Threatening Finns’ right to psychological treatment

In the article Psychotherapy is rare today (U 6.3) discusses the need for state support to train psychotherapists and various plans to strengthen basic mental health care (treatment guarantee). We wish to correct some simplifications and add incomplete facts in light of the political decision-making regarding the future of psychotherapy in Finland.

The above measures are definitely needed. But none of them would help if one simultaneously planned to end FPA-supported psychological therapies, that is, 75 percent of all types of psychotherapy funded in Finland today – and to end people’s statutory right to psychotherapy. In silence, such preparation is underway at the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health. Such a major reform and minimizing the benefits of Finnish rehabilitation would benefit from public debate.

In 2020, 60,300 people received FPA-supported psychotherapy. Statistics show that rehabilitation is effective. About 80 percent of clients in rehabilitative psychotherapy regain their ability to study or work. The increase in Fpa-supported rehabilitation psychotherapy was 54% during the years 2017-2020. It is not a narrow “needle eye”.

FPA-supported psychotherapy must be preceded by a three-month care and rehabilitation plan. Unfortunately, this is provided with a very low grade and so people are left alone in an infamous way.

This is not a drawback of Fpa-supported psychotherapy, but rather it is due to the fact that prior care, which is the first step that must be taken care of through primary healthcare, private medical care or health care in the workplace, needs to be strengthened. Do not dispose of the baby with the bath water.

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The abandonment of rehabilitation psychotherapy is not a solution to the growing need for psychosocial forms of mental health care. Talking about psychotherapy and therapy for everyone under the same title sounds good, but at the same time it is seriously misleading.

The risk is great, if the right to Fpa is not upheld in law, then everyone in the future will have short visit contacts as “therapy”, as was the case in Sweden and the United Kingdom, with devastating results. “Psychotherapy” is a form of care that has been explored that is only provided by licensed psychotherapists. A “cure” can be anything.

There is a great deal of agreement that it is difficult to find vacancies for psychotherapy, especially a shortage of Swedish-speaking psychotherapists. Thus, plans to increase the possibility of training of supportive psychotherapists are very welcome.

The right of the Finns to psychological treatment must be preserved. The only law guaranteeing the right to psychotherapy is the FPA.

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