This article is adapted from "Switzerland National Tour" prepared by J. Retschitzski and updated by H. Ruprecht and M. Martin, 2008, which appeared in Wedding, D., & Stevens, M. J. (Eds). (2009). Psychology: IUPsyS Global Resource (Edition 2009) [CD-ROM]. International Journal of Psychology, 44 (Suppl. 1).
The Swiss Psychological Society was established in 1943. Chairs in psychology at graduate schools in Switzerland were successively established beginning at the end of the Second World War. Cultural, linguistic, and political division characterizes the situation in Switzerland. Thus, the Piaget School with its own ideas on psychological research and model creation is located in French-speaking Geneva, while the scientific psychological community in the German-speaking areas in the meantime was concentrated on questions taken from the area of applied psychology. Tremendous interest was generated in Switzerland in clinical and cognitive psychology predominantly in the 1970s. The gradual professionalization of psychology was completed in Switzerland in the 1960s and 1970s, primarily in the areas of applied, clinical and pedagogical psychology. During the 1970s, various groups of non-M.D. psychological therapists were formed, the great majority of whom were drawn from the ranks of psychologists.
Scientific psychology and research in Switzerland is concentrated in seven Psychological Institutes located at seven university graduate schools, at Zürich, Geneva, Bern, Lausanne, Fribourg, Basel, and Neuchâtel. In addition, both of the Swiss Federal Institutes of Technology at Zürich and Lausanne as well as the Swiss University of Commerce at St Gallen all maintain a department of psychology. The main research fields of interest in the most recent past cover the whole spectrum of modern scientific psychology. Even areas that previously held only marginal research interest, such as ecological psychology, have been worked on lately. In Geneva, the emphasis has been mainly on the relationship between the genetic epistemology of Piaget and pedagogical and developmental psychology. Now there is more emphasis on social psychology, neurosciences, clinical psychology, etc. joining the mainstream of scientific psychology. Most institutes are doing research in clinical psychology. Zurich, Bern, Lausanne, and Neuchâtel all have extensive facilities in their institutes for applied psychology. Special emphasis on research into the principles of work and organization psychology is being given by the chair at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich which is dealing with the alternations and modifications necessitated by technological progress in the modern world of work. Psychology seems to be quite well established now in society and University, but there is still a struggle for professional and law issues, e.g., with insurance companies for psychotherapy done by a psychologist.
Graduate courses with a major in psychology require a minimum of eight semesters for completion at all seven universities in Switzerland. In 2007-2008, there were 7,072 students registered at the various institutions, seventy-eight percent of them were women. This four-year program of study culminates with a "Lizenziat" (Master's) degree and the title of Master in Philosophy/Master in Psychology. In 2007, there were 636 persons getting the masters degree. Starting the academic year 2006/2007, all universities will change to BSc (Psychology) and MSc (Psychology) degree programs according to the European ECTS standards and different profiles at each university. Such a course would in turn lead to a Ph.D. program with various course and time requirements and which bestows the title of Dr.phil/Dr.psych. A major in psychology would include practical competence with regard to professional psychological practice as well as systematic study of the prevalent standards of scientific psychological research. The legal regulation of the professional activities of psychologists in Switzerland is in the hands of the individual cantons. Only one canton provides for this kind of regulation. Several cantons have, however, provided for the regulation of the activities of non-M.D. therapeutic practitioners in that a scientific education in psychology at a recognized psychological institution as well as a minimum of four years of psychotherapeutic qualification at a recognized institution are required. Several other cantons are in the process of establishing similar regulations.
Swiss psychologists do have a new code of ethics, which can be found at http://www.ssp-sgp.ch/about_us/law/law_dt.html
Swiss Journal of Psychology, 1941- , 4/year
Swiss Monographs in Psychology