Nadine Berndt, MSc, PhD
Head of the Luxembourg Focal Point of the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addictions
Department of Epidemiology and Statistics
National Health Directorate
Ministry of Health
The Government of the Grand-Duchy of Luxembourg
Health Psychology is still a young scientific discipline in Luxembourg and to date no specific Health Psychology Association exists in Luxembourg. Therefore, members of the Luxembourg Society of Psychology are invited to contact the national representative of the EHPS. Psychology training is delivered by the University of Luxembourg. The multilingual University of Luxembourg (English, French and German) was founded in 2003 and has a strong focus on research. The University offers a Bachelor of Science in Psychology, as well as a Master of Science on Evaluation and Assessment, a Master on Psychological Intervention, a Master in Psychotherapy, and a Master in Gerontology.
The research field of Health Psychology is rapidly developing in Luxembourg and currently more research is dedicated to health behaviour and health promotion & disease prevention, not only at the University of Luxembourg but also at national research institutes and non-profit associations.
National Psychological Society
The Luxembourgish Psychological Society (SLP) represents the plurality of graduate psychologists and psychological psychotherapists in the Grand-Duchy of Luxembourg. The SLP was founded in 1985 and currently counts more than 300 active members. Since 2001 the SLP is an official member of the European Federation of Psychologists’ Associations (EFPA). The objectives of the SLP are to promote the psychological discipline in its various sectors, to defend the professional interests of psychologists, and to promote scientific research in the field of psychology. Over and above that, SLP edits the Luxembourg Directory of Certified Psychologists (PSYLUX, http://www.slp.lu/psylux/index.php), updates psychology related information on the SLP’s webpage (http://www.slp.lu), and reviews the current status of psychotherapy practice in Luxembourg. The primary aims of the Luxembourg Directory of Certified Psychologists (PSYLUX) are to set national quality standards for professional basic and continuing training, to protect clients seeking psychological services and consulting a psychologist, and to inform potential employers on the proficiency level of psychologists. The PSYLUX directory provides the guarantee to find a psychologist who is adequately trained, highly qualified and answerable to an ethical committee for his/her professional actions.
The SLP supports task forces, standing committees and national representatives who undertake specified activities, considered of priority and importance to the promotion of psychology as a discipline. On the national level, active members of the SLP coordinate the standing committee on Clinical Psychology and Psychotherapy, the network of Neuropsychologists, and the piloting committee of the Bachelor programme in Psychology at the University of Luxembourg. Beyond that, national delegates represent Luxembourg in the following international networks: the EuroPsy Task Force, the European standing committee on Disaster and Crisis Psychology, the European standing committee on Traffic Psychology, the task force on Geropsychology, the network of European psychologists in the Educational System and finally, the European Health Psychology Society.
There are ongoing discussions on the reimbursement of psychological acts by trained psychotherapists between the PSYLUX association and the national health insurance, however, to date no convention agreement has been found. Therefore, a mediation procedure has been launched that aims to find a compromise between the two parties.
University of Luxembourg – research unit INSIDE – Institute for Health and Behaviour
The research unit INSIDE (Integrative Research Unit on Social and Individual Development) of the University of Luxembourg is an interdisciplinary research unit with a focus on social and behavioural sciences comprising researchers from psychology, sociology, educational sciences, economics, and social work. The research unit INSIDE is dedicated to the study of individual and social implications of the challenges that we are facing today and focuses on real-life problems of rapid social change using an inter-disciplinary approach. Research topics at INSIDE such as youth, childhood and old age, social care and inequality, and health and behaviour are all linked to the research priorities of the University of Luxembourg.
The research unit INSIDE is active in several domains, including the field of Health and Behaviour. Researchers in the Institute for Health and Behaviour investigate links between health and behaviour, the influence of the social environment on these behaviours, and interventions to improve the health status of individuals and populations through modifying behaviour or personal relationships (https://wwwen.uni.lu/research/flshase/inside/research_institutes/health_and_behaviour).
Currently there are five research groups. One is particularly dedicated to Stress, Pain and Pain Modulation, one to Health Promotion and Aggression Prevention, on to Self-Regulation and Health, one to Economic and Social Well-being, and one to Addictive and Compulsive Behaviours.
Luxembourg Institute of Health
The Luxembourg Institute of Health is a public biomedical research organisation. Striving for excellence, its researchers generate knowledge on disease mechanisms and contribute to the development of new diagnostics, preventive strategies, innovative therapies and clinical applications that impact the healthcare of Luxembourgish and European citizens.
The Department of Population Health at the Luxembourg Institute of Health is an interdisciplinary research centre focusing on epidemiology and public health issues relevant to both Luxembourg and the international community. It has several research units, including the Epidemiology & Public Health Research Unit and the Health Economics & Evidence Synthesis Research Unit. Activities include epidemiological studies, clinical trials, and experimental investigations in key areas such as cardio-metabolic conditions and neurodegenerative diseases, sports medicine, human bio-monitoring, behavioural and nutritional aspects of chronic disease prevention, and, economic evaluations of health interventions. The Department of Population Health aims at tackling the major causes of morbidity and mortality, improving quality of life and informing clinical and public health guidelines in the country.
