Paris is generally known for its haute couture, but now the city may be setting trends in psychology as well. Pioneered by French psychologist Maud Lehanne, the coffee cafés cherished in French culture have added psychology to their menus. Four years ago, Lehanne began holding weekly group-therapy sessions open to the public in two popular cafés. Those who attend make a small donation and pay only for the coffee.
These "psycho cafés," as they are known in France, are now being spotted in various parts of the country. Usually 60 people attend the weekly meetings, which attract a mix in gender, age and concerns. In a single night, Lehanne offers advice on issues varying from troubled marriages and despised daughters-in-law to jilted lovers and occupational concerns.
French popular culture has never embraced therapy, according to Lehanne, but globalization has brought the "Anglo-Saxon" view of psychotherapy to be seen as normal. But psychologists have also voiced skepticism about this brand of therapy. The National Union of French Psychologists has stated that the organization does not endorse psychology cafés.