Quand faire appel à un psychologue ?

When to call a psychologist?

Feb 05, 2024

Every individual, at some point in their life, faces moments of difficulty, uncertainty or distress. These moments can be triggered by various factors such as major transitions, losses, life changes, relationship difficulties or mental health issues. During these times, emotions can be intense, ranging from sadness and anxiety to frustration and anger. External pressures, whether social, professional or family, often add to this feeling of overwhelm. Therefore, it becomes crucial to recognize when these challenges exceed our own resources and require professional help to overcome.

The roles and missions of a psychologist

The missions of a psychologist are multiple and essential in the field of mental health. Indeed, the psychologist is committed to helping individuals explore and understand their thoughts, emotions and behaviors. Its primary objective is to support people in resolving the psychological difficulties and mental disorders they face.

To achieve this goal, the psychologist uses a variety of professional techniques, personalized according to the specific needs of each individual. These techniques aim to improve the mental and emotional health as well as the autonomy of patients, with the ultimate goal of optimizing their overall well-being and quality of life.

Among the main tasks of the psychologist are psychological assessment and diagnosis of needs. This in-depth assessment of psychological functioning makes it possible to identify the specific needs of each individual and to determine the best therapeutic approaches to implement.

Depending on the needs and expectations of his patients, the psychologist then puts in place adapted interventions . These may take the form of individual or group therapy sessions, additional psychological assessments, and personalized counseling and recommendations.

Do not confuse psychologist and psychiatrist

It is common to confuse the roles of the psychologist and the psychiatrist. However, these are indeed two different professions, differing significantly in their training and treatment approaches.

The psychiatrist is a specialized doctor , particularly trained to establish diagnoses and prescribe medications (antidepressants, anxiolytics, neuroleptics, etc.). Although he can also provide psychological therapies, his medical training allows him to take a holistic approach to care, incorporating both medication and psychotherapy.

In contrast, the psychologist is a university graduate without medical training . He focuses on the psychological aspects of mental disorders and uses psychological therapies to help his patients.

When to consider a consultation with a psychologist?

Determining whether mental health consultation is necessary is a complex process, since it largely depends on each person's individual needs and thresholds . There is therefore no universal answer to this question, taking into account the subjectivity of each individual. However, certain questions can guide this reflection.

First of all, it is necessary to assess whether the problem in question causes significant suffering on a daily basis . This may, for example, manifest itself in symptoms such as persistent sadness, chronic anxiety or increasing worry, as well as feelings of being overwhelmed or overwhelmed, thus hindering the ability to work or maintain personal relationships.

Next, it is crucial to determine whether you have the resources to deal with these difficulties on your own. If, despite personal efforts and the mobilization of available supports, the situation does not improve, a consultation may be considered.

It is also important to emphasize that there is no reason to be afraid of consulting “for nothing”. Psychologists are trained to assess individual needs and determine the appropriate type of therapeutic support. Making an appointment for an initial assessment can therefore be beneficial as it helps clarify concerns, determine the best path forward and thus make an informed decision regarding the need for therapeutic support. It is also possible to seek the advice of your treating physician or an occupational physician before consulting.

5 misconceptions about consultations

1. You must suffer from a serious disorder to consult

There are several misconceptions regarding consultations with a psychologist, one of them being the belief that it is necessary to suffer from a serious disorder to consult a psychologist. This perception is based on the idea that only people with severe mental problems need professional help. However, it is crucial to understand that suffering is a subjective experience. Two individuals faced with similar situations may react very differently and experience varying levels of suffering.

Therefore, regardless of the nature of the disorder , if it causes significant suffering in daily life, it is legitimate and important to consult a professional. Mental health concerns each of us, and there is no severity threshold required to benefit from psychological support. Additionally, early consultation can often help prevent problems from getting worse and promote long-term mental well-being.

2. Not all topics can be discussed with a psychologist

It is also common to think that certain topics cannot be discussed with a psychologist, but this idea is incorrect. In reality, the therapeutic relationship is based on recognition and respect for the person in their psychological dimension. A psychologist adopts a caring posture towards his patients and their loved ones, creating a secure environment where everyone feels free to express their most intimate thoughts and deepest emotions.

Neutrality and discretion are also essential qualities in this profession. The psychologist must remain impartial and not let his or her own opinions or values ​​influence the therapeutic process. In addition, he must exercise great discretion to protect the confidentiality of the information shared by the patient. This trust is crucial to establishing a strong working relationship and allowing the patient to feel safe exploring sensitive topics.

3. Consultations are systematically paid and expensive

No, consultations with a psychologist are not always chargeable and expensive. Indeed, for those who consult a psychologist approved by the CPAM of their place of residence, part of the cost of the sessions is covered by Health Insurance , generally up to 60%. However, it is important to meet certain conditions to benefit from this care: you must be at least 3 years old, present problems, and be referred by your treating doctor or another doctor involved in the care, this orientation being valid for a period of 6 months.

In certain cases, it is even possible to benefit from third-party payment , which means that advance payment is not necessary, the sessions being entirely covered by Health Insurance. This concerns in particular beneficiaries of complementary solidarity health insurance, state medical aid (AME), people in care linked to a long-term illness (ALD), maternity care (from the 6th month of pregnancy ), or a work accident or occupational disease (AT-MP). In addition, students often have the opportunity to benefit from free sessions with no advance payment. Consultation with a psychologist in a medical-psychological center (CMP) is covered by Health Insurance.

However, for non-contracted liberal psychologists, the rates are free and are not reimbursed by Health Insurance.

4. You must go through your doctor

Consulting a psychologist is often seen as a complex process, systematically requiring a prior medical consultation. In reality, although it is possible to consult a psychologist after obtaining the agreement of your attending physician, it is also perfectly acceptable to make an appointment directly , without this intermediate process.

This flexibility in the process of accessing the services of a psychologist makes accessibility relatively simple for those who feel the need for professional mental health help.

5. The psychologist only listens to his patient speak

This perception is far from reflecting the reality of clinical practice in psychology. Indeed, psychologists do much more than just listen. They use a variety of proven therapeutic techniques to help their patients overcome their difficulties. Among these techniques, we find cognitive-behavioral therapy, interpersonal therapy, supportive therapy, etc.

In addition to these approaches, psychologists also provide practical advice and concrete exercises to help their patients cope with their daily challenges. They can teach stress management, relaxation or problem solving techniques, for example. The psychologist's work is not limited to listening passively , but to actively collaborating with the person to identify the solutions best suited to their needs and their specific situation.

Limits of a consultation

Although psychologists play a crucial role in the management of mental health problems, it is important to recognize that they have their limitations. First of all, psychologists are not doctors and cannot prescribe medications . Therefore, for certain mental disorders requiring medical intervention, collaboration with a psychiatrist or general practitioner may be necessary.

Additionally, psychologists cannot instantly solve all of their patients' problems , and therapy may take time to produce significant results. Finally, therapy is only effective if the person is willing , willing to engage in the process and actively work on their problems.

In short, psychologists, through their expertise and dedication, play an essential role in supporting individuals going through difficult times. Although determining the right time to see a psychologist can be complex, it is crucial to listen carefully to signals of emotional distress and recognize your own limitations. Recourse to a psychologist represents an accessible and beneficial approach to overcoming the challenges of daily life, thus promoting better emotional well-being and a better quality of life.

References :

Order of Psychologists of Quebec. When to consult ?

Service-Public.fr. (Verified on November 1, 2023). Consultation with a psychologist or psychiatrist: what treatment?

Choose public service. Psychologist.

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