The Department of Population Health is responsible for a range of public health consultancy activities and services such as disease registries. It relies on expertise from a number of disciplines (epidemiologists, clinicians, basic scientists, statisticians, methodologists, clinical trialists, translational researchers). Furthermore, it envisages fostering interdisciplinary and translational research collaborations across the different units of the department, strengthening networks with national and international partners and stakeholders, and becoming a national training centre in epidemiology and public health research (https://www.lih.lu/page/departments/doph-department-of-population-health-779).
National Health Directorate
The National Health Directorate has, defined by laws and regulations, the mission to protect and promote health of the Luxembourg society as a general physical, psychological and social well-being. Therefore, amongst others, the Health Directorate studies, monitors and evaluates the health status of the population and carries out public health measures, including emergency measures necessary for the protection of health. Furthermore, the National Health Directorate evaluates and promotes quality in the field of health, contributes nationally and internationally to the implementation of the health policy, and promotes scientific research work in the field of health (http://sante.public.lu/fr/politique-sante/ministere-sante/direction-sante/index.html). The Division of Preventive Medicine of the National Health Directorate is responsible for the development and implementation of national prevention and health promotion programs, whereas the Division of Social Medicine, Addiction and Mental Health is responsible for all matters relating to planning, organization, orientation and medical and social supervision in the case of addiction diseases as well as in the case of mental illnesses and medical-psycho-social problems.
Cellule d’expertise médicale
The Cellule d’expertise médicale (CEM) has been instituted by the law reform of the Luxembourgish health care system of 2010. The CEM is an intragovernmental institution and located at the General Inspectorate of Social Security of the Ministry of Social Security. The missions of the CEM are to elaborate on and promote best practices in health, analyse health interventions on their efficiency, cost-effectiveness and patient benefit, propose medical tariffs on demand of the national tariff commission, and provide recommendations on good usage of medical devices. The Ministry of Social Security and the Ministry of Health, as well as the National health insurance board are able to request these services from the CEM. The CEM is composed of a multidisciplinary team, and its members participate in several (inter-)national working groups and commissions on HTA, epidemiology, health psychology, and scientific health guidelines (www.cem.gouvernement.lu).
University education and training
Psychology training is delivered by the University of Luxembourg that was founded in 2003. In the field of psychology, the University of Luxembourg offers a Bachelor of Science in Psychology, as well as a Master of Science in Psychology with a special track on Evaluation and Assessment and a track on Psychological Intervention, a Master in Psychotherapy, and a Master in Gerontology (http://wwwen.uni.lu/). Since February 2010, the University of Luxembourg holds a chair in Health and Clinical Psychology.
In Luxembourg, the title of academically qualified psychologists is protected by a special law on protection of higher-education degrees, stating that academic titles have to be officially registered before. Registration implies an application addressed to the national Commission of Higher Education Titles, which deliberates on the acceptance of the title and assigns the entitlement for its use. The 24th of July 2015 a new law was launched on psychological therapy determining that only psychotherapists who accomplished an adequate training are allowed hold the name as psychotherapist and officially practice psychotherapy.
Organization of conferences
On November 7 2018, a one-day conference on Health and Behaviour was organized by the University of Luxembourg and the research unit INSIDE. The conference had a special focus on understanding the interactions between health and behaviour, and how to use that knowledge to improve the health status of individuals and populations. Academics, stakeholders,patients, health professionals and policy makers participated at the conference for a full day of presentations about cutting-edge research on health and behaviour (https://www.slp.lu/wp-content/uploads/OneDayConference6.pdf).
The Interdisciplinary Conference on Psycho-oncology (ICPO) is organized on a biannual basis within the research unit INSIDE in collaboration with the Luxembourg Cancer Foundation (FLCC), the Luxembourg Society of Psychology (SLP) and the Ministry of Health. The conference addresses primarily researchers and health care practitioners (i.e. physicians, nurses, psychologists, social workers) and provides a platform for knowledge exchange and reinforcement of the interdisciplinary collaboration in psycho-oncology research in Luxembourg.
The 11th German conference on Health Psychology was held in 2013 in Luxembourg with the theme “self-regulation and health”. Since then, there has been no official national conference on health psychology. However, in 2015, the Luxembourgish Psychology Society (SLP) celebrated it 30 years of existence. To celebrate this anniversary, the department of psychology of the University of Luxembourg organized the 4th Luxembourgish psychology day and the academic ceremony of the SLP. These two events were held in March 2015. Moreover, the “Centre Hospitalier de Luxembourg” and other national institutes occasionally organize one-day conferences on health psychology related themes, such as psychology in cancer therapy or tobacco and health.