When paying with your own funds, you are free to choose any therapist you wish to. Usually you will find an available place quickly. Then you pay the fee to the therapist as agreed.
Approved therapists charge their fees according to the offical scale of fees for psychotherapists (GOP). Fees are discussed on a case-by-case basis and details should be set out in a therapy contract at the beginning of treatment. Personal conditions are generally taken into account.
Some typical constellations in which you will be required to pay for your own treatment:
- It's not about treating a disease
As already explained in the section on coverage of costs by statutory/public health insurance, treatment of an illness is always necessary. However, if the client is primarily looking for advice or a solution to a personal conflict, then this is classified as a disease. Since consultation or coaching (which this form of giving advice is often called) usually does not require weekly sessions, the therapist can integrate the patient much more flexibly into his schedule. Therefore it is almost always much easier to find available spots for simple consultation or coaching than or fixed, weekly therapy.
Such consultation and coaching do naturally not tend to be long-term. Typically, a crisis situations at work, in marriage or partnership is dealt with, after this, consultation can usually be terminated.
- Another very important advantage is that the patient and therapist are completely free to choose the topic and method of therapy. Certain very efficient procedures, such as humanistic psychotherapy, including all procedures involving the body (e.g. bioenergetics), can only be administed as self-payers, since health insurance companies do not approve to cover their costs.
- Couples therapy, where both partners are present together at the same time, can also only be administered when payed for directly by the patient. No health insurance company, whether private or statutory/public, is willing to pay for this form of therapy. Even if it may seem sensible in individual cases, it would far exceed the capacities of the health insurance companies.