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Sjödin, C. (2009). The Exclusion of Psychoanalysis and Psychodynamic Psychotherapy from the Publicly Financed Medical Health Sector in Sweden. Int. Forum Psychoanal., 18(3):131-134.

(2009). International Forum of Psychoanalysis, 18(3):131-134


The Exclusion of Psychoanalysis and Psychodynamic Psychotherapy from the Publicly Financed Medical Health Sector in Sweden

Christer Sjödin

Two years ago, the Swedish National Agency for Higher Education questioned the right of the Swedish Psychoanalytic Association and the Swedish Psychoanalytic Society to issue diplomas in psychotherapy (Sjödin, 2007). This critique initiated a process that has ended with a radical change in the conditions surrounding psychoanalysis and psycho-dynamic psychotherapy in Sweden. At the last meeting of the editorial board of the International Forum of Psychoanalysis, we discussed this new situation. Several members of the board expected a similar development in their own countries, especially in those countries within the European Union that have a developed social security system that includes psychotherapy.

In Sweden, most medical treatment is publicly financed and controlled by county councils. Even if the Stockholm county council is politically elected, it follows national laws and is supervised by national institutions, such as the National Board of Health and Welfare. These in their turn are guided by the work done by the Swedish Council on Technology Assessment in Health. The Swedish National Agency for Higher Education supervises higher education, including psychotherapy programs. Together, these organisations control the medical health sector and training in the professions, regulated by legislation. The national institutions also have to adjust to the laws and institutions of the European Union. The Bologna Process affects training, and the right of professionals to work in a regulated profession is regulated by Directive 2005/36/EC but is also affected by the fundamental principles of the constitution.

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