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  • Writer's pictureFrancis Merson

How to Find a Qualified Therapist in France

Updated: Oct 20, 2022

Finding a good English-speaking therapist in France shouldn’t be difficult in theory. There is no shortage of therapists offering a variety of services in English – from hypnosis to life coaching. But there’s also a problem…

In France, the field of therapy is largely unregulated, meaning that anyone can call themselves a therapist. You don’t even need any qualifications at all: you can just set yourself up and start charging for your services. This can make it a rather tricky field to negotiate as a consumer.

So how do you make sure your therapist is legit? There are three main things to look out for:

  • Qualifications

  • Registration

  • Evidence-based Treatment

Let’s have a look at each of these things in a bit more detail.

The first thing to examine is their qualifications. A decent therapist will have at least a Masters-level qualification in the field of therapy that they are delivering.

If you’re looking for help with a mental health issue, then you’ll want to make sure your therapist has a Masters in Clinical Psychology. This means they have specialised training in treating mental illnesses. Be on the lookout for anyone who only has a diploma, certificate, etc. Real professionals have real degrees – so a Bachelors, Masters and/or PhD in their field of practice.

While we tend to refer to anyone who treats mental health as a ‘therapist’, this label can accidentally group together a) people with no qualifications and b) highly trained professionals with a decade or so of university education and experience.

You also want to make sure that your therapist is registered with the appropriate bodies. Would you go to see a doctor who isn’t licensed? It’s the same thing for therapists.

A registered psychologist in France will have an ADELI number, which means their qualifications have been recognised as sufficient to practise as a psychologist. This number can also be taken away if a therapist violates professional guidelines. So active registration with ADELI is a really good way of telling that you’re working with someone safe.

You can check an ADELI number on the Annuaire Santé HERE

The third thing to look at is the kind of therapy they are delivering. To be confident that therapy is going to make a real difference, you want to opt for an evidence-based treatment, such as Cognitive-Behavioural Therapy (CBT).

This means that the treatment has been shown in randomised clinical trials to be superior to placebo – ie it actually works for most people. Otherwise, there’s no guarantee you’ll get any benefit for your money. Here is a list of common evidence-based therapies for mental health:

  • Cognitive-Behavioural Therapy

  • Acceptance and Commitment Therapy

  • Schema Therapy

  • Dialectical Behaviour Therapy

  • Motivational Interviewing

  • Interpersonal Psychotherapy

The American Society of Clinical Psychology keeps a regularly updated list of all the treatments for which there is an evidence base, which you can check to see if what your therapist is offering is likely to be useful...

Read the full version of this article, including red flags to look out for, on The Local

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