How about I talk to a shrink?

Who hasn't experienced a difficult phase or perhaps even a crisis?

Mental disorders are common. They can affect anyone, and in most cases, they’re readily treatable. So, seeking professional support can be helpful and perhaps even necessary.

Who can I contact?

You can contact your family doctor first, or a psychologist, psychiatrist, or psychotherapist directly.

These professionals are both different and complementary.

  • Who are they?
  • How can they help?
  • What does it cost?
  • How can you find them?

This page presents the various mental health professions to help you find the right help.

When should I seek help?

The sooner the better. Talk to an expert as soon as

  • you or your relatives notice mood swings, changes in behaviour, in your relationships with others, or in your physical condition;
  • you suffer from disorders that affect your normal functioning: social and intellectual effects, lack of energy, fatigue;
  • you experience problems with a dependency;
  • you encounter difficulties in coping with a particular life situation.

The faster you act, the greater your chances of a speedy recovery and the less likely you are to relapse.

Think about your family doctor!

  • Some psychological symptoms may have physical causes. For example, a hormonal disorder can cause symptoms similar to depression.
  • Family doctors have experience with patients suffering from psychological problems.
  • Family doctors can
    • prescribe additional tests and analyses,
    • provide personalised advice,
    • suggest drug treatments,
    • refer you to a specialist, and
    • recommend psychologists, psychiatrists or psychotherapists in their network.
  • Your family doctor is best informed about your state of health and your life history and can coordinate your treatment.
  • Family doctors are quick and easy to reach.

So, don't wait until your family doctor asks you about your psychological condition; talk to him or her about symptoms that disturb or worry you.

Psychologists

Who are they?

Psychologists are experts in human mental functioning and behaviour. Clinical psychologists specialize in mental disorders.
Psychologists usually have a master's degree in psychology (4 or 5 years of university study); they are not medical doctors*. Many psychologists have complementary training in psychotherapy and are also psychotherapists (see the section on psychotherapists).

*Some graduate psychologists continue their studies by completing a doctorate (PhD) in psychology. They become doctors of psychology but are not medical doctors.

How can they help?

Psychologists help to protect, maintain, and improve mental health, develop particular skills, and promote social integration at every stage of life; for example:

  • if you have doubts about your competence, your life, or a relative’s life;
  • when it's difficult to face problems;
  • for reorientation, improvement of school grades and work performance;
  • in stress relief;
  • for questions about your children’s healthy development, etc.

They listen, accompany, support, and advise. Their intervention can range from a simple consultation to more complex and long-term support. They are able to conduct recognized psychological tests (personality, psychopathologies, abilities, etc.).

The duration of a counselling session is generally 30 to 90 minutes.

What does it cost?

  • In private practice, the cost of the session is left to the psychologist (usually 70 to 140 €) and is not reimbursed by the National Health Insurance Fund (CNS). Some insurances reimburse part of the costs. Check with your insurer.
  • For children and young adults up to the age of 27, the National Children's Office (Office National de l'Enfance - ONE) covers the cost or part of the cost of psychological consultations with partner psychologists (information at ONE).
  • In some public institutions (non-profit organisations, schools, etc.) consultations are free of charge.

Where can you find them?

  • In the directory of the Luxembourg Society of Psychology (SLP): slp.lu with the possibility of searching according to several criteria (place, languages spoken, problems treated, etc.).
  • In the (online) telephone directory.

Psychiatrists

Who are they?

  • Psychiatrists are medical doctors. After their medical studies (6 or 7 years of university study), they specialize for 4 to 5 years in psychiatry, which involves extensive experience treating patients with mental disorders.
  • Paediatric psychiatrists are psychiatrists who specialize in psychiatric disorders in children and adolescents and in mother–child relationship disorders from the beginning of pregnancy.
    The vast majority of psychiatrists are also psychotherapists (see the section on psychotherapists).

How can they help?

Psychiatrists are qualified to recognize and treat mental disorders. As medical doctors, they can also

  • make diagnoses that consider biological, psychological, relational, and environmental aspects;
  • exclude physical diseases as a cause of psychological symptoms;
  • prescribe additional tests (e.g. blood counts, X-rays, scanners, etc.);
  • prescribe and monitor medication;
  • provide indications and/or initiate psychotherapeutic treatment; and
  • initiate multidisciplinary treatments.

Depending on the reason for the consultation, the session can last between 15 and 90 minutes. The frequency of the appointments depends on the situation and the type of care.

What does it cost?

