Psychiatrists, Psychologists and Psychotherapists

Explanation on the qualifications and training disciplines you can expect from psychiatrists, psychologists, psychotherapists and psychoanalysts practising in France…

The distinction between psychiatrist, psychologist, psychotherapist and psychoanalyst is very unclear to many people and the qualifications required even less clear which leads to confusion and uncertainty about who to choose when seeking a "psy" in France.

Psychiatrist

A psychiatrist (Greek: psukho meaning breath, life, soul; iatros meaning healer) is a doctor, specialised in psychiatry. This is the branch of medicine which studies disorders affecting thought, emotion and behaviour. A psychiatrist, therefore, is trained to diagnose and treat mental illness and disorder (schizophrenia, manic depression, psychoses). As a doctor they prescribe medication for which consultation fees are reimbursed by the Sécurité Sociale. A psychiatrist may also be trained as a psychotherapist.

Psychologist

A psychologist is not qualified in medicine but has a degree in psychology. In France, this is a title and can only be used after obtaining a D.E.S.S. (Diplôme d'Etudes Supérieures Spécialisées) or D.E.A (Diplôme d'Etudes Approffondies) or, today, a Master 2 in Psychology (minimum five years of university or equivalent).

Psychologists work in different fields (legal, social, personnel, education). A clinical psychologist usually works in the health sphere: they may work in a hospital or within another health structure.

Usually trained in psychotherapy (behaviourist, psychoanalysis, gestalt...), a clinical psychologist or psychiatrist are the two professions trained in basic psychology (the study of normal mental processes and behaviour) and psychopathology.

Psychotherapist

Prior to a change in the law in July 2010, the title "psychotherapist" was not classified by law. However since this date, psychotherapists, including those trained in psychopathology and clinical practice may carry this title. This training is open only to doctors and those with master's degree qualifications in psychology or psychoanalysis.

Often qualified as a psychologist or psychiatrist, a psychotherapist deals with psychological problems and difficulties using the therapeutical method in which they were trained.

Psychoanalyst

The practise of psychoanalysis is not regulated in France. A psychoanalyst, usually a psychologist or psychiatrist, has to have completed their own psychoanalysis.

Psychoanalysis is an in-depth psychotherapy working on unconscious processes and motivations which influence people's behaviour.

Often, a psychiatrist who offers psychoanalysis does not prescribe medical treatment in their capacity as a psychoanalyst, in order not to mix the two.

Anyone in private practice must be declared with URSAFF and have a business registration number (a SIRET number) in order to work legally in France.

Page prepared by Joanna Kaluzinska, Psychotherapist-psychoanalyst,
D.E.S.S. de Psychologie Clinique et Pathologique,
Université de Paris VII.
Copyright © Joanna Kaluzinska All Rights Reserved
Do you have a suggestion to improve this page? click here...

Featured Business

France-Insurance Mondassur

Experts in Expatriate health insurance and travel insurance for more than 10 years with...
Read more...

Maureen Gate

Young, dynamic team provide professional advice and guidance for all your eco-friendly building...
Read more...

Exclusive Healthcare Insurance

Flexible, easy to understand healthcare policies and complementary medical cover for expats. Our...
Read more...


Become Member List your Business Blog For Us

Featured Information

Schooling & Education

Schooling & Education

Find out about the French and the international primary, secondary and university school systems.

Read more...
Useful Contacts

Useful Contacts

Find out about services and government organisations that play a part in moving to France.

Read more...

What's On

Music Evenings: Swan Bar

Swan bar. 165 bd du Montparnasse (Arr 6) Metro:Vavin. See web site for programme of individual week and weekend evenings. Also every Friday and Saturday...

More Details