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Old 12.08.2011, 07:08
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Moving to liberal CH??

Hello,

I am again trying to move to CH. I am a dual citizen, US and CH, and would like to see if I am able to find work and make a living in CH. I am a licensed Psychologist (doctoral level). I speak French and German well enough to communicate but not to practice psychology (yet!!). I currently live on the west coast in Oregon. Hence, I am looking for a more liberal/alternative part of CH. I have read that the French part is less conservative than the rest of the country. Is that others' thoughts as well? As far as work I was thinking about something along the lines of teaching English or tutoring to get by while studying the language intensely. I was thinking of a UN job but that is a big process and I have two girls, aged 9 & 11 and would prefer to work part-time. I have been homeschooling them but would not be opposed to putting them in school. I don't know the homeschooling laws in CH. I would welcome anyone's thoughts/opinions on jobs, what parts are more liberal, and anything else that my be useful.

Thanks so much for reading,
Diane
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Old 12.08.2011, 08:27
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Re: Moving to liberal CH??

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I have read that the French part is less conservative than the rest of the country.
This probably correctly describes it.

Nowhere in Switzerland can be described as what I would call liberal but the cities will be less conservative than the country and the French probably less than the German speaking.
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Old 12.08.2011, 08:33
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Re: Moving to liberal CH??

Not disagreeing.....just struggling to understand the logic

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I speak French and German well enough to communicate but not to practice psychology (yet!!). I currently live on the west coast in Oregon. Hence, I am looking for a more liberal/alternative part of CH.
What about living in Oregon or your language is making you seek a liberal part of Switzerland?? Or are they unconnected?

As the other poster said....its a matter of degrees here.....nowhere has a West Coast or a Key West vibe and to be honest, I'm not sure you should make a decision based upon that because the differences are really not that big.

Maybe the language thing is a barrier for you - but in my experience, the most chilled out, life loving place here is in the Ticino area near the Italian border
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Old 12.08.2011, 08:36
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Re: Moving to liberal CH??

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Hello,

I am again trying to move to CH. I am a dual citizen, US and CH, and would like to see if I am able to find work and make a living in CH. I am a licensed Psychologist (doctoral level). I speak French and German well enough to communicate but not to practice psychology (yet!!). I currently live on the west coast in Oregon. Hence, I am looking for a more liberal/alternative part of CH. I have read that the French part is less conservative than the rest of the country. Is that others' thoughts as well? As far as work I was thinking about something along the lines of teaching English or tutoring to get by while studying the language intensely. I was thinking of a UN job but that is a big process and I have two girls, aged 9 & 11 and would prefer to work part-time. I have been homeschooling them but would not be opposed to putting them in school. I don't know the homeschooling laws in CH. I would welcome anyone's thoughts/opinions on jobs, what parts are more liberal, and anything else that my be useful.

Thanks so much for reading,
Diane
Rather than prioritising the "liberal" areas, why not prioritise from a professional point of view. Research which areas are likely to pull in most business and mix you with similar professions. In the same vein, you might want to concentrate your search on the bigger cities where there is likely to be more demand for psychological services. In addition, as you say you are not strong in the local languages, you should look for somewhere where you can advertise yourself as an English speaking psychologist and get a reasonable client-base.

This would be hard to achieve in rural areas.

Basing yourself in Zurich or Geneva might be more of an option for you. There is a big expat contingent and most of us are going nuts if you read the posts on this forum.
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Old 12.08.2011, 08:46
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Re: Moving to liberal CH??

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Rather than prioritising the "liberal" areas,
This would be hard to achieve in rural areas.

Basing yourself in Zurich or Geneva might be more of an option for you..... and most of us are going nuts if you read the posts on this forum.
You see how sophisticated they are in Zurich about mental health professionals......you wouldn't get that in those rural areas
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Old 12.08.2011, 08:52
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Re: Moving to liberal CH??

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Not disagreeing.....just struggling to understand the logic



What about living in Oregon or your language is making you seek a liberal part of Switzerland?? Or are they unconnected?
Coastal Oregon (and the Willamette Valley) are very liberal (crunchy granola).
The rest of Oregon is conservative like a Mormon housewife.

The connection is that, no sane, American liberal wants to live in a conservative region. *full body shiver*
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Old 12.08.2011, 09:04
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Re: Moving to liberal CH??

hahaha oh my gosh. That is exactly the connection. I currently live in Eugene (in the Willamette Valley) and it's as crunchy as you can get. I am a bit shocked when I meet someone who eats meat, is not an environmentalist and doesn't wear tie-dye.
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Old 12.08.2011, 09:14
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Re: Moving to liberal CH??

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I am a bit shocked when I meet someone who eats meat, is not an environmentalist and doesn't wear tie-dye.
Something tells me that Switzerland is not for you ...
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Old 12.08.2011, 09:14
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Re: Moving to liberal CH??

