Anyone who has ever looked for a place in psychotherapy knows the problems. All psychotherapists are either unavailable or very difficult to reach and do not offer free therapy places. The waiting lists are long and promise a waiting time of many months, sometimes even years. This can be a great challenge for those affected. But what can you do to start your psychotherapy as soon as possible? Find out here!
1. quick initial psychotherapeutic assessment via the appointment service centre
A few years ago, the statutory health insurers set up the so-called appointment service centre. It can be reached nationwide via the telephone number 116 117. Once you call and ask for a "psychotherapeutic consultation", you will receive a binding appointment for an initial consultation on the phone. And the great thing about it? The appointment has to take place within the next two weeks! Depending on local availability, it may even happen that it is dated in a few days. This is often the case in big cities like Hamburg or Berlin, for example.
Do you feel insecure on the phone? Then I have another great tip for you: You can make an appointment for an initial consultation online via the website https://eterminservice.de/. However, with the disadvantage of limited availability depending on where you are looking for psychotherapists. And some therapists would like to have the appointment booked online confirmed by phone. This increases the commitment so that not so many appointments are cancelled or someone doesn't show up.
To be quite honest, this initial consultation will only lead to long-term therapy in very few cases. But the conversation offers you a first professional assessment of your complaints and can really do you good. So I can only encourage you to seek this conversation. In the next section, you will find out how to get the chance for long-term psychotherapy!
2. secure private psychotherapy and thus shorten the waiting time
Wait, private psychotherapy for people with statutory health insurance? That's right, it's possible. And I'll tell you here how it works. But first the advantage: private psychotherapists are often available much faster and can offer a therapy place directly in many cases without a long waiting list. And without extra costs for you as the person affected. It is about dry laws and complex processes, but I will describe it as clearly as possible.
The whole thing is called the "cost reimbursement procedure". It is based on a German law and states that the costs for private health services can be reimbursed by your statutory health insurance under certain circumstances. This means that private psychotherapists are also eligible.
The circumstances that must be fulfilled for a possible claim are the following. Your psychotherapy must be necessary and timely. In addition, you must have made a serious effort to find a place for therapy with a "statutory psychotherapist" (better: therapist with a registered office). If these points are fulfilled, you can apply to your health insurance fund for reimbursement and ask for the costs of private psychotherapy to be covered.
At a glance, you need the following proofs:
Certificate or informal two-line letter from the family doctor. This must show that psychotherapy is recommended by a doctor.
The "Individual Patient Information". You will receive this document in an initial psychotherapeutic consultation. The quickest way to get it is via the appointment service (see above). Important: On this document there is a box marked "promptly required". If your therapist considers therapy to be necessary in the near future, he or she will make a note of it here. This is an important requirement for the reimbursement procedure.
Contact protocol. You should have called at least 8-12 psychotherapists who are registered. Make a note of the therapists, the contact time and the statement that no therapy place is available. This confirms your serious efforts to find a therapy place.
Submit a claim for reimbursement. Medical certificate, individual patient information and contact protocol together? Then send a copy of these documents to your health insurance fund with your application for reimbursement. They will then make a decision and request further proof if necessary. Tip: Health insurance companies tend to refuse at first. Often an objection has proven successful!
Start private psychotherapy. If you are approved for cost coverage, you can look for a private psychotherapist and - depending on local and time availability - start therapy. Often, an initial consultation and four probationary sessions are approved. Afterwards, your therapist will apply for further sessions, but this will be done in cooperation with the therapist.
3. MindMe: Personal support in the search for psychotherapy
This may sound very complicated and extensive. In fact, it is. Especially the correspondence with the statutory health insurers can lead to frustration. However, there is further help for you: the MindMe therapy agency. This is a non-profit organisation that helps you find psychotherapy. There is a login area that guides you through the steps mentioned above. In addition, there is always someone available to help you with specific questions during the individual steps. You can even hand over individual steps to MindMe.
For example, you can have the contact protocol created for you with just one click. You even get effective documents such as a reimbursement request and, if necessary, the documents are even adapted to your specific situation or even individual letters are created for correspondence with your health insurance company. Sounds helpful? Then take a look at https://therapieplatz-finden.de/therapievermittlung! It will be easier for you to find your way to psychotherapy.
About the author
As the founder of the non-profit MindMe therapy agency, I campaign nationwide for easier and faster access to psychotherapy. As a sufferer myself, this is a particular concern of mine. A real project of the heart. Beyond seeking psychotherapy, I want to use MindMe to advocate for mental health in general. This also includes education about and destigmatisation of mental illness.