Psychological Psychotherapist

Psychological Psychotherapist

This section contains specific information on procedures and on the relevant legal basis for this occupational group. Also relevant for Child and Adolescent Psychotherapist.

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Professional Recognition

DO I NEED TO HAVE MY PROFESSIONAL QUALIFICATIONS RECOGNIZED?

If you wish to work as a Psychological Psychotherapist or Child and Adolescent Psychotherapist in Germany without any restrictions, you need a state licence, a so-called Approbation. 

You can apply for an Approbation even if you have completed your training abroad. The competent authorities will assess the equivalence of your qualifications with the corresponding German qualifications in a licensing procedure. You can only be granted an Approbation if your training is recognized as equivalent. 

If you wish to work as a psychotherapist in Germany for a limited period of time only, you may apply for a temporary authorisation to practise. This is usually issued for a total period of up to three years and can only be extended in particular individual cases. You will need to be able to demonstrate that you have completed psychotherapy training before such a temporary authorisation to practise is issued. The temporary authorisation to practise does not constitute recognition of professional qualifications obtained abroad. Holders of a temporary authorisation to practise may, however, also apply for a licence to practise psychotherapy in Germany. Your relevant competent authority will be able to provide further information.

A temporary authorisation to practise can only be issued in exceptional cases if you have acquired your qualification in a member state of the European Union, in a country within the European Economic Area or in Switzerland. Holders of such qualifications should generally be issued with a licence to practise psychotherapy. The relevant competent authority will inform you of the specific requirements which apply in the federal state of your choice.

You can use the Recognition Finder to identify the correct competent authority for your occupation.

Information on the procedure

WHO CAN PARTICIPATE IN THE PROCEDURE?

  • You may apply for a state licence to work as a psychological psychotherapist or child and adolescent psychotherapist in Germany if you have corresponding qualifications.
  • The competent authorities decide on whether to recognize the qualifications that you have gained abroad in the Approbation procedure.
  • You may apply for an Approbation irrespective of your citizenship, the origin of your qualifications and your residence status.
  • As a rule, the procedure is subject to a charge. The competent authorities can provide information on the costs involved.

WHAT FORM DOES THE PROCEDURE TAKE?

  • The competent authorities assess whether the qualifications which you have gained abroad are equivalent to the corresponding German qualifications.
  • Your qualifications are recognized as equivalent if there are no substantial differences between your foreign qualifications and the corresponding German qualifications.
  • In addition to training, the competent authorities also consider the professional experience that you have gained at home or abroad. Substantial differences in qualifications can be offset by relevant professional experience.

WHAT RESULTS ARE POSSIBLE?

  • You will be granted an Approbation if the authorities establish the equivalence of your qualifications and you satisfy the other requirements for gaining an Approbation (personal integrity, physical fitness, adequate command of German).
  • Should there be significant differences between your qualifications and the corresponding German qualifications, you have the opportunity to take part in an adaptation measure to achieve equivalence. 

    • Qualifications gained in the EU/EEA/Switzerland
      If you gained your qualifications in a Member State of the European Union, the European Economic Area or Switzerland, you can choose whether to take a test or to complete an adaptation course lasting a maximum of three years. The test is limited to the deficits that have been established. The Approbation is granted after completion of the adaptation course or after passing the test.
    • Qualifications gained in non-EU/EEA states
      If you gained your qualifications outside the European Union, the European Economic Area or Switzerland, you have the opportunity to take a a test based on the content of the final state examination. You will be granted an Approbation after passing this test.

WILL THE RESULTS OF PROCEDURES UNDER THE OLD LAW BE TAKEN INTO ACCOUNT?

If a previous procedure to grant or extend a work permit has already determined the equivalence of your professional qualifications, these findings are also to be taken into account when applying for an Approbation. You do not have to repeat a test which you have already passed. Applicants who have failed a test within the framework of a previous procedure to grant a permit to work as a Psychological Psychotherapist or Child and Adolescent Psychotherapist may nevertheless apply for an Approbation. Applicants may retake the test.

WHAT DOCUMENTS DO I NEED WHEN SUBMITTING AN APPLICATION?

  • CV in tabular form
  • Certified copy of qualifications and if necessary further certificates of competence.
  • Certificates regarding relevant professional experience
  • Medical certificate confirming fitness to practice the profession (issued within the last month)
  • Official certificate of good conduct (issued within the last month)
  • Statement of whether criminal proceedings are pending.

Should these documents not be in German, they must be accompanied by certified translations. You may present simple copies of your documents in cases where certified copies are not specifically required.

The competent authorities will provide details. 

Ethnic German resettler
If you are a ethnic German resettler (on the basis of Section 10 Federal Expellees Act), ask the competent authorities about any peculiarities in the procedure which may affect you.

Legal Basis

Further information

The Internet portal www.kompetenzen-gesundheitsberufe.de (German) provides information about preconditions and fields of work in the health sector. The information is intended to allow university graduates with degrees acquired abroad to enter this sector and is also of interest to career changers such as engineers, economists and educators.