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How To Find Psychotherapeutic Support – Psychological Care in Germany

Year by year there is an increase of economic costs caused by days of loss of working hours because of psychological diseases. Almost one fifth of sick leaves in Germany are caused by mental problems. This means economic damage over 147 billion euros per year. Therefore, workplace health promotion (WHP) and reducing of medical expenses get increasingly important for companies. Many companies are searching for preventive concepts of health maintenance of their employees. In this context they are confronted by a lack of psychological, and financial support in Germany. In this article you read more about how to find psychotherapeutic support, and about psychological care in Germany.

How Long Does It Take to Find Psychotherapeutic Support?

Although, the German health care system is one of the best worldwide, it takes in average 20 weeks to get psychotherapy treatment, funded by the state. The reason for it is that psychotherapeutic treatment, financed by the government, is calculated incorrect. (Psychological problems are still stigmatized. Furthermore, many people with mental issues do not seek psychological help). So it is not easy for them to find psychotherapeutic support.

The mental health of employees is especially important for companies and influences the whole performance. Only mentally healthy employees are productive! Companies could provide them access to psychological support. What are the advantages of a psychological intervention? Life satisfaction increases – in private life as well as in career. For your company this means for example reduced sick leaves, increase of economic productivity, and a better employer branding. Did you already know, how much a burnout costs a company?

Psychological Health Care System in Germany

What Does Psychological Online Therapy Mean?

In Germany, the word “psychotherapy” is a protected term (BGBl. Nr. 361/1990). This means that someone needs an appropriate qualification and licence to offer psychological treatment. Who is involved? For example, psychiatrics, psychological psychotherapists, and doctors with psychological qualifications. Consequently, a pure online therapy means a special therapy treatment. In this case the personal exchange between clients and experts is online.

If all criteria are met online therapy in Germany is allowed. Some public health insurances support online therapy, if the amount is under 20 percent of the therapy offer. What makes online therapy in Germany complicated? It is necessary that in one or more personal initial meeting(s) a diagnosis is made, and a treatment is set. While just online therapy is seldom, blended therapy is more common. It means a mix of on site and online therapy.

What Does Online Counselling Mean?

In general, online counselling is not a protected term. Therefore, it means each offer without any strict regulations. But German public health care insurances do not support such offers in general. Just, if there is a cooperation with companies yet, and concrete criteria are met. In the law it is written: „Insured persons are eligible for health treatment, if it is necessary to identify illness, heal it, prevent it, or to alleviate the symptoms“(§ 27 Abs. 1 SGB V).

Furthermore, it is not allowed to diagnose or treat psychological illnesses in a psychological online counselling. Consequently, the main goal of psychological online counselling is prevention. Here you can find out, if you suffer from physical stress symptoms yet..

Preconditions to Find Psychotherapeutic Support

People affected who want to find psychotherapeutic support, need an adequate ICD-10 diagnosis (International Classification of Mental and Behavioural Disorders). Just, after a diagnosis through an expert allows someone to get a therapy spot. Also, a confirmation through the public health care insurance is needed. Which psychological diseases are supported by the public health care insurance through psychotherapy? These are for example:

  • Obsessive-compulsive disorders
  • Anxiety disorders
  • Depressive disorders
  • Psychosomatic disorders
  • Personality disorders

How many therapy offers are there, supported by public health care insurance, in Germany?

In 2019 there had been 28.067 psychoterapists in Germany (Kassenärztliche Bundesvereinigung Deutschland). These are part of the supply for adults. Especially in rural areas the supply with psychotherapeutically offers, supported by public health care, insurance is expandable. The more clients are waiting for one therapist to begin their treatment with, the longer the waiting time.

How to Find Psychotherapeutic Support – Found By The Public Health Care Insurance

Health care in companies is more important than ever. If you, or some of your employees feel mental burden it is not a shame. Fortunately, there is psychological counselling. But what are the steps an affected person in
Germany must take to find psychotherapeutic support?

1. Set a date for a first appointment

The first step towards to find psychotherapeutic support is to meet a therapist. You do not need a medical referral for the initial session. Here, a health insurance card is enough. Another option is to contact the service hotline for appointments (116 117). They help affected people to find psychotherapeutic support.

2. Figure out the need of treatment

In the initial session it is figured out if therapy would help, and when a free therapy place would be available. The therapist diagnosis the mental state someone is in.

3. File an application at the public health care insurance

After the first session there is the option of short- or long-term psychotherapy. You must file an application at the public health care insurance. Short-time therapy means a maximum of 12 hours per year in 2 years. Within a short-term therapy, the client gets twelve hours per year at least over 2 years. If the therapy is long term, the period depends on the therapeutic methods.

4. Duration and extent of a treatment

How long the duration of a treatment is depending on the therapeutic methods:

Behavioural therapy: maximum 80 sessions à 50 minutes
Depth psychological therapy: maximum 120 sessions
Analytical psychotherapy: until about 300 sessions

How Could Instahelp Online Counselling Help to Find Psychotherapeutic Support?

Psychologists offer support for self-help, if someone suffers from a mental illness until they find psychotherapeutic support. If it is wished by the client, the experts could use their network to find a free psy. Sometimes it takes about 20 weeks to start a treatment. During this waiting episode affected employees could get help through psychological online counselling.

Studies of the Bundespsychotherapeutenkammer (BPtK, 2018) show that the average waiting time in Germany is about:

  • Initial talk: 5.7 weeks
  • Acute treatment: 3.1 weeks
  • Guideline therapy: 19.9 weeks

As a basic rule: If someone with mental problems meets the conditions, the public health care insurance must help with financially support. Nevertheless, there are bureaucratic reasons why the reimbursement of therapy costs is not provided. Studies of the German Psychotherapeutic Association (DPtV, 2018) show, that applications are often rejected by the public health care insurance. Even, if there is the need for treatment. Mostly, it affects private psychotherapists.

Psychological Online Counselling for Companies

Mental illnesses of employees could cost companies a lot of money. To reduce the economic damage, health care is highly recommended. If you, or your workforce has mental problems, act. Do not sit around and wait until there is a free therapy place. Instead, you could use the experience of the experts of psychological online counselling from Instahelp. Often, it is about daily problems where psychological counselling could help a lot. The route is the goal, and the best way is to walk it together.


Photo credit: (c) pexels.com/@cottonbro

Published on: 30. August 2021
Job and carreer - Nicole Inez Fuchs