Available spots for weekly therapy?

Please note that information provided on this website relates exclusively to the situation in Germany!

Every day, people call psychotherapists offices for help in a crisis. Too often psychotherapists have to turn these people down due to a lack of available therapy places. In the following section you will find information about why therapy places are so rare and what people seeking help can do.

    Why is there no quick provision of help?

    The hallmark of a psychotherapy is that a therapist reliably has time for their client over a period of many months to several years. In most cases, a patient has one appointment per week for one hour (i.e. 50 minutes). Therefore, therapists tend to have a fixed and full schedule of patients.
    Quick help is difficult to provide because most people do not want one or two conversations, but want to attend therapy regularly by receiving one of the highly demanded weekly slots for sessions.

    The newly introduced psychotherapeutic consultation hour is a bonus because it can help all those who do not need a complete course of psychotherapy. The psychotherapeutic consultation serves as an initial clarification of a possible need for treatment. During this consultation hour, the new patient can discuss how to proceed in their current situation with a therapist. Alternative measures beyond regular therapy can also be considered. In urgent cases, the newly created acute treatment can be prescribed with a maximum of 12 sessions.

    Why are therapy spots so rare?

    A psychotherapist can treat about five to six patients a day and has additional administration and correspondence work. In one week, a therapist can therefore treat about 25-32 patients. Some therapists treat more, some treat less. A patient usually takes between six months and 1.5 years to complete their course of therapy. This means that on average only one therapy place is available every six to eight weeks. In other words, an average behavioural therapy practice only admits 8 to 12 new patients per year. This number can vary from colleague to colleague. Some work in a short-term oriented way while others work mainly with severe traumas that require lengthy treatment.

    How do waiting lists for therapy work?

    Whether a psychotherapist keeps a waiting list or not is up to themselves. It is often said that this results in waiting times of up to one year and more. Whether this is a good course of action is doubtful. One can only advise to always contact as many psychotherapists as possible.

    I still cannot find any help....

    Unfortunately, there is a politically motivated problem with the regional distribution of therapy spots. When the Psychotherapist Act was passed in 1999, it was determined who would be liscensed as a therapist at that time. Since no more money than was previously spent could be made available, a supposedly sufficient amount of care was set out in an administrative act and additional therapists could no longer be licensed. This creates the situation that, for example, 38.8 psychotherapists are planned for 100,000 residents in Cologne, but only 11.4 in Dortmund.

    What can I do?

    • Make phone calls, write e-mails until you succeed.
    • There are some therapy places at the different counselling centres of the city as well as at the church institutions, but often only for a few sessions.
    • There are self-help groups that can be very helpful. You can obtain their addresses from the health authorities or find information in regional daily newspapers and on the Internet.
    • It is also important to note that there are therapists with health insurance approval who are generally overcrowded. And there are those who work in free practice without a health insurance licence, with the so-called reimbursement of costs. These colleagues are usually less overcrowded and as qualified as the others. The reimbursement procedure can be tedious and not always successful. There is now a => website collecting information about the reimbursement procedure.  If all this remains unsuccessful, you still have the following options:
    • Call your health insurance company. Many health insurance companies support their clients and call therapists on their behalf.
    • Call the appointment service point of the Association of Statutory Health Insurance Physicians. These are available for every federal state. According to a new laws by the Federal Social Court, the appointment service points are also obliged to arrange initial consultations for regular therapy. But call us, even if it is only to make the urgent need for therapy places clearly noticeable with the public health insurance associations and the health insurance companies. 
    • Baden-Württemberg Phone number: 0711 78 75 39 66 Monday -Thursday 8 am - 4 pm, Friday 8 am - 12 pm
    • Bayern Phone number: 0921 7 87 76 55 50 30 Monday, Tuesday, Thursday 8am-5p, Uhr, Wednesday and Friday 8am- 1 pm
    • Berlin Phone number: 030 31 00 33 83 Monday-Friday 9am - 3 pm
    • Brandenburg Phone number: 0331 98 22 99 89 Mondas, Friday 9 am - 12 pm, Tuesday and Thursday 9 am - 11 am and 1 pm  to 3 pm, Wednesday 12.30pm - 3.30 pm
    • Bremen Phone number: 0421 98 88 58 10 Monday - Thursday 9 am - 12 pm and 3 pm - 4 pm, Friday 9 am - 12 pm 
    • Hamburg Phone number: 040 55 55 02 00 Monday - Friday 9 am - 1 pm, Thursdays additionally 3 pm - 5 pm
    • Hessen Phone number: 069 40 05 00 00 Monday to Thursday 9 am - 4 pm, Friday 9 am - 2 pm
    • Mecklenburg-Vorpommern Phone number: 0385 7 43 18 77  Monday - Thursday 9 am - 12 pm
    • Niedersachsen Phone number: 0511 56 99 97 93 Monday - Friday 8 am - 6 pm
    • Nordrhein-Westfalen Phone number: 0211 59 70 89 90 Monday to Friday 8 am to 12 pm and 3 pm to 5 pm
    • Rheinland-Pfalz Phone number: 06131 8854455 Monday 9.30 am -2 pm, Tuesday 9.30 am - 2 pm, Wedensday 9.30 am to 4 pm, Thursday 9.30 am to 2 pm, Friday 9.30 am - 2 pm
    • Saarland Phone number: 0681 85 77 30 Monday - Friday 9 am - 12 pm
    • Sachsen Phone number: 0341 23 49 37 33
    • Sachsen-Anhalt Phone number: 0391 6 27 88 88 Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday 9 am - 12 pm, Wednesday 1 pm - 3 pm 
    • Schleswig-Holstein Phone number: 04551 30 40 49 31 Monday to Friday 9 am - 12 pm, Monday, Tuesday and Thursday additionaly from 1 pm to 5 pm 
    • Thüringen Phone number: 03643 7 79 60 42 Monday to Friday 9 am - 12 pm, Tuesday additionally from 2 pm to 5 pm
    • For very urgent cases, the emergency department of the psychiatric clinics is open all day. Addresses of psychiatric hospitals in the region can be found in the yellow pages of your region.
    • Last but not least, we would like to remind you of the help offered by phone counselling hotlines.