The Statutes of the Association of Austrian Psychotherapists (VÖPP)

§ 1 Name, residence, location of operation
1. The association is called the “Association of Austrian Psychotherapists” (VÖPP).
2. It is located in Vienna and is active throughout all of Austria. It is possible to open local branches.
3. The association is a non-profit organization and is not bound to parties or confession.

§ 2 Aims of VÖPP
1. Organizational overview of registered psychotherapists as well as psychotherapists in training in Austria, institutions and facilities that handle the adult training, further training and continuing education, as well as consultation and research institutions
2. Representation of mutual occupational, labor, economic, and social interests and interests under the labor law of these persons, groups and institutions and the structure of their labor conditions
3. The organization of services for its members, consultation with members including, among other areas, questions regarding the issue of social security, taxes, opening an office and office management
4. Distribution of psychotherapeutic knowledge
5. Promotion of psychotherapy science and research in the area of psychotherapy
6. Handling issues of labor ethics and consumer protection
7. The development of concepts, perspectives, and statements, specifically concerning psychosocial and psychotherapeutic care, the consultation of public and other institutions in health and social political issues, especially those of the respectively responsible federal ministries
8. Distributing information to members and the public
9. Promoting the practice of psychotherapeutic evaluations

§ 3 Actions and means to realize the purpose of VÖPP
1. Non-material means
1.1 Creation and operation of consulting offices for clients as well as for the promotion of cooperation with other institutions and groups, e.g. authorities, doctors, health insurances, educational institutions, etc.
1.2 Disciplinary and interdisciplinary research, assignment and execution of research projects
1.3 Consulting public and non-public entities in issues of psychotherapy and associated areas, especially regarding the issue of reports, expert evaluations, and suggestions regarding healthcare
1.4 Design, negotiation, and agreement of contracts for the provision and payment of psychotherapeutic services with consideration to the payers, authorities, entities, and institutions in question in Austria, especially concerning contracts for the regulation of the relationship of psychotherapists with the responsible social security agency
1.5 Representation of the interests of employed and freelance psychotherapists and psychotherapists in training
1.6 Evaluation and consultation for law and regulation drafts, as well as other juristic opinions, insofar as they involve psychotherapy related areas
1.7 Consultation, support and help for members in matters pertaining to the profession
1.8 Coordination of member activities
1.9 Promoting and publishing publications
1.10 Events like fairs, lectures, seminars, conventions, and the organization of, and participation in, scientific events
1.11 International contacts
1.12 Public relations
1.13 Cooperation with other associations that represent the interests of the psychotherapists; (e.g.: ÖBVP, EAP and WCP)
1.14 Client and patient information
1.15 Creation and operation of a complaints department for the management of patients’/client’s complaints and for the settlement or reconciliation of differences between patients/clients and psychotherapists, including training psychotherapists under supervision as well as between psychotherapists, including training psychotherapists under supervision and other members of their occupation or related occupations.
1.16 Compilation of qualification lists including specific psychotherapeutic focal points, such as children and youth psychotherapy, psychotherapeutic evaluators, supervision/coaching, geronto-psychotherapy, etc.
1.17 Offers to attend continuing and further education events
1.18 Examination of the legally required commitment to continuing, adult and further education of the members and to issue a VÖPP quality certificate.

2. Provision of financial means
The financial means required for the achievement of the association’s purposes are provided by
2.1 Membership fees
2.2 Proceeds from events and other internal association activities
2.3 Donations, presents, collections, subventions, inheritances, and other appropriations

§ 4 Types of memberships
The association consists of associate, affiliate, supportive and honorary members.

1. Associate members
1.1 Persons registered in the psychotherapist list of the Federal Ministry of Health, Family, and Youth according to § 17 Psychotherapy law who are active in Austria in psychotherapy and have finished the legally required, further education and have proven it to the VÖPP council. If they are not active in psychotherapy, the address of the residence is applicable.
1.2 Psychotherapists and psychotherapists in training who are studying at special psychotherapeutic educational institutions legally approved of in Austria according to §§ 6 - 8 PthG. as well as students studying for a Master's degree or a doctorate in psychotherapeutic science
1.3 Entities like psychotherapeutic educational institutions that are registered in the list of indexes at the Federal Ministry for Health acc. to § 7 (5) and recognized certified institutions for further and continuing education for psychotherapists according to PthG.
1.3.a Advanced and further training institutions and other entities that are involved in psychotherapeutic topics
1.3.b Institutions for psychotherapeutic propaedeutic
1.3.c Institutions for psychotherapy research

