Last Update:
09. November 2014

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Zlatka Rakovec-Felser

Department of Clinical and Health Psychology
Faculty of Medicine
University of Maribor
2000 Maribor (Slovenia )

Slovenia, the state with about 2 million residents, has altogether 157 clinical psychologists (from year 2002 organized in Clinical psychologists Society as a part of Slovene Psychology Association, SPA, until 1950). The minority of them (the larger part are active in psychiatric hospitals or in extra-hospital health services) exclusively deal with the psychological and psychosocial problems of physically health or illness. With psychodiagnostic, psychotherapeutic, educative or/and research work - with children, youth and adults - in hospital or in extra-hospital health services, they covered the psychological issues in maintaining healthy or the problems of modified quality of life after recovering of serious physically trauma or chronic illnesses.

The psychological treatment as part of medical care is offered to patients with cancer and various psychological and social problems (anxiety, depression, family and marital disruptions, sexual difficulties, self-esteem problems, social, professional or recreational disruptions) in institutions as Onkološki Institut Ljubljana (The Institute of Oncology Ljubljana), UKC Ljubljana (University Clinical Centre Ljubljana), Interna klinika (Internal Clinics), Bolnišnica Golnik, klinični oddelek za pljučne bolezni in alergijo (Hospital Golnik, Clinical Department for Pulmonary Diseases and Allergies).
How to tell bad news or how to help people in crises situations, such as the loss life events and grieving processes are, such and similar problems covered organized palliative care - management of terminal ill children and adults in institutions as Bolnišnica Golnik, klinični oddelek za pljučne bolezni in alergijo (Hospital Golnik, Clinical Department for Pulmonary Diseases and Allergies), UKC Ljubljana, Pediatrična klinika (University Clinical Centre Ljubljana –Paediatric Clinic), Zavod za transplantacijo organov in tkiv RS, Slovenija Transplant (Institute for transplantation of Organs and Tissues of RS, Slovenija Transplant), Slovensko društvo Hospice (Slovenian Hospice Care Society). Because of their emotional and mood disorders, frequently present pain, fatigue, sleep disorders or other signs of lower life quality patients with rheumatoid arthritis were also provided with psychological treatment and were included in therapeutic support groups – in UKC Ljubljana, Interne klinike (University Clinical Centre Ljubljana, Internal Clinics).
The psychological management of neurological chronic ill patients, those with the impairments of cognitive or other functions after cerebral or other physical trauma was an important part of healing and rehabilitation processes well presented also in last year – in UKC Ljubljana, Klinika za neurologijo (University Clinical Centre Ljubljana, Clinic for Neurology), Zavod za rehabilitacijo RS, Soča, Ljubljana (Institute for Rehabilitation of RS, Soča, Ljubljana), Zavod za poklicno rehabilitacijo Inštituta za rehabilitacijo RS, Maribor (Centre for Occupational Rehabilitation of Institute for Rehabilitation RS, Maribor), Zavod Naprej, Maribor (Institute Naprej, Maribor). The psychological treatment of those with problems in partnerships, maternal/parents role or being in the grieving process after losses in their maternal/parent role was as in the past organized in the field of hospital obstetrics (UCC Ljubljana, Clinic of Gynaecology, Clinical Department of Perinatology)
The fact that in UCC Ljubljana, Paediatric Clinic work the largest number of clinical psychologists enable organizing the psychological help for many groups of chronically ill children and youth with emotional and developmental consequences (Diabetes, UC, Morbus Crohn, Epilepsy, Chronicle pain, Overweight, etc.), some of those also in UKC Maribor, pediatrična klinika (University Clinical Centre Maribor, Paediatric Clinic) and ZD Maribor, Pedopsihiatrični dispanzer (Health Outpatient Centre Maribor, Psychiatric Outpatient Clinic for Children and Youth).
There have been only the most evident places of organized psychological treatment mentioned, especially those that became part of holistic approach of patients and where due to the interdisciplinary team work parallel the processes of sensitisation for emotional and other psychological problems of patients, their importance of healing and rehabilitation took place and where therefore arise more effective cooperation. The deficit of in health psychology well educated clinical psychologists, more or less as the result of overlooking the importance of health psychological treatment for chronic patients and their changed life position, especially those in hospital setting or waiting to the stressful diagnostics or therapeutically interventions, led to a fact that such form of help did not find its proper place in the medical treatment yet.

