Supervised practice of psychologists

University of Ljubljana, Faculty of Arts and their partners have started the projekt SUPER PSIHOLOG – Supervised practice of psychologists: Development of a training programme for mentors and a model of supervised practice with the aim to improve mental health services.
Mental health disorders, e.g. anxiety, depression, alcohol abuse, suicidal behaviour, burnout, are among of the most serious threats against social development and cost European countries more than any other disease group. A necessary condition to deal with these problems is to provide high quality psychological services. In Slovenia there are about 2,000 psychologists. Many of them work in the mental health field. Psychology studies are general due to a small labour market in Slovenia and enable employment in various fields, which means that students cannot develop all the competences needed for practicing in a specific area. There are limited possibilities to enter health, education and other institutions during the studies. Thus, psychologists beginners (there are approx. 100 graduates annually) have a need for being supervised by an experienced psychologist and gradually integrated into psychological practice. A year of supervised practice is also required by the EuroPsy certificate. The project will include 50 psychologists beginners from different regions who have recently completed their studies and want to do a (voluntary) traineeship or regular work under the supervision of a qualified mentor, and 25 psychology students from University of Maribor and Ljubljana during the internship in their final year of the study. Mentors (25) coming from different regions and different fields of work will supervise them. Mentors will first get educated about the mentoring process. In a part of the training program that will be offered also to 50 other psychologists, they will upgrade their competences in the field of mental health. During the year of supervised practice they will use this knowledge and transfer it to mentorees. Slovenian Psychologists’ Association will continue with regular mentor training programs after the project is finished.
Based on the experience from the project, guidelines for implementation of supervised practice in Slovenia, training of mentors and supervision of mentoring will be developed. Guidelines will be useful not only in Slovenia, but also elsewhere, as these will be the first guidelines of this kind in Europe.
Qualified mentors will implement supervised practice better and, consequently, competences of psychologists beginners will improve. With the system of supervision introduced at the same time, the quality of psychological services will increase, which will have a long-term positive impact on the psychologists themselves as well as the users of psychological services and, more generally, on the conditions in the field of mental health. Higher quality psychological services will result in raising the users’ quality of life. With faster detection and prevention of problems in the field of mental health the number of people with such problems will reduce.