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  • Writer's pictureMalin Rignéus

How to find an English-speaking therapist in Oslo

Updated: Mar 3

Do you feel more comfortable expressing yourself in your native tongue? I’ve noticed most people in therapy feel more comfortable communicating in their own language. It’s only natural to feel more relaxed speaking about your emotions in the language you grew up with.

In fact, sometimes there are certain nuances and cultural reference points that are tricky to translate into another language. For therapy to work well it’s important to feel comfortable in order to build a solid foundation of trust with your therapist.

Therapist and client sitting opposite each other smiling in a mental health clinic.
Finding a suitably matched practitioner is important for therapy to progress well

Photo credit: wix

The national healthcare route

As a newly arrived expat in Norway, it can be quite challenging to navigate the national mental healthcare system as much of the public information is communicated in Norwegian only. My aim is to provide you with some practical insight into the process so you can locate the therapist with the best fit for you. Please note the following information is not related to asylum seekers, as they have other resources available to them.

The starting point to access national health care is to acquire a so-called identification number. There are two types in Norway and as a foreigner you can contact Skatteetaten (tax authority) to apply for the one most suitable to your specific circumstances.

If you’re experiencing any non-urgent mental health issues and have received a D or fødelsenummer (birth identification number) from Skatteetaten, the normal route through the Norwegian health system would be to book an appointment via your personally assigned GP (Fastlege).

You can book an appointment in the Helsenorge app yourself. If your GP isn't able to assist, you can ask for a referral to a mental health specialist (distrikts psykiatrisk senter) or a therapist in private practise with governmental funding. Like in many other countries, the drawbacks of being referred to a psychologist within the public system is that it’s often accompanied with long waiting times. In addition, you might not have flexibility in choosing the therapist yourself, compared to a private practice.

However, the costs are significantly lower. Rask Psykisk helsehjelp is a low threshold treatment option if you’re experiencing anxiety or mild to moderate depression. You don’t require a referral from your GP (if you’re above 16 years old). This route is offered by the Kommune for free. It’s also available if you have sleeping issues or starting to develop alcohol dependency.

Privately practising English-speaking therapists

A simple google search is normally the best way forward for the most up to date information on private clinics or individual practitioners offering therapy in various languages. Consider if it's important for you to have a therapist who has experience from working and living abroad possibly with a deeper understanding of issues facing internationals.

Please note, this information is not conclusive, but could serve as an initial starting point for your search of seeking non-emergency mental health assistance in Oslo. For more information, please feel free to contact the relevant therapist. The information was to the best of my knowledge accurate at the time of publishing but might change over time. Please don't hesitate to get in touch if you need any further assistance or contact the appropriate governmental body for more advise.

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