Can anyone call themselves a “psychologist” in Germany, or are only certain people allowed by law to use this professional title?
The German Federal High Court of Justice has ruled (BGH 1985 AZ: I ZR 147/83) that only persons holding a degree (German Diplom) in psychology are allowed to call themselves psychologists. Clients receiving psychological services assume that anyone using the professional title of “psychologist” has studied and graduated in psychology as a main subject at an institution of higher education. In legal commentaries the professional title (psychologist or professional psychologist) is associated with completion of a higher-education degree course in psychology as the main subject of a duration of at least 5 years. Clients of psychological services would be misled if other persons who did not hold such academic qualifications were to use the professional title of psychologist. The illegitimate use of the professional title of psychologist is a violation of the German Unfair Competition Act.