Gee, what a concept! Look for a location where the possibility of a job exists. Thank you so much for the "tip" (duh). I'm just so wrapped up in getting everything ready to move that the obvious has eluded me. I actually wrote this whole post and then it somehow got lost. I was frustrated and quickly wrote it again not paying too much attention to the ordering and rational behind my thoughts. Thanks
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Old 12.08.2011, 09:21
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Re: Moving to liberal CH??

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hahaha oh my gosh. That is exactly the connection. I currently live in Eugene (in the Willamette Valley) and it's as crunchy as you can get. I am a bit shocked when I meet someone who eats meat, is not an environmentalist and doesn't wear tie-dye.
I knew a lot of vegetarians in the US, and I think with places like Whole Foods and vegan stores around, it's very easy to live a vegetarian lifestyle in the US.

In Switzerland, I haven't seen it as much, and I haven't met any vegetarians. Even in the US I was a 75% vegetarian. Here I really don't find any convenient options so I think now I'm 75% bread eater.

I'm sure we have a lot of vegetarians on this forum who could point you to a veg lifestyle if you'd like.
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Old 12.08.2011, 09:31
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Re: Moving to liberal CH??

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I was a 75% vegetarian.
So that's meat and 3 veg, right?
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Old 12.08.2011, 09:34
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Re: Moving to liberal CH??

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Even in the US I was a 75% vegetarian.
Is that like being 75% pregnant??
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Old 12.08.2011, 09:35
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Re: Moving to liberal CH??

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I knew a lot of vegetarians in the US, and I think with places like Whole Foods and vegan stores around, it's very easy to live a vegetarian lifestyle in the US.

In Switzerland, I haven't seen it as much, and I haven't met any vegetarians. Even in the US I was a 75% vegetarian. Here I really don't find any convenient options so I think now I'm 75% bread eater.

I'm sure we have a lot of vegetarians on this forum who could point you to a veg lifestyle if you'd like.
Even at my workplace cafeteria, there is a special vegetarian dish every day. I think that a vegetarian could get by here. Heck, I've become more vegetarian just to save money - the price of meat is still ridiculous.
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Old 12.08.2011, 10:05
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Re: Moving to liberal CH??

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hahaha oh my gosh. That is exactly the connection. I currently live in Eugene (in the Willamette Valley) and it's as crunchy as you can get. I am a bit shocked when I meet someone who eats meat, is not an environmentalist and doesn't wear tie-dye.
I tried to answer your questions but since I've never lived in the US I struggle to understand the full implications of what being liberal means for you. Liberal here is understood as open, freedom, choice, i.e. people can live the life they want. And you don't seem very accepting of other lifestyles, correct me if I'm wrong.
Most people here recycle, a majority in Zürich and Geneva as well as Basel don't have cars, bicycles are insanely popular and most people have a healthy diet, vegetarian or not. Holier-than-thou environmentalists are not too popular though, living green is too mainstream for that.
You will find that in some areas Switzerland is much more liberal, "advanced" than the US, but despite that people live a more socially conservative life.
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Old 12.08.2011, 10:10
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Re: Moving to liberal CH??

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Gee, what a concept! Look for a location where the possibility of a job exists. Thank you so much for the "tip" (duh). I'm just so wrapped up in getting everything ready to move that the obvious has eluded me. I actually wrote this whole post and then it somehow got lost. I was frustrated and quickly wrote it again not paying too much attention to the ordering and rational behind my thoughts. Thanks
Are you this understanding with your patients..?
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Old 12.08.2011, 10:25
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Re: Moving to liberal CH??

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but in my experience, the most chilled out, life loving place here is in the Ticino area near the Italian border
I would second that opinon. If there were a wild wild west of CH, it would be Ticino, but I still wouldn't call it liberal by american standards. I think anywhere you go in CH will be quite a change though for you.

As per languages and work. Some of the large cities (Zurich or Geneva) may offer you the possiblity to work in English, with such large populations of english speaker. There are indeed a number of English psychologists here in GVA, although most from the UK from what I know. Go most elsewhere in CH, and you will need proficiecy in at least one of the 4 local languages. Assume you have done the homework to see if your degree is recognised here, and gone through the hoops for equivalency.

Just to add re. homeschooling, most of the romande cantons allow it, most of the german speaking cantons prohibit it or at least make it so difficult that it's prohibitive. Seach the forum for homeschooling and you will find.
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Old 12.08.2011, 10:32
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Re: Moving to liberal CH??

Haha, 10 points for using "Switzerland" and "liberal" in the same sentence.
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Old 12.08.2011, 10:42
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Re: Moving to liberal CH??

