Frequently asked questions about Psychotherapy in Austria

Even though the importance of mental health has gained a lot more significance over the last years, there are still stigmas concerning mental illnesses and psychological suffering.


To help clear up some open questions, I collected the most frequent ones and try to answer them here.


If you think important questions are missing, please contact me here!


What should I expect of a psychotherapy session?

Psychotherapy was called the “talking cure” by Freud which means, there is a lot of talking included in therapy sessions. Even though, Psychotherapists all work under the same professional name, the approaches can be quite differently depending on the chosen modality.


I like to use the method of free association which invites you to openly talk about whatever comes to mind. This is our therapy topic and by those thoughts try to understand how they are integrated in your symptoms and problems.


In certain cases I also use different tools like emotion cards, stones, plush toys or other items to illustrate inner processes and understand how those views interact on your life and choices.

What is confidentiality in the therapeutical setting?

Client Confidentiality is one of the key aspects of psychotherapy and is even obligatory by § 15 of psychotherapy law!


This obligation is my personal approach towards client confidentiality since I think it is important, that you can rely on me as your therapist and build up trust. In Austria and Europe this regulation is even enforced with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). Even though, we psychotherapists have stricter rules of Data Protection, this underlines the improtance of our core aspects!


Since I also need to write invoices I will have to use some of your personal data. But you can trust on my absolute discretion with every information you give to me!

How is it possible to get a refund of Health Insurance?

Once you are a licensed psychotherapist in Austria it is possible to get refunds or partly refunds for psychotherapy sessions.


Full refunded therapy spots are (especially in Vienna) very hard to get since there is a long waiting list. But for a part refund (Teilrefundierung) you need the following requirements:


  • Confirmation of a Medical Doctor (Allgemeinarzt/Hausarzt or Psychiatrist) about a physical checkup and necessity of psychotherapeutic treatment incl. a transference. This confirmation/transference needs to be dated before the 2nd session
  • An existing psychological diagnose from ICD-10
  • A Health Insurance-Form filled out by your psychotherapist
  • All Documents must be sent in by the client before the 11th psychotherapy session.


Amount of Grants (updated: January 2024):


  • ÖGK (formerly GKK): € 33,70 per session
  • BVAEB (formerly BVA & VAEB): € 46,60 per session
    • with special documentation you can get up to 30 sessions directly paid by BVAEB
  • SVS (formerly SVA/SVB): € 45,– per session

What is the difference between Psychiatrist, Psychologist and Psychotherapist?

Please note that the following information is only valid in Austria! Each country has their own qualification process for those professions.





Main Profession + Additional Education for Psychotherapist in an Institution or University


Field of Responsibilities:

Short- and Long-Term Therapy of Psychological Disorders and for acute stress symptoms in the form of talking therapy. Due to regular sessions a bond of trust will be established and the client has the possibility to work through past traumatic experiences and current problematic symptoms together with the therapist.


When should I go to see a Psychotherapist? 

If you feel that you need help dealing with current life events, with a psychiatric disorder, psychological diagnose or signs of psychosomatic diseases. Even if you would just like to get some psycho-hygiene and work on your personality development psychotherapy can be very useful to detect stressful patterns or life choices.  The focus lies in helping you to find a solution for yourself.





Study of Medicine + Residency for Psychiatry/Neurology


Field of Responsibilities:

Out of those 3 professions only Psychiatrists or Neurologists are allowed to prescribe medication in Austria. They are medical professionals thus will look especially for physical components to psychological diseases (e.g. brain functioning, diseases of the nervous system,…) and can therefore offer help via medicine. Some Psychiatrists in Austria also have an additional qualification to work as Psychotherapists, still those 2 fields should be separated in the therapeutical work.


When should I go to see a Psychiatrist/Neurologist?

If you suspect a psychiatric/psychological disease, an imbalance of hormones or have a genetic predisposition a Psychiatrist/Neurologist can help you. Also to support a psychotherapeutical treatment with medication for example in severe cases of Depression, Schizophrenia or Anxiety Disorders you should visit a medical doctor in addition to Psychotherapy.






Study of Psychology + Specialization (like e.g. Clinical Psychologist)


Field of Responsibilities:

Psychologists have a wide range of working fields in Austria and is differentiated by the specifications during the studies. In general you could say that Psychologists work with statistics, testings and/or profiling (personality and/or behaviour). The working area can be Clinical Psychologist, Forensic Psychologist, Traffic Psychology, School PSychology and many more.


An important fact is, that only Clinical Psychologists are allowed to work with psychological disorders and diagnose them. This specialization can only be made after the basic study of Psychology is completed and takes 1-2 years.


When should I go to see a Psychologist?

If you need a psychological testing for any kind of office or department, or for clarification of  a certain diagnose of your Psychotherapist/Psychiatrist you can go to a Clinical Psychologist. Those appointments will be for testings and discussion after only.


Why should I go to therapy when I can talk to my friends?

Psychotherapy offers a trustful setting to discuss various topics. The therapeutical relationship allows an unconditional positive regard, a non-judgemental communication where you are enabled to act through different emotions which would be associated negatively in general society. Some emotions are even perceived as shameful but in your therapy session you have an objective counterpart who looks at it with an experienced eye to show behavioral patterns.


Additionally Psychotherapy is confidential by law which offers a great security to open up. While friends might mean well and want the best for you with good advice, the focus in Psychotherapy lies in helping to help yourself. This means that you also learn how to discover those patterns yourself in future.


In my experience friendships tend to get unburdened when leaving troubling thoughts in the therapy room.


Therapy sessions can be your own private space where you can find yourself at your own pace!