Psychotherapists are desperately searching for Augsburg 2

Psychotherapists are desperately searching for Augsburg

Affected people often find it difficult to find a place for therapy. Sometimes years wait for the first date. What experts advise is how it works anyway.

Kevin Friedel (name changed) not sure. The 23-year-old has mental health issues and is seeking support. He wants to call somewhere, but he doesn't know where. And: how quickly will he be helped? Friedel says he sometimes sits in front of the computer from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., pushing therapists and reading testimonials. How much it costs to overcome a call. And how depressing it is to reject it is abrupt. "No time," the Augsburg therapist said briefly on the phone.

According to a survey by the Federal Chamber of Psychotherapists, people wait an average of five months for psychotherapy treatment. Too little therapist, too long waiting time? According to Claudia Ritter-Rupp, a specialist in psychosomatic medicine and psychotherapy and a member of the board of directors of the Bavarian Health Insurance Association (CVS), the research is quite controversial. The stated expectations are not necessarily representative. Because: "What we consider a waiting period is often not a clear waiting time."

In critical situations, patients first need to be stabilized

Consultations and rehearsals are already underway at this time to find out if the patient and therapist are compatible and which therapy would be appropriate. He must then request and approve health insurance. The process can take up to five weeks. It is not uncommon for patients to think for a while or to have trial sessions with several therapists. So much time goes by. If the patient's condition is so critical that he or she must respond immediately, it can be stabilized in so-called acute therapy.


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The demand for psychotherapy is growing. Claudia Ritter-Rupp, who works another day at her own practice in Munich, also sees this, as patients admit earlier that they need help. In the past, mental illness has become even more stigmatized. So the threshold of inhibition, talking about mental problems, has dropped?

Maybe. Even Kevin Friedel eventually decided to do so. Philosophy student talks about youth violence, difficult family circumstances, panic attacks, and sleep disorders. "It's hard to talk to friends. How is it with strangers then?" He says. if there is even a waiting list. After all, some therapists don't even take it anymore.

28-year-old master student Lisa * from Augsburg also received something similar. "A few have said directly: It can take a year before the first interview," she says. Thanks to her family doctor, she quickly found help.

Psychotherapists see Augsburg as "excessive"

Is there enough psychotherapists in Augsburg? The city and country of Augsburg are currently considered over-supplied, according to the CVB Supply Atlas. According to planning requirements, the district would need 123 doctors and psychotherapists, and districts 37. In fact, each would have about 30 percent more. Only therapists without a cash register can settle this way. That request was made in 1999. In mid-May, according to Ritter-Rupp of Berlin, it was decided to recalculate demand.

"Bavaria will get 100 new places for psychotherapy," she says, there are about 800 in Germany. Where exactly the approved sites are, it is still open whether Augsburg will benefit. Maybe on the outskirts and in rural areas, she says. In urban centers, supply is probably sufficient.

Peter Sponagl is the president of the Gesellschaft für Psychotherapie Augsburg with about 140 members, most of whom have a cash register. He has been training for over 20 years and says he has always felt the lack of space. Not everyone can do justice. He also keeps saying, "I've already called a few people."

Sponagl and Ritter-Rupp recommend: stay persistent. The chance of a place of therapy also increases if one has time during the week rather than after work. With shifting hours, short lists and long commutes, it is difficult to find regular meetings. As a result, Peter Sponagl repeatedly refers to the official appointments of the Kassenärztliche Vereinigung.

Since April 2017, they have been organizing free appointments with medical and psychological psychotherapists for "psychotherapy consultation" and acute treatment. This is the first contact for clarification: Do I need therapy and, if so, which one? According to Claudia Ritter-Rupp, first appointments must be completed within four weeks and acute therapy within two weeks. You can do this: "In Bavaria, we can arrange such meetings 100 percent. Also in Augsburg." She has recorded more than 450 inquiries for Fuggerstadt at the meeting services in the last five and a half months.

How often psychotherapists must be available

A telephone exchange is an option, other recommendations are a family doctor or acquaintance, or a direct call to psychotherapists. They are required to be available 200 minutes per week – which in part leads to complex availability times, laments student Florian Jochum. For example, only on certain days, only from 7.30 to 8.00 or from 13.30 to 14.00.

Finding a suitable therapist can be time-consuming, acknowledges CVB President Ritter-Rupp. Private patients have no benefits, on the contrary: Many private health insurers only pay for psychotherapy up to 30 sessions a year. The doctor advises: read the contract well. Psychotherapists currently earn less on the reimbursement scale for the treatment of private patients than for legally insured persons.