Frequently Asked Questions - FAQ

What is psychotherapy?

Psychotherapy literally means „care for the soul“ and describes the treatment of mental problems and difficulties by means of psychotherapeutical methods. Therapist and patient work towards a jointly agreed goal using verbal and nonverbal methods (in contrast to medical treatment). Psychotherapy offers help concerning disorders of thinking, feeling, experience, and behaviour. For more details, see mental disorders. The aims of psychotherapy are the reduction of symptoms and psychological strain and, as a result, an increase in quality of life.

What is cognitive behavioral therapy?

Cognitive behavioral therapy ("Kognitive Verhaltenstherapie") attributes disorders to a person's thinking, feeling, experiencing, and behaviour by specific cognitions. Cognitions are firmly anchored assumptions, thoughts, and reaction patterns that are framed individually in each person over a year-long learning process. Sometimes these are extremely pronounced and represent interpretations or conclusions that are not appropriate to the current situation. This is often accompanied by inadequate problem-solving skills and deficits in emotion regulation.

In cognitive behavioural therapy, the first step is a detailed diagnostic process that serves not only the classification of the disorder, but also the identification of triggering and maintaining factors. Based on this analysis, therapy goals, a disorder model, and a therapy plan are worked out together. Different methods are used over the course of therapy so that in the long term you learn to analyze your cognitive patterns and their origins and are able to control your thoughts, feelings, experiences, and behavior yourself.

When is psychotherapy advisable?

If you are experiencing a high level of psychological strain due to a mental disorder or other serious stressors, you should seek professional help. This is especially true if your symptoms have been going on for a longer period of time, if you feel increasingly burdened or limited, and if your quality of life is considerably reduced.

If you are unsure whether psychotherapeutic treatment is an option for you, do not hesitate to contact us. We will be happy to sort this out together with you during a psychotherapeutic consultation ("Psychotherapeutische Sprechstunde").

Do I need a referral from my general practitioner?

You do not need a referral from your general practitioner for treatment at our university outpatient clinic. Please bring along your insurance card for your psychotherapeutic consultation ("Psychotherapeutische Sprechstunde").

What is the difference between psychologists, psychological psychotherapists, psychiatrists, and neurologists?

Psychologists have a diploma or master’s degree in psychology. Building on this degree, they can train to become psychological psychotherapists. In contrast, psychiatrists as well as neurologists have completed a medical degree as a basis and a corresponding specialist training as a psychiatrist or neurologist. In contrast to psychological psychotherapists, psychiatrists and neurologists are allowed to prescribe medication.

What happens if I have applied for a pension and want to start psychotherapy?

If you applied for a pension, therapeutic treatment is only possible after the application process has been completed.

What does waiting time mean and how long do I have to wait?

Due to staff and space limitations of our university outpatient clinic, there are limits to our number of patients. The waiting time is based on our available capacity and the patients already admitted at the time of your registration. We do not have open consultation hours, but call patients in for fixed individual appointments. Once you registered via our contact form or by phone, you will be added to our waiting list.

Due to our status as university outpatient clinic and the associated research mandate, it may occur that specific clinical pictures may be given priority treatment in the context of a current research project. For further information, please refer to the news section.

Will the costs of a treatment be covered by health insurance?

Any implied treatment costs will be covered by the statutory health insurance companies. If you have a private health insurance, please check in advance with your health insurace company which psychotherapeutic services are covered.

What are important requirements for psychotherapy?

In order to apply for psychotherapy with your health insurance company, there needs to be a diagnosis of a mental disorder with disease value. This is clarified during the psychotherapeutic consultation ("Psychotherapeutische Sprechstunde"). If a clinical need for treatment is determined, the statutory health insurance will cover the costs of future psychotherpeutic treatment and you can arrange an initial consultation ("Erstgespräch") with your psychotherapist.

You should also be aware that psychotherapy implies work for you. You will be dealing with many issues and striving to make changes. The time between the sessions is often especially relevant for integrating what you learn in psychotherapy into daily life. Your therapist will guide you through this process.

What are potential side effects of psychotherapy?

The intensive dealing with causal and maintaining factors of your mental disorder may trigger temporary emotional responses that may initially put a strain on you in your daily life. Psychotherapy can even have an impact on your behaviour in your social environment and thus indirectly on your relationships. If you notice any changes in particular domains, please address this in your therapy sessions.

What shall I do if I don’t get along with my psychotherapist?

After your first consultation, there are up to four so-called trial sessions ("Probatorische Sitzungen"), in which your therapist tries to get an impression of your clinical picture. These sessions also serve you to check whether you are able to build trust in this person and can imagine a further cooperation. If you do not have a good feeling, you can, of course, always contact another facility or practice to make use of the trial sessions there again.

During the course of psychotherapy, different points of view and subsequent disagreements may always come up because of the highly personal nature of topics. Please see it as an opportunity to address this this in your therapy sessions.