As a Marriage and Family Therapist who is new to Israel I am facing interesting stigma because my degree and license is not recognized in my new home. This is something I wrote on a fb group I am apart of because I felt like people just don’t respect my degree. I understand that certain terms like Coach, psychotherapist, therapist are not regulated depending on what state/country your in and that many people will try to perpetrate like they are something they are not but this should not be the reason people like myself (and other’s who I have met with MFT’s in Israel) should be stigmatized or delegated into nothing. So my message today is for you to stand up for yourself always. Don’t let people tear you down because of their own stuff. Know your worth. Know your value. Self Advocacy
This is what I shared with the group: “So here is the thing I’ve learned in my limited time learning about MH in Israel. Psychologist and social workers are regulated titles-regulated but the Ministry of Education. There is specific training that is required for you to be able to earn the right to call yourself that. If your a new olim who was trained as a psychologist or a social worker it appears that getting your degree and licensed recognized is fairly easy to do. Then there are people like myself, who in the states have gone to school passed our state licensing boards and can practice therapy independently. I myself am a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist in California. There are people who are licensed professional counselor’s as well. For us getting our degrees recognized in Israel is not possible. My program did not require me to write a thesis (nor can I do psychological testing) so I don’t qualify as a psychologist. My degree does not meet the criteria for social work either because that was not my training. I have taken the time to specialize in treating children who’ve experienced child abuse and I have a certification with Bruce Perry’s Neurosequential Model of Therapeutics. So does this mean I shouldn’t be able to practice as a therapist even though I am licensed and qualified? I think there are enough of olim like myself who are willing to lobby to change that so that we can continue to practice in the field we love, studied, and worked for years in before making the choice make aliyah. I know I was really reluctant to make aliyah because of this-I love doing therapy-I’ve wanted to do it since I was 10 y/o and I really hated that I would have to pick between these two loves (Therapy and Israel). Luckily I don’t have too. So my advice for people seeking treatment is to call around and ask about peoples credentials. Everything is on the internet so you can look people up and do your homework. Ask friends or others for direct referrals. Sorry this is so long but it’s something I find really frustrating-like people look down on me as a therapist because I’m not a psychologist or a social worker even though I’ve been in the field for more than a decade. Always with anyone do your homework before spending the money but don’t just shrug off a therapist because they are not a psychologist or social worker.”
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Until we connect again,