What should you consider when selecting a therapist
When selecting a counselor or therapist, either
through a recommendation or through an advertisement, you
should keep the following criteria in mind:
Graduate Degree: A reliable professional will
have at least one of the following U.S. university diplomas,
or a foreign equivalent:
M.D. (if the person claims to be a psychiatrist)
PhD in psychology or counseling
M.A. in psychology or counseling
M.S.W., Master of Social Work
The French equivalent of an M.A. is called a Maitrise,
but the higher level DESS (Diplôme d'Etudes Supérieures
Spécialisées) in clinical psychology is usually required
by state-run organizations. Many English-speaking professionals
here did graduate studies in France, and do not have U.S. diplomas.
Specialized Training: Such training emphasizes
the clinical skills and techniques which inform the approaches used
by each practitioner, and is not necessarily part of a university
degree program, so it is useful to know not only the degree(s),
but also the training of the person you are considering. Among the
many different approaches popular today are:
Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP)
Systemic family/couple therapy
Membership in a Professional Association: This
can mean that the practitioner has filled a certain number of requirements
pertaining to training and supervision by senior practitioners,
thus implying peer approval.
Fees: Fees can range between 40 and 120 euros
per therapy hour (often 45-50 minutes), with less experienced practitioners
often charging the lower fees. Treatment by non-medical therapists
is not reimbursable by the French Sécurité Sociale,
but certain U.S. insurance policies do reimburse. Therapists generally
charge for sessions missed without prior cancellation notification.
Be sure to ask for your therapist's position on all these counts.
Personal Contact: Good "vibes"
from the person you work with are an essential component of a successful
therapeutic relationships. Don't hesitate to make contact with several
practitioners -- at least by phone -- until you find one with whom
you feel comfortable. Above all, you are entitled to ask questions
about the person's professional credentials -- even to ask to see
their diplomas. You want to be sure that you are in good hands.