressive in many areas and a role model for other countries, yet old and new difficulties and problems keep emerging that need to be solved. (cf. Cohen 2002, p.7f.). More precise challenges and trends were not found after thorough research and review of the literature.

Additional Information & References

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

Berufsverband Österreichischer PsychologInnen (2020) Geschichte des Berufsverbandes. Abgerufen von: [abgerufen am 09.10.2020]

Bundesgesetzblatt (1998).260. Verordnung: Standes- und Ausübungsregeln für das Gewerbe der Lebens- und Sozialberatung. Abgerufen von: [abgerufen am 09.10.2020]

Bundesgesetzblatt (2003). 140. Verordnung: Lebens- und Sozialberatungs-Verordnung. Abgerufen von: [abgerufen am 09.10.2020]

Cohen, M.L. (2002) Zur Situation systemischer Therapie in Europa. Zeitschrift für Systemische Therapie, 20 (2), S.88-100

Gugitscher, K. (2016). Bildungs- und Berufsberatung in Österreich historisch betrachtet. Vom Fürsorgewesen über individualisierte Bildungsberatung zur lebensbegleitenden Beratung und Kompetenzvermittlung. Magazin, 29,1-14

Hofer, G. (2010). Bildungsberatung in der Arbeiterkammer Oberösterreich. AK-Angebote und Entwicklungsaspekte für die Beratung in Österreich. Magazin, 9, 1-6

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

Scroll to top