2. Affiliate members
2.1 Persons who have finished the psychotherapeutic propaedeuticum at a legally certified propaedeutic educational institution according to §§ 3-5 PthG, as well as students of psychotherapeutic science in a bachelor’s course of studies.
2.2 Owners of the “European certificate for psychotherapy” (ECP -Holders) who are not eligible for an affiliate membership according to § 4 (1)1.1.

3. Supportive members
Persons and entities with the rights and obligations of associate members. They contribute to the goal of the association through the provision of means. They have the right to propose research projects to the executive committee and show means for their realization.

4. Honorary members
Persons deserving membership through the promotion and advanced development of psychotherapy.

§ 5 Acquisition of membership
1. Acceptance as affiliate, associative or supportive member is completed through the application of membership, which is approved by the executive committee.
2. The application of affiliate, associate or supportive membership should be addressed, in writing with the submission of adequate proof for the acceptance, to the respective member category of the executive committee of the association (form). Entities must appoint a representative in the declaration of enrolment.
3. A denial of enrolment by the association’s executive committee is given to the applicant in written form and includes a statement of the reason for denial.
4. The appointment of honorary membership is completed through the application form from at least one affiliate or associate member and must be approved by the general assembly
5. Prior to the constitution of the association, the preliminary enrolment of the members is conducted through the proponents. This membership only becomes valid upon constitution of the association.

§ 6 Termination of membership
1. The membership of the association expires upon death (in the case of entities, upon the loss of the legal personality), through voluntary retirement, through cancellation or by expulsion.
2. Voluntary retirement is possible at all times and is effective as of December 31st. The executive committee must be informed of the retirement via registered letter by November 30th of the year of retirement. If the cancellation is not done in a timely manner, the membership is extended to the end of the next calendar year.
3. The cancellation and the expulsion of the affiliate and associate members of the association is ruled upon by the general assembly.
4. The withdrawal of an honorary membership from the association is decided upon by the general assembly.
5. An expulsion occurs with reasonable clause and must be provided to the member in written form. Members are expelled if they do not provide payment of the determined membership fees after two overdue notices. The obligation for payment of overdue membership fees, including any additional costs, remains valid despite the expulsion.
6. An expelled affiliate or associate member may attend the arbitration court within 6 weeks, in which case, a statement is given. The general assembly makes a final decision after hearing the member in question. The membership expires in the case of a final expulsion or after the idle expiration of the 6-week term.

§ 7 Rights and obligations of the members
1. Only affiliate members have a seat and vote as well as passive and active rights of voting in the general assembly.
2. All members have the right to use the facilities of the association.
3. All members shall maintain and promote the interests of the association through their best effort and ability, pay the membership fees on time, and adhere to the association statutes and order of the organs of the association.
4. Every member is obliged to perform his/her occupation diligently and maintain collegiality.
5. Honorary members are released from paying the membership fees.

§ 8 The membership fees
The amount of the membership fees of the affiliate and associate members is defined and decided by the general assembly.

§ 9 The association organs
The general assembly § 10
The steering committee § 12
The federal state organizations § 14
The lectures § 15
The BPV - conference § 16
The complaints department and reconciliation commission§ 17
The auditors § 18
The application auditing commission § 19
The arbitration court § 20

