Psychologist in Norway

A psychologist can help you with all kinds of psychological problems, from mild and delimited problems in life to severe mental illness.

Foto: LightField / Mostphotos (illustration photo)

Everyone resident in Norway is entitled to receive essential mental healthcare. Your general practitioner (GP) will normally try to help you first if you are experiencing mild or moderate mental health problems.

Emergency care

In critical situations, call 113. In less urgent cases, call 116 117 to speak to your nearest out-of-hours medical service ("legevakt"). The out-of-hours medical service may refer you to a psychiatric out-of-hours medical service, a psychiatric emergency care team, or 24-hour care.

How do I get an appointment with a psychologist?

See your general practitioner first
Your general practitioner (GP) will normally try to help you first if you are experiencing mild or moderate problems. Before asking your GP for help, it can be a good idea to think about what you want first. Are there any services available in your municipality to help you cope with mental health problems? Many municipalities offer courses on depression or stress.

Your GP will be able to help you decide whether you should be referred to a psychologist.

Psychologists in municipalities

The health services of many municipalities and districts employ psychologists. More information on how to get in touch with them can be found on the website of the municipality or district.

The specialist health service
In consultation with your GP, you should decide whether you should be referred to the specialist healthcare service, which includes district psychiatric centres and contracting specialists. If you are under 18 years of age, you can get help from a Child and Adolescent Psychiatric Out-patient Clinic (BUP).

District psychiatric centres (DPS)

If you have a more serious ailment or problem, you can be referred to a district psychiatric centre. These centres offer various types of treatment, including conversational therapy. Their day-care departments often treat people with problems or disorders such as anxiety, eating disorders and obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD).

Child and Adolescent Psychiatric Out-patient Clinics (BUP)

Children and young people under 18 years of age can get help from a Child and Adolescent Psychiatric Out-patient Clinic (BUP). BUP helps children and their families through evaluation, treatment, counselling and facilitation relating to mental health problems, behavioural issues and learning difficulties.

GPs, school doctors, child welfare service officers, doctors at young people's health clinics and other doctors you see can refer you to BUP. You are entitled to an assessment of the referral to BUP within 14 days.

Contracting specialists

Contracting specialists ("avtalespesialister") are privately practising psychologists and psychiatrists who have an operating agreement with the regional health trust. Psychologists with an operating agreement are part of the specialist health service and collaborate with the local district psychiatric centre (DPS).

Find a private psychologist

Many psychologists have a private practice without any operating agreement with the health trust. You can search online for a psychologist who does not have an operating agreement in your region. 

On the website of the Norwegian Psychological Association, you will find the service entitled Find a psychologist, where you can search for available psychologists in the whole of Norway.

Waiting times and payment

Waiting times

How long you have to wait before you can get an appointment with a psychologist will vary. You must allow at least four to six weeks for your referral to be processed. You will be notified by post if and when you have been given an appointment.

Waiting times to see a psychologist who does not have an operating agreement can also vary. Some psychologists can offer you an immediate appointment.

Payment

In the case of psychologists who have an operating agreement, you will have to pay a fixed user fee for every hour of treatment. The user fee varies with the duration of the consultation. Children and young people under 18 years of age do not need to pay a user fee in order to see a psychologist.

The user fee to see a psychologist with an operating agreement will be included in your exemption card amount. This does not apply to payments to psychologists who do not have an operating agreement with the health trust.

What can a psychologist help me with?

Psychologists can help you with all kinds of psychological problems, from mild and delimited problems in life to severe mental illness. You and the psychologist will together determine the type of therapy that is best for you.

A psychologist can also help you if you are struggling with specific problems and need to discuss the matter with someone you can confide in. Talking to a psychologist can help, for example when you find thoughts, feelings or actions difficult because your life has taken a downturn or there are obstacles in your life which you find difficult to overcome on your own.

You do not have to prepare anything before you see a psychologist.

Duty of confidentiality

Duty of confidentiality is absolutely pivotal to the relationship of trust between you and the psychologist. Only in very specific situations where your life or health is in danger can the duty of confidentiality be deviated from. 

If the psychologist becomes aware that they could prevent a serious crime or that children are at risk, they will have a duty to notify the police and the child welfare service respectively.

Psychologist, psychiatrist and psychotherapist

Psychologists are authorised to practise as healthcare professionals. Being authorised means that the psychologist is subject to certain specific obligations and responsibilities which are regulated by law, such as the duty of confidentiality and the duty to keep records.

Psychiatrists are doctors who have completed further education in the investigation and treatment of psychiatric disorders. Psychiatrists have the leading competence in the treatment of psychiatric disorders using drugs.

Psychotherapist is not a protected title, and practitioners who call themselves a psychotherapist are not subject to any formal qualification requirements.