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.
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:
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 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.
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.
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