Psychotherapy is a method used to treat existing mental illnesses or to prevent further episodes of a mental disorder. It can take place in an outpatient setting in a clinic or in an inpatient setting in a hospital.
Within the health care system, psychotherapy is not intended for general life counseling, self-improvement, or prevention in the absence of a diagnosed mental illness. However, if you are seeking support during stressful times or want to take preventative measures, consider options such as psychosocial counseling, coaching, paid workshops, self-help groups, professional literature, or digital resources.
If you answer "yes" to any of these questions, especially the last one, it's essential to consult a professional immediately. Mental health is just as vital as physical health. There's no shame in seeking help when you need it.
Mental health treatment can take various forms, depending on the severity of the illness and the individual's needs. Outpatient psychotherapy is a common approach for those who can manage their daily lives at home. In this setup, you'd attend therapy sessions at a professional's office once or multiple times a week.
If symptoms intensify or daily functioning becomes challenging, more intensive care may be necessary. Partial inpatient treatment offers therapeutic support during the day at a (day) clinic, allowing you to return home in the evenings. In contrast, full inpatient treatment involves a complete hospital stay, ranging from several days to a few weeks.
For varying degrees of mental health challenges, there are also alternative or supplementary treatments, including:
Seeking psychotherapy through statutory health insurance can be an intricate process, but here's a structured breakdown to help you navigate the steps:
1. Setting up an appointment:
2. Initial consultation:
3. Probationary sessions (2 to 4 sessions):
4. Medical consultation:
5. Official therapy commencement:
6. Concluding the therapy:
In Germany, the landscape of psychotherapy is diverse. Given that "psychotherapy" is not a legally protected term, several professionals might use this designation. Here's an organized breakdown based on the information provided:
Professionals whose services aren't covered by health insurance:
In Germany, the cost of psychotherapy is covered by public or private health insurance if a mental illness is present. Alternatively, psychotherapy can be paid for by the patient. This makes sense if you do not want a mental health diagnosis to be passed on to your health insurance.
In rare cases, a public health insurance company will also cover the costs of treatment in a private practice (= cost reimbursement procedure) if no place can be found in a practice that bills through the public health insurance company. Information on the cost reimbursement procedure can be found here.
In Germany, there are various types of psychotherapy methods. Of these, four are currently recognized under social law, meaning they can be billed to health insurance companies and have been extensively researched scientifically:
proposes different theories for the onset of mental illnesses and has distinct
treatment approaches. To ascertain the most suitable method for you,
consultation with a psychotherapist is advised. A more informed decision can be
reached through multiple consultations or trial sessions with various
therapists. Scientific studies indicate that therapy is typically most
effective in the initial sessions, with diminishing returns as it progresses.
The decision for extended treatment, aiming for long-term stabilization, is
determined in collaboration between the therapist and the patient.
therapeutic approaches share a psychodynamic theory regarding the development
of mental disorders, and their therapeutic procedures are comparable. However,
they differ in practice and structure:
Analytic psychotherapy typically encompasses classical psychoanalysis; the norm is 3-4
sessions per week. Patients may be lying down, but alternatives like 2 sessions
per week while sitting are also practiced. This method encourages patients to
engage in uncensored speech, using dreams to tap into unconscious conflicts,
and therapists maintain a predominantly neutral demeanor.
Depth psychology-based psychotherapy usually consists of one session per week while
sitting. It often focuses less on early life events, placing emphasis on
specific issues and conflicts.
2. Cognitive behavioral therapy:
3. Systemic therapy:
If you're considering obtaining occupational disability, life insurance, or transitioning to private health insurance, it's essential to be aware that psychotherapy processed through the health insurance system can sometimes be a basis for declining or excluding such insurance policies. Typically, when securing insurance, any psychotherapeutic treatment funded by health insurance undertaken within the last 5-10 years must be disclosed.
Many students contemplating a career in civil service often hesitate to pursue necessary psychotherapy, fearing potential implications on their job prospects. While psychotherapy backed by health insurance could be a reason for the denial of tenure, it's not always the case. Multiple court decisions suggest that a mental health condition or a previously concluded successful psychotherapy isn't an automatic disqualification from civil service. If you're apprehensive about this, it's advisable to discuss your concerns with a psychotherapist or your counselor during a consultation.
For those inclined towards caution, you can choose to self-fund your psychotherapy sessions, ensuring no diagnostic data is passed onto your health insurance company. However, even if you privately fund your treatment, legally, you're still required to disclose any past psychotherapy when questioned by insurers or civil service bodies.
It's also worth noting that psychotherapy, like many treatments, can occasionally have undesired outcomes or side effects. These may include:
If, during therapy, you observe any worsening or alteration in your symptoms, it's crucial to discuss this with your therapist. Should you have an unfavorable experience with a psychotherapist, don't hesitate to reach out to the complaints office of the psychotherapists' or medical association in your region.
Each therapy method can be conducted in either an individual or group setting.
In individual therapy, the patient interacts solely with the therapist. Group therapy, on the other hand, involves treating 3-9 patients together. The most appropriate setting often depends on the nature of the condition. Therefore, a consultation is the ideal way to understand which format suits your needs best.
Group psychotherapy encompasses various content approaches. Some groups may have a specific focus, while others operate on an open concept. There are instances where patients with similar symptoms are grouped together, but there are also scenarios where patients with diverse symptoms share the same group. Typically, treatment sessions span 50 or 100 minutes each week. The session quota corresponds to the time quota as in the case of individual therapy using the same method.
Advantages and disadvantages of group psychotherapy include:
For individual psychotherapy, the advantages and disadvantages are as follows:
To benefit from the advantages and disadvantages of both settings, it is also possible to combine individual and group sessions in the same therapy setting. This can be done with the same therapist or with two different therapists.
In Frankfurt and the surrounding area, there are also several large outpatient clinics for psychotherapists in advanced training, which often have larger staffs:
for students of Goethe University
Bockenheimer Landstr. 133
Monday to Friday: 9 - 11 a.m.
SLI - Psychotherapeutic Counseling Center for Students
60325 Frankfurt am Main
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