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Fears, burn-outs, eating disorders – more and more people in Germany are diagnosed with mental illnesses. New studies have shown that almost every third person suffers from mental illness every year . Every fourth sick leave is now due to depression or another mental illness.

No wonder that the need for psychotherapists has increased enormously in recent years. Their task is to alleviate the emotional stress of their patients through discussions and the use of various therapeutic techniques.

The work of psychotherapists

According to iamaccepted.com, psychotherapists have long been known as “quacks”. This was also due to the fact that the professional title “psychotherapist” was not protected by law . Since 1999, psychotherapists have only been allowed to call themselves psychotherapists who have completed state-recognized training.

Since then, state recognition or license to practice medicine has only been granted to psychologists and doctors who have completed additional training or specialist training after studying psychology or medicine . Psychologists can then act as “psychological psychotherapists” to help adults with mental illness.

Doctors can specialize in their specialist training in psychiatry and psychotherapy, child and adolescent psychiatry and psychotherapy, or psychosomatic medicine and psychotherapy.

Special case child and adolescent psychotherapy

Child and adolescent psychotherapy is an exception. The additional training to become a psychotherapist for children and adolescents is not only possible for psychologists, but also for graduates of courses such as special education or social work .

The Psychotherapists Act

The training for state-recognized psychotherapists has been precisely prescribed in Germany since 1999 by the Psychotherapists Act. Anyone wishing to work as a psychological psychotherapist must have a master’s degree or diploma in psychology. Psychotherapists for children and adolescents also receive approval with a master’s degree in social work, special education or a comparable subject.

The additional training takes place within a three-year full-time training or a five-year part-time training at a university or another state-recognized training facility. It comprises practical and theoretical content and ends with the state final examination .

For practical training include: 1200 hours of work practice in a psychiatric facility and 600 hours of practice in a psychotherapeutic practice or clinic for psychosomatic disorders.

In addition, the trainees conduct at least 600 independent therapy hours and reflect on individual cases and treatment methods in individual and group supervision. In at least 120 hours of self-awareness , the aspiring psychotherapists become patients themselves and analyze their own personality and internal conflicts.

Of course, the theory is not neglected either: In 600 lessons, the trainees get to know various psychotherapeutic methods and specialize in one of them, such as behavior therapy or psychoanalysis .

Medicine and psychotherapy

Within five years , doctors can train to become specialists in psychiatry and psychotherapy or as specialists in psychosomatic medicine and psychotherapy.

It is also possible to take additional training to become a medical psychotherapist. This additional training differs depending on whether the training is in the area of ​​behavior therapy, depth psychology or psychoanalysis.

It comprises between 206 and 240 hours of theory and 150 to 600 hours of practical therapeutic work. Self-awareness and case discussion in the group are also part of the training.

Alternative: training as a naturopath

In addition to licensed psychotherapists, there are a number of other groups of people in Germany who are allowed to work in the field of psychotherapy. According to the law on alternative practitioners, alternative practitioners are also allowed to work in psychotherapy. However, you are not allowed to call yourself a “psychotherapist” and your services are not paid for by the statutory health insurance companies.

The training to become an alternative practitioner or alternative practitioner for psychotherapy mostly takes place at private schools . According to the Heilpraktiker-Gesetz, psychologists without additional training are also allowed to work therapeutically. The prerequisite for this is that they are older than 25 years and have a perfect police clearance certificate and the corresponding health qualification.

However, you are also not allowed to call yourself a psychotherapist and your services are billed by the statutory health insurance companies. Many therapists who practice according to the Heilpraktiker-Gesetz (Heilpraktiker-Gesetz) receive further training in private therapy training courses and other advanced training courses.

Requirements for psychotherapists

If you want to become a licensed psychotherapist, you have to expect a long and expensive training . The practical activities in the additional training are often only remunerated to a low level and the theoretical training is mostly subject to a fee. In addition, aspiring psychotherapists should have a healthy psyche themselves.

They need empathy and patience when treating patients . You need to be able not to let your own feelings and conflicts influence you. The ability to differentiate from the patient’s problems is also important.

Career prospects for psychotherapists

Most psychotherapists work in their own practice or in a group practice. Psychologists are also used in psychiatric clinics, hospitals, counseling centers, children’s homes and schools. Specialists in psychiatry and psychotherapy or physicians with additional training in psychiatry can work not only as therapists but also as doctors.

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