Bridge the long wait in psychotherapy

Bridge the long wait in psychotherapy

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Patients often have to wait a long time for psychotherapy. What many do not know: The waiting time can be bridged and sometimes shortened. Individual discussions can help.

Thomas K. has been suffering from depression since his wife left him six months ago. After initial anger and grief over the loss, he falls deeper into an emotional hole and eventually seeks help. The 55-year-old telephones numerous psychotherapists. The answer is the same for everyone: Unfortunately there is currently no therapy place available.

Many are like Mr. K. On average, patients have to wait three months for treatment with a therapist who can settle directly with the health insurance company. This is the result of a study by the Federal Chamber of Psychotherapists. “It is too long for those who urgently need help,” says Claudia Schlund of the Nuremberg counseling center of the Independent Patient Advice Service Germany (UPD).

The waiting time can be bridged by short-term one-on-one discussions. These are offered, for example, in psychological emergency outpatient clinics in hospitals or through counseling centers for municipalities, churches and charities. "There are many places to go," explains patient advisor Schlund. In addition to the UPD, the so-called social psychiatric service, which is usually found in every major city, provides guidance and support in making the right choice.

"However, one-on-one discussions are not a permanent solution," said Schlund. Patients who cannot find a place with a health insurance therapist for the foreseeable future can therefore go another way: They apply to their statutory health insurance company for treatment in a private practice. This is possible by law if the therapy cannot be postponed. Schlund: "To do this, you ask your doctor for a corresponding confirmation, note the rejection of the psychotherapist and send both to the cash register."

Important to know: In this so-called reimbursement procedure, the patient must first pay for the therapy sessions themselves and later get the money back from the health insurance. "Before starting, patients should therefore have a written promise from the health fund - otherwise they can end up sitting on the treatment costs," says Schlund. (pm)

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