Our therapy alliance

In the first 5 sessions the goal is to decide whether psychotherapy is necessary and what our focus can be. These so-called trial sessions also give us the chance to check whether we fit well with one another. Usually 2 or 3 sessions are enough to judge whether we can be optimistic about creating a high-quality therapy relationship with one another. After 5 sessions general goals should be clear and will be discussed and possibly altered or refined in the course of therapy. Within the first 5 sessions, the therapy relationship can be discontinued without naming reasons. 

Your openness, honesty and cooperation are all essential for the success of the therapy. To build a high quality therapy relationship, it is important, from the very beginning, that we try to allow ourselves as much as possible to be authentic with one another. Since studies show clearly that the quality of the therapy relationship is extremely important for the success of a therapy, any doubts or questions that you have about our therapeutic dialogue and the therapy process are of utmost importance and I ask that you talk about them with me openly. Our openness around uncertainties and doubts can help us solidify a positive therapy alliance.

Your contributions to good therapy

Come on time. 

Come completely sober having taken no alcohol, drugs or other substances that could affect your clarity of mind in session.

Reflect on the therapy in between therapy sessions. Everything that supports you in dealing with the content of our sessions between the appointments (e.g. diary entries, notes or recordings from sessions, additional reading, carrying out behavioural experiments outside the therapy room, relaxation exercises, self-observation) helps you profit from therapy. 

Fundamentally psychotherapy is a form of helping you to help yourself and can therefore be difficult but rewarding for you! It is important to plan extra time between sessions to make this possible so that the value of the therapy has a chance to unfold. The most important fundament for good therapy is your readiness to be curious and active in strengthening your well-being in a sustainable and kind way.

Internal Family Systems 

I, Calum Anderson, did my initial training to become a state-approved psychological psychotherapist here in Germany with a specialisation in behavioural therapy methods. In the course of my career, the IFS (internal family systems) model has become much more fundamental to my philosophy of therapy as it has deeply enriched my understanding of the human psyche, including my own and those of my clients and been a huge support in boosting clarity and optimism about therapeutic endeavours. Because I generally experience this therapy approach as more coherent and useful for facing the complexities of the human psyche, it is now the main framework I use in approaching the challenges and wishes of my clients. 

Here are some aspects of the approach that are important to agree on as the basis for a common understanding of the purpose of our meetings:

  1. The conflicts we experience internally are connected to different parts of ourselves with contradictory and seemingly incompatible agendas. 
  2. We wish to help reduce disharmony and invite more peace into your inner life.
  3. To do this, we do not use force. 
  4. We cultivate open-mindedness, curiosity and kindness towards the different parts and try to get to know them and appreciate them. 
  5. We aim to recognise and alleviate any burdens, pain and distress being carried by any parts and also help parts shift organically into new, updated and less extreme roles.
  6. Each of us has an inner self that is calm, curious, creative etc. 
  7. The therapist’s role is to support you in accessing this inner self space within yourself and from this foundation get to know the different parts that are involved in your conflicts. In a way, the most important relationship(s) for the therapy is not the one between the therapist and the client but the one between the client’s self and the different parts that play a role in the conflicts. 
  8. The aim of therapy is to help this client-self to client-parts relationship improve to make the therapeutic support less and less necessary. 

Availability in crises 

Psychotherapy is a long-term process aimed at assisting you in helping yourself. It is not a method for helping you in an acute crisis. Should you need to speak to someone between therapy sessions or should you be in the middle of an acute crisis, the following organizations can give you fast, short-term support:

Via telephone: 

Samaritans (UK): +44 8457 90 90 90

Find a Helpline: https://findahelpline.com/i/iasp (this is an international organisation that helps you find the right support via text, video or telephone for your crisis)

Suicide Prevention International: https://www.befrienders.org

Psychiatrischer Krisendienst München (9 am – 12 midnight): 0180/655 3000 (usually also available in English)

In person: 

Die Arche – Saarstraße 5 – 80797 München – https://die-arche.de – 089/334041 (this organisation in Munich helps people in any kind of crisis including suicidality and can be funded through the public health care system)

Atriumhaus Bavariastraße 11, 80336 Munich: 089 7678 9118

Psychiatrische Klinik LMU Nussbaumstraße 7, 80336 Munich: 089 5160 5511

Emergency Doctor (in Germany): 112


It is best to come a maximum of 10 minutes early to a live appointment in the practice in order to avoid having to wait outside. If you find yourself running any more than a few minutes late for an appointment, it is helpful if you could let Calum know either via SMS or email. 

How long can we work together?

Beyond the first five trial sessions, we assess the effectiveness of our work together every 5-10 sessions and decide if and how to proceed. I am generally happy to support you for a maximum of 60 sessions as long as the sessions continue to be useful for you within that time frame.

Effects including Side-effects

Psychotherapy is known to be effective at helping people improve their quality of life and reducing their symptoms in the long term. However it is important to realise that dealing with your problems and the connections with your own biography can lead to unpleasant feelings or unforeseen consequences (e.g. increased awareness of problems, disharmony in relationships, feelings of regret, sadness, loss etc). These can be a sign that your therapy process is moving forward and that you are dealing with important emotions and facing challenges and discomforts that are promising for long-term, sustainable growth. If you have any questions about this, please ask your therapist. Particularly if, during our therapy, you feel destabilised or in a crisis, suicidal or otherwise, please make sure to inform me. We may wish to make plans together for how to help you deal with these difficult states. 

