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How to Find the Right Therapist in Lisbon

Last Updated on July 3, 2024 by It’s Complicated

Finding a therapist in Lisbon is tricky, whether you’re an expat living in Portugal or a permanent resident here. This reality is especially disheartening when considering Portugal’s sobering status as the bearer of the second-highest prevalence of mental disorders in Europe. The country stands at a concerning 22.9%, as per the Society of Psychiatry and Mental Health.

Why is it so hard to find a therapist in Lisbon?

Lisbon is a bustling city teeming with people, all of whom have their own unique mental health needs. In fact, 1 out of every 5 Portuguese experiences or has experienced mental illness. The number of people seeking therapy also equates to lengthy wait times, and available therapists may be few and far between. Despite the need for therapists, Portugal had an approximate ratio of 2.5 psychologists for every 100,000 residents in 2020.

The city requires them to complete specific education and training programs, as well as obtain professional certifications or licenses from relevant authorities. These regulations ensure that therapists meet particular standards of competence and ethical conduct. Still, they also create barriers to entry for new practitioners, which can limit the overall number of therapists available. Portugal’s strict regulations for foreign psychologists wishing to practice in the country pose another significant barrier. While an influx of therapists from abroad could help alleviate the shortage of therapists in Lisbon, these regulations discourage them from pursuing practice in Portugal.

Regulatory constraints complex the process further. Therapists in Lisbon must adhere to strict regulations and licensing requirements, which can limit the number of practitioners available to meet the city’s burgeoning demand for mental health services.

English-speaking therapists in Lisbon

English is widely spoken in Lisbon, but not all therapists are fluent. This can pose a significant obstacle for expats or non-native Portuguese speakers seeking therapy in Lisbon. Without effective communication, there cannot be meaningful therapy sessions.

Navigating the landscape of therapy in Lisbon, Portugal, can be challenging for expats, but these resources should assist you in finding an English-speaking therapist in Lisbon.

Online Directories:

  • Expats seeking therapists in Portugal can explore online directory websites like It’s Complicated and TherapyRoute to find therapists offering in-person or online services.
  • Doctoralia also offers a directory where some English-speaking psychologists in Lisbon can be contacted.

Official Psychologist Registry:

  • The Ordem dos Psicólogos Portugueses (OPP) is the official website for psychologists in Portugal. Psychologists practicing in Portugal are legally required to be registered here. The OPP website ( provides comprehensive information and resources. Subscribing to their newsletter ensures staying updated on new regulations and laws.
  • While the OPP website primarily serves Portuguese-speaking individuals, it can still be a useful resource for finding psychologists.

Encontre Uma Saída:

  • Encontre Uma Saída ( is a platform where individuals can find psychologists through the OPP. However, it caters primarily to Portuguese-speaking individuals.

Crisis helplines and emergency services

SNS24 – National Health Service Contact Centre:

  • SNS24 offers telephone and online support, providing guidance on various health concerns. This service is available 24/7, ensuring assistance whenever needed.
  • Telephone: (+351) 808 242 424 (cost of a local phone call)
  • Online Support: SNS24 Website

São José Hospital Psychiatry Emergency Service:

  • For critical situations that cannot wait for assessment at a Health Centre, the Psychiatry Emergency Service at São José Hospital is available round the clock, seven days a week.
  • Telephone: (+351) 218 841 000
  • Address: Rua José António Serrano, 1150-199 Lisbon

Estefânia Hospital Child Psychiatry Emergency Service:

  • Specifically catering to children, the Child Psychiatry Emergency Service at Estefânia Hospital is available around the clock to address urgent mental health needs.
  • Telephone: (+351) 213 126 666
  • Address: Rua Jacinta Marto, 1169-045 Lisbon

Addiction Services

Street Teams – CRESCER

  • Contact: (+351) 21 362 01 92 / 912 545 455 / 913 836 729
  • Website:

Supervised Consumption Program – Médicos do Mundo and Grupo de Ativistas em Tratamentos (GAT)

How to get therapy covered by Portuguese Health Insurance

Quality mental health care often comes with a substantial price tag, so not everyone can afford to pay out of pocket for therapy sessions. If you are a resident in Portugal, you can get therapy covered by health insurance by following these steps:

