Who needs family therapy

Couple therapy and family therapy

Everything you need to know about psychotherapy (page 11/15)

Help with conflicts and problems in partnership or family

Often the main cause of psychological distress lies less in the problems of an individual, but in interpersonal conflicts and difficulties, for example in a partnership or within the family. In such cases, couple or family therapy can be helpful in dealing with acute or chronic conflicts and achieving positive changes in relationships.

However, the therapy of couples or families in Germany does not count as psychotherapy in the narrower sense. Because according to the Psychotherapists Act, "psychological activities that deal with the processing and overcoming of social conflicts or other purposes outside of medicine“Not about psychotherapy.

The professional terms relating to couples therapy and family therapy, for example "couple therapist", "couple counseling", "family therapist" or "family counseling" are not protected by law. There are no regulations as to what kind of training a couple or family therapist must have undergone. Various training centers offer training courses for couples or family therapists, some of which lead to a certificate. In addition to the content, the requirements for participating in the training can also vary (e.g. psychology studies, other degrees, no studies necessary)

Professional law: guidelines for the training of therapists

The following criteria can provide some orientation about the training a couple or family therapist has undergone:

If someone offers “psychoanalytic couple or family therapy”, they have usually also completed training in psychoanalysis. In addition, there are many medical or psychological psychotherapists who have taken part in additional training in couple or family therapy and offer this in their range of therapies. In all these cases, the therapist has basic training in a recognized psychotherapy procedure.

Systemic therapy, which deals in particular with couples and families, but which is also offered for (individual) adults as well as children and adolescents, is also recognized as scientifically recognized and has been a guideline procedure since July 1, 2020 and can be billed to the statutory health insurance companies. Many institutes offer training courses that are based on the quality standards of the two largest systemic professional associations - the German Society for Systemic Therapy and Family Therapy (DGSF) and the Systemic Society (SG). A certificate from one of these two associations thus proves that certain content-related and formal requirements were met during the training.

Who pays for couples therapy?

Since couple and family therapy are not part of psychotherapy, the costs are not covered by statutory or private health insurances. An exception is possible if one of the partners suffers from a mental disorder with a disease value (e.g. an anxiety disorder or depression) and this disease places a heavy burden on the partnership - in this case it can make sense for both partners to participate in the therapy together take part.

Whenever the well-being or development of a child or adolescent is at risk, the costs for family therapy can be covered by the youth welfare office or social welfare agency. Furthermore, many social and church organizations offer couples and family counseling and sometimes also couples therapy free of charge or relatively cheap - in order to find the individually suitable offer, one should compare the type of offer, costs and services (e.g. number of hours).