  • The rates for psychiatrists are set by the National Health Insurance (CNS) and are reimbursed at 88% for adults and 100% for children
  • In some public institutions consultations are free of charge.

How can you find them?

  • You can check with your family doctor.
  • In the (online) telephone directory.
  • On the website of the Collège Médical collegemedical.lu.
  • On the website of the national agency for the exchange of health information esante.lu.

Psychotherapists

Who are they?

Psychotherapists are whether psychologists, or psychiatrists or other doctors, who have undergone additional training in psychotherapy*. Psychotherapy methods recognized in Luxembourg

They can be trained in one or more methods of psychotherapy. It is best to ask directly about the kinds of therapy your therapist offers.

*From July 2015 to 2018, experts from fields other than medicine and psychology could also obtain the title of psychotherapist if they had undergone training in psychotherapy and/or had a recognized psychotherapy practice of at least 5 years.

How can they help?

Psychotherapy is a psychological treatment. Psychotherapists make a psychotherapeutic diagnosis and treat psychological disorders, behavioural disorders, emotional suffering, and traumatic experiences.
Targeted positive changes include

  • more flexible thinking,
  • better management of strong emotions,
  • adaptation of behaviours,
  • improvement in interpersonal relationships or health, etc.

Psychotherapy may be sufficient alone or may be combined with medication.

What does it cost?

The costs of psychotherapy will soon be reimbursed by the National Health Insurance Fund (CNS). The terms and conditions of reimbursement are currently being negotiated.

  • The price of a meeting with a psychotherapist who is not a medical doctor in private practice is at the discretion of the psychotherapist (usually between €70 and €140) and will not be reimbursed by the National Health Insurance Fund (CNS). Some insurances reimburse part of the costs. Check with your insurer.
  • Psychotherapy performed by medical doctors is determined by the National Health Insurance Fund (CNS) and reimbursed at 88% for adults and 100% for children.
  • For children and young adults up to 27 years of age, the National Children's Office (Office national de l'enfance - ONE) can cover the cost or part of the cost of psychotherapeutic consultations with partner psychotherapists (More information is available from ONE).
  • In some public institutions (non-profit organisations, schools, etc.) consultations are free of charge.

How can you find them?

  • In the directory of the Luxembourg Society of Psychology (SLP): slp.lu, which also allows targeted searches for psychologists with the title of psychotherapist.
  • On the website of the Collège Médical collegemedical.lu, under the "Psychotherapy" tab, which lists all the psychotherapists recognized in Luxembourg.
  • In the (online) telephone directory.

Psychotherapy methods recognized in Luxembourg

Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT)
CBT is based on the interactions between thoughts, emotions, behaviours, and their consequences. One or more clear goals are set with the help of the psychotherapist. Once the goals have been reached, the psychotherapeutic treatment can end.

Systemic therapy and family therapies
These therapies assume that a person's problems or symptoms are related to interactions with their environment. The therapy may involve various family members so that problems can be understood and appropriate solutions found.

The psychodynamic approach
This approach to therapy, which is based on psychoanalysis and is mainly used by psychoanalysts, aims to bring conflicts and traumas that have been pushed into the subconscious mind to the conscious level in order to understand and/or alleviate current suffering and disorders.

Humanistic therapies
The humanistic approach is based on a positive view of humanity and its innate urge for self-realization. These therapies help to mobilize the forces of psychological growth and to develop one's own potential.

The quality of the relationship is extremely important

The success of a mental health treatment depends on your relationship with the practitioner. If you do not feel comfortable or do not have confidence in the practitioner, it is important to address this. If the situation does not improve after a few sessions, go to another practitioner with whom you feel more comfortable and in whom you can confide.

The duration of the treatment can vary greatly

The duration can range from a single session to long-term treatment. Depending on the reason for the treatment, the need, the therapeutic method used, and other factors, the sessions can be very far apart, very frequent, or can vary over time.

Mental health is an important part of your health

Take mental problems as seriously as any other health problem: If one or more symptoms persist and affect your well-being or normal functioning, contact a professional health care professional.

With the support of the Cercle des Médecins Généralistes (CMG), the Luxembourg Society of Psychiatry, Paediatric Psychiatry, and Psychotherapy (SLPPP), the Luxembourg Psychological Society (LPS) and the Association of Psychotherapists' Associations in Luxembourg (FAPSYLUX).

As part of Action No 9 of the Luxembourg National Suicide Prevention Plan (2015-2019) under the auspices of the Ministry of Health and coordinated by the Service Information et Prévention of the Ligue Luxembourgeoise d'Hygiène Mentale.

Prévention Dépression Luxembourg