Formalities for financing

If you are relying on being reimbursed for the sessions, it is important that you find out how your health service provider regulates for psychotherapy. Sometimes contracts with private health insurance companies even exclude the possibility of financing psychotherapy. Some insurance companies require a formal application for approval of psychotherapy after the first five trial sessions whereas others do not. Please find out about the formal conditions for psychotherapy and about the application and reimbursement in your particular case at the start of our work together. This helps you so that you know soon which costs are reimbursed and is necessary for your therapist to plan several hours for the formulation of an application, should one be required.

Should you wish to finance the therapy out of your own pocket, these formalities are naturally irrelevant.

Visit to your GP or alternative practitioners

A visit to the doctor often makes sense just to ensure that your symptoms do not have an organic cause (e.g. underactive thyroid), which may make our therapy work superfluous. Some health insurance companies require a confirmation of medical necessity in order to process your application for psychotherapy. 

Alternative Therapy Forms

There are many different types of therapy and these also tend to differ a lot depending on the individual therapist. We are trained primarily in behavioural therapy which tends to take a more pragmatic approach and focuses on current goals for improving life quality. The other form of therapy which is funded by health service providers is deep psychology / psychoanalysis, which is less focused on specific goals than it is on understanding deeper conflicts in the individual psyche. Many clients can benefit from both forms of therapy and may do both of them at some point in their lives. 

Medication including “self-medication”

In some cases, the addition of medication can be important to support your psychotherapy treatment. Medication can only be prescribed by a medical doctor (e.g. psychiatrist or neurologist). Please inform your therapist of any other treatments, medical or otherwise, which you are using in addition to the psychotherapy as these may have an impact on your psychotherapy. Please also inform your therapist of any changes in these in the course of the therapy.

Should you self-medicate using substances such as alcohol or cannabis or anything else, please inform your therapist since these can, under some circumstances have a significant effect on your therapy. This needs to be considered on an individual basis. Generally anything that appears to be helping you be more at peace and get on well with life can be seen in the context of a supportive intention. With an IFS (internal family systems) understanding of therapy, our main task in relation to any use of substances is to help parts that encourage you to use them to have more options and flexibility to fulfil the functions of the substances, which is usually a form of soothing.

My Bills

Because you are my direct contractual partner, you are required to pay my fees. The charges are regulated by the official scale of fees for psychological psychotherapists (“Gebührenordnung für Psychologische Psychotherapeuten”, GOP). Usually a standard rate per 50 minute session is arranged at the beginning of the therapy treatment. If diagnostic questionnaires and the biographical questionnaire are used, there will be additional charges as standard. Many private health insurance companies continue only to reimburse the amounts that were set as standard when the GOP was last revised in 1996 so you may have to pay a portion of the costs out of pocket. The fee is automatically updated according to inflation once per year. 

Unless we come to a different arrangement, the bills have to be paid within 14 days. Please discuss any delays of payment with me in order to prevent unnecessary work and costs. Should the second reminder not be paid before the set deadline, the bill will be passed on to my lawyer, who will apply for a court order. All arrears fees and legal bills always have to be paid by the therapy-client.

Insurance Policies in the future

If your therapy is financed through an insurance company and you wish at some later point to change to private health insurance or wish to take out life insurance or some other insurance policy, the insurance company may wish to know whether you have had psychotherapy and for which diagnoses and may calculate a higher fee because of this.

Cancellation fee

In psychotherapeutic practices only one patient can be planned at one time so a cancellation fee of 70% of the arranged fee (which cannot be reimbursed by your health insurance company) will be charged if an appointment is not cancelled 48 hours (2 full working days) before the appointment. This means that an appointment on Monday morning at 11 am has to be cancelled by Thursday morning at 11 am. Please remember that late cancellations mean that clients on the waiting list, who would have been grateful for the appointment, have to wait longer. Should you need to cancel a live session, please consider the possibility of a telephone or online session, which can usually be arranged at short notice.

Email Contact

We use an ordinary email program that does not fulfil any special electronic security measures. This means that confidentiality cannot be 100% guaranteed if you decide to use email to contact us e.g. about appointments, to give us personal information or for receiving bills. Please also see Data Protection section. 

End of Psychotherapy

If you decide to continue the therapy beyond the first 5 trial sessions, you consent to discussing the end of therapy with your therapist personally. Ultimately the purpose of a psychotherapist is to make himself unnecessary to the client so the goal is to no longer need to come to sessions. However, since an abrupt end can often be the sign of a problem, it is important to discuss the reasons for the end of therapy with your therapist.

Quality Control

To insure the quality of treatment, Mr. Calum Anderson takes part in continual training programs. Part of this involves supervison/intervision with a qualified colleague, who is told details about your treatment. No details are divulged, which would reveal your identity. An external perspective on your psychotherapy helps enhance the quality of our work together. 

What is important to you?

Having read what I find important for effective psychotherapy work, what questions do you have? Are there any wishes or needs that you have that you would like to ask about?