§ 10 The general assembly
1. The ordinary general assembly takes place once a year and is scheduled by the steering committee, at the latest, 4 weeks in advance with a statement of the agenda. The date shall be issued 2 months in advance.
2. An extraordinary general assembly may be scheduled by the steering committee at all times. It must be noted in writing by the steering committee with a statement of reasons if this was decided by the general assembly or was demanded by at least one tenth (10%) of the affiliate members or the auditors.
The extraordinary general assembly is to be issued, in this case at the latest, within 8 weeks of the date of the receipt of the written demand.
3. The president leads the chairmanship of the general assembly, his/her first/second representative leads the assembly should the president be unable to. If these persons are also unable to attend, the oldest member of the steering committee present shall lead the chairmanship.
4. Valid decisions, with the exception of those including an application for the scheduling of an extraordinary general assembly, can only be made according to the agenda. Applications must be included in the agenda if they are applied for in writing and were received by the steering committee by a minimum of 10 days prior to the date of the general assembly. The candidateship for the steering committee and the auditors must be registered to the steering committee, at the latest, 8 weeks prior to the general assembly and declared by the steering committee in the framework of the scheduling of the general assembly.
5. All members may participate in the general assembly. Only affiliate members have the right to vote. Every affiliate member holds one vote.
Transfer of the voting right to another affiliate member by way of a written authorization is admissible, however, only an affiliate member may represent another affiliate member.
6. The general assembly is quorate if half of all members with voting rights including their representatives are present.
If the general assembly is not quorate at the time set, it still takes place and is quorate without consideration of the number of persons present.
7. The agenda can be changed with a two-thirds majority.
8. Majority vote is required for rulings and elections. Rulings about statute changes or the dissolution of the association require a two-thirds majority.

§ 11 Tasks of the general assembly
1. Receipt of the report of action of the steering committee, the accounting report of the cashier and the report of the auditors, decisions about the annual estimate
2. Decisions regarding the exoneration of the steering committee
3. Selection of the steering committee as well as the auditors, appointment of the members of the complaints department and reconciliation commission, the lecture management, the application examination commission and the election commission
4. Determine the annual membership fees of the affiliate and associate members of the association
5. Issue and withdraw the honorary membership
6. Withdraw affiliate member’s membership
7. Withdraw the membership of associate and supportive members
8. Decisions regarding the appeals to dismiss expulsion from the affiliate and associate membership
9. Decisions regarding statute changes and the voluntary dissolution of the association as well as the disposal of any remaining association assets
10. Consultation and decision in all other issues concerning the association purpose
11. Decisions and changes of the bylaws of the general assembly

§ 12 The steering committee
1. The steering committee consists of a maximum of 5 members, one of which may be a psychotherapist in training under supervision
2. The duration term of the steering committee is three years, re-election is possible. The duration term of the steering committee terminates with the appointment of the newly elected successor to the office, completed within a minimum of 14 days or a maximum of 1 month after the new election of the steering committee.
3. The steering committee consists of the president, the secretary, the cashier and their representatives (vice president).
4. If a member of the steering committee resigns prematurely, the steering committee has the right to co-opt another electable member into the steering committee in his/her place; the authorization is to be collected during the next general assembly, retroactively.
5. The steering committee is quorate if all its members were invited and at least 3 of them are present. It makes its decisions by voting majority, except in such issues in which it has determined a qualified majority necessary in its bylaws.
6. The president leads the chairmanship of the general assembly, his/her first/second representative leads should the president be unable to attend. If these persons are also unable to attend the assembly, the oldest member of the steering committee present shall lead the chairmanship.
7. The steering committee members may declare their resignation at any time in writing. The declaration of resignation must be addressed to the steering committee. In the case of the resignation of the entire steering committee, it must be addressed to the general assembly. A resignation of the entire steering committee becomes effective only with the election of a new steering committee. If over a third of the steering committee resigned within a duration term, a general assembly to conduct a new steering committee election process must be called.
8. The steering committee determines its bylaws, administrates the association assets, decides on recommendations of member enrolments as well as all issues that are not reserved for another association organ.
9. The steering committee may use councils, federal states organization managements and lecture managements from the circle of the affiliate members. They work in allocation.
10. The steering committee is bound to the decisions of the general assembly.

§ 13 Special tasks of individual steering committee members
1. The president represents the association publicly, his/her first/second representative take over in the case of his/her absence.
He/she leads the chairmanship in the general assembly and in the steering committee.
In special cases, he/she is authorized to give instructions independently through his/her own responsibility, specifically in issues that fall under the effective area of the general assembly or the steering committee. These do require the retrospective authorization by the responsible association organ.
2. The secretary shall support the president in the performance of the association businesses. He/She is responsible for creating the protocols of the general assembly and the steering committee.
3. The cashier is responsible for the proper management of the money of the association.
4. Written versions and declarations of the association, especially documents that are binding to the association, must be signed mutually by the president and the secretary, and in the case of monetary issues, by the president and the cashier.

