Frequently Asked Questions
In this space I report the most frequently asked questions that I and other colleagues in psychology receive. Q is for Question and A stands for Answer. For example:
Q: Come on, you're a psychologist? That's cool! Can you psychoanalyze me?
A: No. Psychology is not a game but a human science that can not be practiced seriously if treated as bar talk.
Q: Cool, you're a psychologist! But then have I to be careful to what I say and do?
A: No more than usual: I do not have super powers that lead me to know life, death and miracles of you watching you for a few minutes.
Q: What exactly the psychologist does and why a person may hire him? Is it about treating crazy people?
A: Not at all. Although psychology can also be applied in the clinical setting, it is the science that studies human mind and behavior in various fields and its members promote individual and social well-being. You may hire a psychologist for various reasons including treating of mental illness, the pursuit of well-being, change management, self-realization and support for the malaise and discomfort. Some are listed in the section dedicated to services forpeople.
Link for deepening (in Italian): the "Psycho" professions and the myth about NLP
Q: Are you a psychotherapist?
A: No, I do not practice psychotherapy and am not licensed for it.
Q: A psychologist can operate without specialization in psychotherapy? It is a necessary specialization?
A: Psychotherapy is a specialization and the psychotherapist profession is cumulative with the psychologist (or psychiatrist) one. The psychologist has its operational tools and activities that he can run, and are are dictated by many international laws as the Italian art. 1 of Law 56/89 of establishment of the psychological profession: "The profession of psychologist includes the use of cognitive tools and intervention for the prevention, diagnosis, habilitation-rehabilitation activities and support in the psychological profession aimed at individuals, groups, social organizations and communities. It also includes the activities of experimentation, research and teaching in this area". The specialization in psychotherapy is only one of many that a psychologist may undertake and, taken individually, is no guarantee of greater professional skills for a psychologist: it depends on the task.
External link for deepening (Italian): What a non-psychotherapist psychologist can do? by HumanTrainer.it
Video "Psychologist treats mind disorders without psychotherapy" (though not me directly). Subtitles in English may be available.
Q: When the psychologist performs professional abuse? It is true that there is a limit of 5 seats/sessions?
A: The psychologist who is not a psychotherapist can work with a person who has any type of pathology but must remain in his field. So, the important thing are the objectives that we propose with the user. Abuse happens if such objectives are psychotherapeutic and the psychologist has no such specialization, otherwise (eg. personal growth, empowerment, counseling, etc.) the psycholoigst is doing his professional job. It's just the nature of the task which determines the mode of operating and there is no mandatory limit to sessions, as confirmed by the Order of Psychologists of Sardinia Region, Italy.
Q: Does a psychologist needs habilitation courses to make the counselor or the coach?
A: No. The license to practice as a psychologist is much more than enough. Depth courses are available for those who feel having to do them. In addition, there are other courses that "enable" non-psychologists to this activity, however, they are raising many concerns. According to the judgment of the Court of Milan, Italy (see download below), "the teaching of the use of the tools to strangers is equivalent in every way to facilitate the unlawful practice of the profession."
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Q: Do you practice NLP? Would you recommend it?
A: No and No. The so called Neuro Linguistic Programming is a pseudo-science that has never passed the test of empirical verification or, when it works (often with manipulative intents), it is a theft from psychology and away to practice as a psychologist without a regular license.
Q: What are the tax benefits? (note: this question is related to Italian laws and may find no equivalent in UK laws)
A: The so called "service performances" (eg. The assessment of job-related stress; recruitment etc.) can be deducted from the total income of the user, and then amortized with a benefit equal to the maximum rate that reaches as taxpayer. If you are a company or a freelancer with VAT, essentially you are paying less in taxes and you recover a significant portion of the spent amount.
Health benefits instead (eg. Personal counseling or group) are usually not subjected to VAT and may be deducted up to 19% from taxes paid by the user (in practice, with a recovery of almost two meetings out of 10). These benefits are provided by the Italian tax system and may vary accordingly.
Q: I am a worker, how can I deduct or detract the cost of benefits from taxes?
A: You should contact your accountant and ask for specific information.
Q: How do I know who is a good psychologist and who does not?
A: It is a question that goes beyond the psychological profession and that concerns all those professionals to which people seldon ask for service, not every day. If a baker makes a bad bread, it takes little time to understand that we do not like it and that we prefer the bread made by other bakers. When this process concenrs an intellectual specialist, it is more difficult because we are not always able to make comparisons among different products and services. In my opinion, you can have good clues from the first meeting with the professional, considering the transparency shown to build the relationship with the customer, the work that the professional proposes to schedule in favor of the user without generating dependency, the humility of knowing self-limiting (rather than accepting assignments for which it is authorized by law but incompetent in reality) and fairness, through the issuance of tax invoices and payment of taxes.
Q: Where is your nickname Orion from? Why its use is so common?
A: It is simply a kind of trademark that I use since my adolescence and has remained so over the years. It comes from my curiosity for space and constellations (astronomy, not astrology!) and for teenage passion for rock music: the nickname derives from the Metallica's song "Orion" (which I particularly liked the intro that, in my opinion, really makes the idea of outer space) but has nothing to do with the greek myth of Orion.