Creation of an order, freedom of exercise, ethics … Psychologists take to the streets

Psychologists gather throughout France to protest against various legislative measures and announcements concerning their profession. Among them, the constitution of an Order, similar to that of physicians.

Wind of anger among psychologists. In Paris, in front of the Ministry of Health, and in about twenty departments, near the prefectures or regional health agencies (ARS), the profession meets on Thursday June 10, at 1 p.m., at the call of several trade unions. , including the UFMICT-CGT (Federal Union of Doctors, Engineers, Managers, Technicians) and the French Federation of Psychologists and Psychology (FFPP).

In their sights: the decree of March 10, 2021, which, according to them, calls into question the “diversity of practices“And”freedom of exercise»Psychologists, as well as experiments in several departments, making access to a psychologist dependent on a doctor’s prescription. But also, more recently, a bill tabled by Les Républicains in the National Assembly, relating to the creation of an Order of psychologists, on the model of that of doctors.

“Reassure the French”

Carried by the deputy of Vaucluse Julien Aubert, this text recorded on April 7 will pass before the Social Affairs Committee of the National Assembly next October. He exposes the need to create “an ordinal body devoted to mental health“. Based on the observation that the number of psychologists has increased by 50% in eight years, he points to “big blur»Around the different branches of the profession. “People do not meet there», Summarizes with the Figaro Julien Aubert, who considers that this bill “would reassure the French“. With this text, the elected representative on the right wishes “agree on a single term to designate“The profession and”better delimit“Ramifications which have”nothing to see“, according to him. This Order would act as a catalyst and give its president a certain “preeminence“. With a major role: that of “make the police», As Julien Aubert explains.

This Order of psychologists would have several consequences. First, the profession would be reserved for holders of a diploma, certificate or title attesting to university and basic training appearing on a list fixed by decree in the Council of State. “The purpose of this law is to establish common rules“, Argues the deputy LR, who regrets”the plurality of courses and schoolsIn the profession. Then, the Order would have the power to ensure the maintenance of the principles of ethics, morality, probity and competence essential to the exercise of the profession. To do this, a code of ethics would be created in the form of a decree. Finally, the members of the board would play a role of conciliator in the event of a dispute between patient and professional. Currently, according to the text, “complaints to psychologists are unsuccessful and legal proceedings are almost non-existent».

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The profession has not been consulted

So many elements that would allow the State to “formalize a profession that has been built up over time“And which remains”fractional“, Concludes Julien Aubert, who claims to have”received dozens of messages of supportFrom psychologists. However, those concerned say they discovered the existence of this bill with amazement. Trade unions and associations also complain that the profession has never been consulted. Gilles Métais, leader of the national collective of psychologists of the UFMICT-CGT, is particularly surprised by the presence of a code of ethics in the text of the law, which falls, according to him, “like a hair on the soup». «We are completely opposed to the creation of an order, since the profession already has a charter , revised, updated regularly, he assures the Figaro. Twenty-one organizations reflect on this code on a permanent, regular basis. We don’t want Parliament to legislate».

Gilles Métais also does not understand the usefulness of drawing up a list of “persons authorized to use the title of psychologist»For each department, as proposed by the deputies’ text. “Today, psychologists have the obligation to register on an ADELI list», He specifies, with reference to the national directories which guarantee the identification of health professionals and feed into the health directory. Finally, he regrets that this “article of law orders such and such thingTo the profession. “There is a will of the political power to legislate on what psychologists must do“, Deplores the trade unionist, before concluding:”We want to be free with regard to methods”Of work.

Refusal to be confined to the health sector

One provision of this bill particularly crystallizes the tensions: that of grouping the many existing ordinal institutions into one, in order to affiliate them to the health professions. Psychologists in fact refuse to be confined to this strict domain. In a petition, signed by nearly 300 professionals (including many teacher-researchers and university professors) and more than 7,000 people in total, psychologists insist that their profession “brings together many disciplines which make the richness and specificity of [leur] job“. Psychology “is composed of academics and researchers working in very diverse fields on modeling, tools or the observation of psychological processes in the fields of social, clinical, psychopathological, development, neurobiology and psychology differential or experimental, on an individual and collective scale”, Lists the petition. It is out of the question, therefore, for the profession to be affiliated with health, while it also works in the fields of National Education, Justice, Defense, and in the business world, but also in liberal statute, within the functions of State, hospital and territorial or in associations.

“Psychology brings together many disciplines which make the richness and specificity of our profession”.

The signatories of the petition

«We are not healthcare professionals», Hammers at the Figaro the initiator of the petition, Catherine Reichert, clinical psychologist and psychotherapist at the Necker-Enfants Malades hospital. “This is really the limit of this law: we are experts in the psyche coming from the human and social sciences.“, She explains, emphasizing the”big difference“Which exists with the medical community and insisting on the”pluralism“. According to the specialist, the bill thus aims to launch “medical training for all psychologists». More “we are not doctors“, She repeats, fearing that this law will lead to a”paramedicalizationOf the profession. Catherine Reichert also considers that this text represents a form of “denial of part of the profession». «It’s unbearable to see that colleagues will be denied», She laments.

A law as “badly lived” as “unwelcome”

Another element poses a problem for psychologists: timing. “It happens at the start of the fourth wave [du Covid-19, NDLR] : we are exhausted, exhausted, we work really, really hard», Testifies Catherine Reichert who evokes a law also«badly lived” what “unwelcome“. Above all, the psychologist does not understand why the profession was not consulted, although she has been working on her side for many years on an autonomous structure. “The bill does not respect the wishes of the majority of us», She says to the Figaro. According to her, the polls conducted internally are clear: a large majority of psychologists do not want an Order. And if Catherine Reichert recognizes “dissensions“And many”internal debates“, She also believes that these discussions”show something very alive in this profession».

“We are exhausted, exhausted”

Catherine Reichert, psychologist

For her, this bill is therefore the straw that broke the camel’s back. It is in fact added to the many experiments carried out for several years, and to the very unpopular decree of March 10, 2021, relating to the definition of the specific expertise of psychologists. A text which aims, according to associations of psychologists, to subordinate the practice of the profession to the medical field and to the recommendations of the High Authority for Health, and to reduce the diversity of its practices. So many reasons, for psychologists, to pound the pavement throughout France this Thursday from 1 p.m.


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