  1. Expats residing in Portugal can access subsidized basic healthcare through the SNS by contributing to the Social Security System (Segurança Social de Saúde), covering the mainland of Portugal. For those in Madeira or Azores, healthcare is accessible through Serviço de Saúde da RAM or Direção Regional de Saúde, respectively.
  2. Obtain your healthcare user number (número de utente) if you are a registered resident in Portugal, whether you’re an expatriate or foreigner. This number allows access to healthcare services in any SNS institution, including hospitals and local health centers.
  3. Schedule an appointment with your general practitioner (médico de família) for an assessment and referral to a specialist or hospital if necessary.
  4. Within the primary health care system, mental health consultations and related diagnostic and therapeutic procedures prescribed by an SNS doctor are exempt from co-payment fees (taxa moderadora). This includes clinical follow-up psychiatric consultations for both adults and children, as well as all consultations and procedures under the Mental Health Law.
  5. Alternatively, you can opt for a consultation at a private clinic with a psychologist (psicólogo) or a psychiatrist (psiquiatra) to address your mental health needs. Costs associated with private care depend on your insurance coverage – you can read about finding an english-speaking therapist in Lisbon below.
  6. EU/EFTA citizens temporarily staying in Portugal can utilize the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) for healthcare access similar to their home countries. However, EHIC should only be used for urgent medical needs, and travel insurance is recommended for comprehensive coverage.

Thinking right about finding a therapist in Lisbon

So, how can you overcome these challenges and find the right therapist in Amsterdam? Even though it could seem overwhelming at first, you can get the help you need if you have patience, persistence, and some advice. Here are some pointers to aid you with your journey:

  • Define Your Needs: Before you start your quest, consider the characteristics you are looking for in a therapist. Think about the treatment approach, specialization, and cultural sensitivity you want. This can help you narrow down the list of potential therapists and help you choose the right one for you.
  • Ask for Recommendations: Portugal relies heavily on word of mouth, making recommendations a common way for individuals to find therapists. Seeking referrals from friends, family, or colleagues may lead the way to discovering a suitable therapist for you. The search for therapist recommendations can also be facilitated by participating in online discussion forums and support groups.
  • Utilise Online Directories: Therapists in Amsterdam can be found on several internet directories and platforms. You can even get their qualifications, specialisations, and contact details here. Websites like TherapyRouteIt’s Complicated, and Psychology Today are great places to start.
  • Reach Out to Professional Associations: Contacting organisations such as the Portuguese Association for Psychiatry (APDP) and the Portuguese Association of Mental Health and Addiction Care (APMHA) can facilitate your search for a therapist in Lisbon. They may also connect you with specialists who cater to specific mental health needs.
  • Be Persistent: Don’t be discouraged if you encounter obstacles or setbacks in your search for an Lisbon therapist. Keep reaching out to different professionals, and don’t hesitate to ask questions or seek clarification regarding their services. Remember, finding the right therapist is worth the effort.

Uncomplicating the search for a therapist

Undeniably, finding the right therapist in Lisbon can be complicated. But with the above-given factors in place, you’ll reach a safe decision. You can simple down the process with a therapist directory platform such as It’s Complicated.

The platform has access to mental health practitioners from more than 80 countries, including trained therapists in Portugal. They also offer a free online therapist matching service, completed by trained psychologists.

Advantages of Discovering Your Therapist via It’s Complicated

  • No Setup Costs: Creating an account and reaching out to therapists is entirely cost-free.
  • Transparent Pricing: You’ll only pay the session fee, with no concealed booking fees.
  • Precise Search: Utilise our robust search tool to pinpoint therapists based on your specific preferences.
  • Thorough Listings: Easily explore therapists categorised by their specialty, approach, location, and language.

It’s Complicated is a therapy platform that not only helps clients find their perfect therapist but also supports therapists in their craft of helping others. Featuring over 2,000 mental health professionals from 80+ countries, counselling is available in almost 100 languages, both online and in person. A GDPR-compliant video solution, encrypted messaging, and easy invoicing guarantee a private and seamless counselling experience for therapists and clients alike. If you are in a serious crisis and need urgent help, please use one of these resources instead.

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