Child psychologist: when to make an appointment for my child?

Clár ábhair

Child psychologist: when to make an appointment for my child?

To find an attentive ear, without judgment, and which perceives at the same time the family and school difficulties… the dream. This benevolent support exists thanks to child psychologists. Subject to professional secrecy, they bring a neutral perspective on everyday problems, from infancy to adolescence, and give a good breath of fresh air.

How is a child psychologist trained?

A child psychologist is a psychologist specializing in early childhood. The title of child psychologist is a diploma issued by the state. To exercise this profession, you must have completed at least five years of university studies in psychology, validated by a state diploma (DE) at master’s level 2, with a specialization in child psychology.

Unlike the child psychiatrist, the child psychologist is not a doctor. He can in no case prescribe a drug treatment. In order to understand the child’s difficulties, the child psychologist can use certain tests, including that of the intelligence quotient as well as personality tests. These tests require an authorization issued by the state.

Or consult a child psychologist? 

The psychologist can be consulted in private practice, in a hospital, in medico-social centers, or via schools, because there are school psychologists. In public structures, and under the prescription of an attending physician, its services are covered by health insurance. In a liberal cabinet, they can be reimbursed by certain mutuals.

There are also psychotherapists and psychoanalysts specializing in early childhood. They are very often doctors, psychiatrists or psychologists who are specialized in private institute or under the leadership of a professional organization.

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If the profession of psychoanalyst is well controlled, that of psychotherapist remains rather vague. Before entrusting your child to a psychotherapist who is neither a psychologist nor a psychiatrist, it is preferable to find out about his training, his diplomas obtained and by word of mouth.

For what reason (s) to consult a child psychologist?

When a child’s entourage begins to notice disturbances that persist:

  • a delay in its development;
  • a change in behavior or physiology (weight loss, weight gain);
  • difficulty sleeping or falling asleep;
  • speech delay, sudden silence, stammering;
  • abnormal bedwetting (bedwetting). 

Pain such as repeated stomach aches or headaches should also be questioned. Once the physical causes are eliminated thanks to the attending physician, there may also be a psychic cause. A child who is the victim of bullying at school, for example, may complain of colic or migraines. Not being possible for him to discuss the subject with his parents, it is his body that will speak for him.

Child psychologists also offer support to adolescents for:

  • stress related to school guidance;
  • addictive or dangerous behavior for their health;
  • depression, suicidal thoughts;
  • managing exam stress;
  • motivation in learning;
  • self-esteem, cultivate self-confidence.

They can also be a good resource for parents who want advice on:

  • míchumais foghlama;
  • the place of parents;
  • family ties ;
  • mourning.

And of course to discuss the stress caused by the pandemic or to help find the right words to get through this disturbing time for all.

What is the price of a session?

The consultation varies between 40 and 80 € depending on the time required, the age of the child and the place of consultation. Depending on the need, the child psychologist suggests a minimum number of sessions to resolve the disorder, but this number of sessions is at the patient’s convenience.

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The family can decide at any time to stop the consultations or to change professionals if this does not suit them. You have to feel confident. The attending physician can then refer to another practitioner of his knowledge.


The school psychologist

In France, 3500 school psychologists work in public nursery and primary schools. They are not called “child psychologists” but they also have extensive expertise in the field of childhood.

It does not provide psychological follow-up but can be a first attentive ear and without judgment to discuss the difficulties of a student and his family.

The advantage of this professional is that he is present within the walls of the school and has a regular permanence. It is therefore easy to consult him and he is also subject to professional secrecy like his colleagues.


He is available to speak:

  • disorders that handicap the child;
  • trials of life (sick brother or sister or parent, bereavement, etc.);
  • alert the family to psychological distress, etc.

This professional works closely with the teaching teams, and is a privileged mediator between the educational institution and the family. Behavioral problems can be related to school difficulties, and conversely school problems can be caused by the family environment.

This professional therefore makes it possible to make the link between the two and to consider the child and his family in a holistic manner. Depending on his assumptions, he will then direct the student and his family to the professional or organization that can help them in the long term.


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