Our therapy alliance
In the first 5 sessions the goal is to decide whether psychotherapy is necessary and what the goals shall be. These so-called trial sessions also give us the chance to check whether we can work well as a team. Usually 2 or 3 sessions are enough to judge whether we can be optimistic about working together. After 5 sessions general goals should be clear and will be discussed and possibly altered in the course of therapy. Your openness, honesty and cooperation are all essential for the success of the therapy. Since studies show clearly that the quality of the therapy relationship is extremely important for the success of a therapy, any questions that you have about our work together are of utmost importance and I ask that you talk about them with me openly.
Your work 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 hard but rewarding work for you! It is important to plan extra time between sessions to make this possible if you wish to profit significantly from our work together. Good therapy work has as its fundament your readiness to be active and interested in strengthening your well-being and openness to anything that supports you in taking care of yourself in a sustainable and loving way.
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:
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)
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.
How long can we work together?
The length of our work together depends on many factors. The most important one for me is that we agree our work is helping you. I like us to check in periodically e.g. every 5-10 sessions to see how we are doing, to update your goals and make agreements for the next stage of your therapy project.
Effects including Side-effects
Psychotherapy is known to be effective at helping people improve their quality of life and reduce 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). A certain level of discomfort (e.g. when facing anxieties) is inevitable at some points in therapy and needs to be bravely taken into account. These unpleasant feelings 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.
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 treatment. Please also inform your therapist of any changes in these in the course of the therapy.
If you self-medicate using substances such as alcohol or cannabis or anything else, please inform your therapist since these can, under some circumstances have an effect on your progress. This needs to be considered on an individual basis.
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. Some private health insurance companies continue only to reimburse the amounts that were set as standard when the GOP was last revised in the 1990’s so you may have to pay a portion of the costs out of pocket.
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.
In psychotherapeutic practices only one patient can be planned at one time so a cancellation fee of €90 (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.
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.
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?