Thank you for your reply. I'm well aware that CH is a conservative country for the most part but much of the US is also. I just thought it would be a catchy title and that maybe there are more liberal parts than others. I would like to come to CH and see if I can make a go of it. My understanding is that Psychologists are basically not recognized as a profession and can not be licensed and therefore bill insurance companies. They can bill insurance if a medical doctor has referred someone but thed the patient is then basically under the care of the physician. Please anyone correct me if I am wrong. It is hard to investigate everything from the US and I think I just need to be in CH. It seems like Geneva is the place to go along with Zurich. I really appreciate everyone's replies.
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Old 12.08.2011, 11:02
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Re: Moving to liberal CH??

Switzerland has its own set of political axes; it's hard to describe it as either "liberal" or "conservative" in a US sense. The issues are just plain different, and even where the issues are the same the designated left-wing/right-wing positions on them are often different.

Homeschooling rules vary from canton to canton... as do the rules on dogs, fireworks, and nearly anything else you care to name! Basically, Swiss cantons have the autonomy of a US state (or even more - they issue their own residence permits, for instance) with the size and therefore the administrative obsession of a county. And the towns have all the independence of a county (setting their own taxes, building codes, etc.) but of course regulate at a village level. Heights of thresholds, number of cats, shop opening hours, singing outdoors after 10PM...

The resulting system undeniably keeps things running smoothly, but on the flip side you can feel very micro-managed here sometimes.

Back to homeschooling though. There are some cantons where homeschooling is allowed, by anyone, but you usually have to coordinate with local school officials - this could mean that your kids have to sit the local school exams, or it could just mean that local school officials have the right to come in and inspect what you're doing if they so choose. In some cantons it's allowed only if the homeschooling parent is actually a licensed teacher, and in other cantons it isn't allowed at all. If that is important to you it's something you seriously need to investigate before you decide where to move. (To be honest I'd think twice before homeschooling kids though if you are here to stay - and I say that as a very satisfied ex-homeschool-kid myself. Happy to talk more about that if you want.)

Zürich is the largest city in Switzerland. There are five vegetarian restaurants in Zürich and one vegan bakery. I'm not throwing cold water on your dream, just trying to give you some idea how popular the lifestyle is (or isn't). Of course there are vegetarians here, but they mostly have to rub shoulders with meat-eaters or eat at home. Most of the national dishes are combinations of cheese, pork, veal, potatoes and cheese.

And you need to live in a big city with lots of Brockis (charity/secondhand shops) if you wanna have a prayer of finding anything tie-dye.

On the plus side you will love Easter here (errr, apart from the traditional meal of roast lamb). Swiss housewives start saving their onion skins in January to make these:



I would strongly recommend you come for a visit before deciding whether to move. Let me know if you do, I'd be happy to meet up for a coffee and a chat.
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Old 12.08.2011, 11:03
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Re: Moving to liberal CH??

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My understanding is that Psychologists are basically not recognized as a profession and can not be licensed and therefore bill insurance companies. They can bill insurance if a medical doctor has referred someone but thed the patient is then basically under the care of the physician. Please anyone correct me if I am wrong. It is hard to investigate everything from the US and I think I just need to be in CH. It seems like Geneva is the place to go along with Zurich. I really appreciate everyone's replies.
I'm not a psychologist... but I have quite an in-depth experience of the mental health care here from the other side (i.e. a patient), and I think your understanding is (mainly) correct.

I say mainly, because I have been told (by my psychiatrist) that psychologists work here under psychiatrists (not under any physician). So a patient goes to see a psychiatrist, and that psychiatrist may then refer that patient to see a psychologist. The psychologist then reports back to the psychiatrist with results of evaluations, discussing therapy etc. But the psychiatrist has to prescribe any medication.

My understanding is also system works in 2 ways, depending on if the psychiatrist has a private practice or works in a psychiatric hospital (or outpatient clinic of a psychiatric hospital). With the private practice, a psychologist working under the psychiatrist may have more of a counselling role. In a psychiatric hospital environment, the psychologists do more evaluation work, and also run therapeutic groups (e.g. CBT). I personally see my psychiatrist at the local psychiatric hospital, and have also been evaluated and attended therapy groups run by psychologists there. However, when I asked about having more counselling, I was told either I could switch to a private psychiatrist's practice, and then see a psychologist as described above... or I could come and see my psychiatrist at the hospital more frequently. From that I inferred that there is a difference.

In terms of billing, my bills from the hospital (I get copies) always have the name of the director of the hospital, the name of my psychiatrist and then the names of the other therapists (psychologist, occupational therapist...) represented on that bill... but the breakdown does not (that I can decode) list who did what treatment. But there are always the first two names.

The other experience I had that might be useful is when one of my occupational therapists suggested I worked with someone he knew outside the hospital, not only was I told I'd have to pay for it myself, but also my psychiatrist said she wouldn't be able to work with this outside person because they were not accredited. So even if you decide to set up as a private therapist, you may find it difficult to work alongside the medical profession.

Incidentally, my work with my psychiatrist is in English, but my work with the psychologists is all in French. It took me a long time to find an English speaking psychiatrist. I'm in Vaud.
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