National associations

Education, training & professionalisation
In Slovenian society, the creative atmosphere is especially presented in the field of health prevention – as health promotion and providing the public health by Inštitut za varovanje zdravja, Ljubljana (Institute for health protection, Ljubljana), Oddelek za preučevanje zdravja UP PINT, Koper 2007 (University of Primorska, Department for Health Research, Koper), Center za spremljanje zdravstvenega varstva prebivalstva in promocijo zdravja Maribor (Centre for public health and health promotion, Maribor). There are many programs with similar aims as health psychology tended to reach in its psychotherapeutically clinical practice: to activate personal resources of health as giving up the health-compromising habits, learning new, the health- strengthening habits, efficiently use of time, education, assertiveness in social relationships, ability to create support networks: CINDI Slovenija – strategies for heath promotion and preventive of the chronic diseases (preventive of heart-vascular diseases, eating habits and disorders, physically activity, quitting of smoking, etc.), CAPACITY BUILDING (alcohol abuse, suicide, traffic accidents, domestic violence and violence in social relationships) or WHO - PROJECT OF HEALTHY CITIES, HEALTH 21 (prevention of drug addiction, etc.).

Health psychology as the applied psychological discipline, in its theory and clinical practice, was taught to students of medicine at University in Ljubljana and at Faculty of Medicine University of Maribor (ND of EHPS for Slovenia). The courses at higher education institutions to health care students were differently covered with specific field of health psychology, some of them included more social psychological thematic or even application of one personal theory (Ljubljana, Celje, Izola, Jesenice, Slovenj Gradec, Murska Sobota, Novo mesto). The courses in health psychology at all levels of study of psychology Filozofska fakulteta Univerze v Ljubljani (Faculty of art, University of Ljubljana) and Filozofska fakulteta Univerze v Mariboru (Faculty of art, University of Maribor) were just prepared for their beginning

Černelič Bizjak M. Motnje prehranjevanja, dietno vedenje in motnje hranjenja. Eating behaviour and disorders: študijski program Prehransko svetovanje-dietetika : učno gradivo. Izola: Univerza na Primorskem, Visoka šola za zdravstvo, 92 pages;
Černelič Bizjak M. Psihologija prehrane in prehranjevanja. Psychology of people and their eating habits: študijski program Prehransko svetovanje-dietetika : učno gradivo. Izola: Univerza na Primorskem, Visoka šola za zdravstvo, 56 pages;
Černelič Bizjak M. Socialno-kognitivni dejavniki vedenjskih namer za nezdravo izgubljanje teže. Social-cognitive factors of behaviour intentions for unhealthy loss of physical weight: doktorska disertacija, FF UL, Ljubljana, 254 pages;
Rakovec-Felser Z, Holnthaner R, Vidmar J. Empathy, altruism and basic needs fulfillment of medical and nurse students (pilot study). Department of Psychology, Faculty of Medicine, University of Maribor, Slovenia;
Rakovec-Felser Z. Psihologija telesnega bolnika. Razumeti in biti razumljen. Psychology of physical patient - to understand and be understood (Book, 427 pages, Maribor, Založba Pivec);
Rakovec-Felser Z. The Biopsychosocial Model of Treatment the Patients with Inflammatory Chronic Bowel Disease. Original scientific paper. Zagreb, Collegicum. Antropologicum;
Rakovec-Felser Z. Professional Burnout as the State and Process – What To Do? Review. Zagreb, Collegicum Antropologicum;

Report 2010/2011