§ 14 The federal state organizations
The federal state organizations consist of a federal state organization manager, who is appointed by the steering committee for 3 years, and whose appointment is confirmed in the general assembly. Further members can be co-opted by the federal state organization management.
Cooperation meetings between the steering committee and the federal state organization management must occur at least every 3 months.
The federal state organization determines its bylaws.

§ 15 Lectures
The lectures consist of a lecture manager, who is appointed by oral application in the general assembly, or by appointment of the steering committee, for three years. Further members can be co-opted by the federal state organization management.
Cooperation meetings between steering committee and lecture management must occur at least every 3 months.
The lectures determine its bylaws.

§ 16 The BPV - conference
1. The BPV (Bezirkspsychotherapievertreter - District psychotherapy representatives) conference consists of a maximum of 2 members per district and elects two conference chairmen from among themselves.
2. The BPV coordinates the information and enlightenment activities of the members in the districts, promotes cooperation with other health occupations on a district level, and installs a primary psychotherapy consultation office (information office) for clients in every district.
3. The BPV conference determines its bylaws.
4. Cooperation meetings between the steering committee and the conference chairmen must occur at least every 3 months.

§ 17 The complaints department and reconciliation commission
1. The complaints department is responsible for the handling of complaints of clients, psychotherapists, psychotherapists in training and for the support in the settlement of ethically relevant conflicts.
The members of the complaints department are recommended by the existing team of the complaints department and appointed by the general assembly for 3 years each. In order to guarantee continuity and experience, successive re-appointment is possible.
Co-options may be conducted by the complaints department team in the meantime. These co-opted members of the complaints department must be confirmed by the general assembly in the next meeting.
The complaints department determines its bylaws that contains among other aspects, further regulation concerning its procedures, relations between consultants, etc.
2. The reconciliation commission
is responsible for non-judiciary, non-administrative decisions in ethically relevant, work-related conflicts, where solutions can not be found in the framework of the complaints department.
The reconciliation commission consists of at least 4 experienced psychotherapists who are recommended by complaints department team and are appointed by the general assembly for 3 years each. Co-options may be conducted by the complaints department team in the meantime. These co-opted members of the complaints department must be confirmed by the general assembly in the next meeting.
The reconciliation commission nominates a senate for the performance of the information collection and decision of a concrete case, which shall consist of 5 persons, 3 of them members from their group as well as 1 representative of the patients’ attorney and a representative from the chamber for workers and employees.
The decision of the reconciliation commission may contain sanctions that include compensation with or without declaration of cause to the respective members of the association and / or the responsible commission of the psychotherapy committee, requirements (like supervision and similar), financial damage compensation as well as the proposal of the association council (acc. to § 6 item 5).
The reconciliation commission determines its bylaws, that include among other aspects, further regulations of its procedures, relations between consultants, etc.

§ 18 The auditors
1. The general assembly elects two auditors for the duration term of three years.
2. Their task includes the ongoing control of the financial handling of the association as well as the reports to the steering committee and to the general assembly.
3. This office cannot be combined with other functions in the association.

§ 19 Application auditing commission
Applications for the acceptance of agenda items and the issue of applications for the ordinary and extra-ordinary general assembly are to be submitted to the application auditing committee in writing up to four weeks prior to the assembly via the office of the VÖPP. Possible modifications of the application must be presented to the application auditing commission in writing at least 2 weeks prior to the general assembly. 10 days prior to the assembly, the finished applications are forwarded to the steering committee. For all other members, the applications are available, in written form, 1 hour prior to the beginning of the general assembly.
The commission formally audits the applications and has them modified if necessary.
The commission is appointed for 3 years by the general assembly.

§ 20 The arbitration court
In the case of disputes from the association, each party to the dispute nominates a representative within 14 days. They agree on a joining chairman or appoint him/her upon equal votes by lottery (within a maximum of 4 weeks). The arbitration court makes the final decision within the association by a majority vote.

§ 21 Dissolution of the association
1. The voluntary dissolution of the association is done by decree of an extra-ordinary general assembly called in for this purpose with a two-thirds majority of the present members with the right to vote.
2. In case of the voluntary dissolution of the association, a liquidator must be contracted who ensures that the rulings relating to the association assets are executed. Any possible assets from the association will be used for the goals and purposes the association pursues.