How to find an English-speaking therapist in Berlin

How to find an English-speaking therapist in Berlin

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If you’re seeking support with your mental health in Berlin, you might have discovered that it can be tricky to find a qualified, English-speaking professional in Berlin. Niya Ilieva from Freiraum Psychotherapie breaks down the problem and explains where you can turn for help. 

In times of rising mental health hurdles and political uncertainty, the importance of mental health specialists has increased exponentially. This means that searching for a therapist or a psychologist has become a rather difficult task, especially in a big city like Berlin. 

Nevertheless, there is still hope to be had amid the jungle of long waiting lists and rejection emails. 

Why has the search for psychotherapy in Berlin become so difficult?

Most people in Berlin are insured by the state under the statutory health insurance system (gesetzliche Krankenversicherung). For political reasons, the public system only covers the cost of a small number of therapists. Therapists need to have attained a licence, known as a “Kassensitz”, to fall under the public system, and the number of these licences is regulated by the government and very limited. To attain a Kassensitz, therapists face long waiting times and high costs. 

Consequently - even though there are plenty of therapists out there with the same education (the official title “Psychologischer Psychotherapeut” and the approval to provide therapy is only given to people who have attained a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree in psychology, and completed specialised psychotherapist education) - there are not enough therapists working under the public system to keep up with demand. 

The limit on the number of Kassensitz licences leads to long waiting times for patients, as licensed therapists cannot accept all of the people who enquire with them as patients. 

If you are struggling with your search for a therapist in Berlin, the following article lists a few tips to help. 

Consider paying for your therapy

It’s worth bearing in mind that people with private health insurance and those who are willing to pay privately for therapy will find a broader spectrum of options - as they are able to access the therapists and practices that aren’t licensed to work under the public system, despite having the same qualifications.

As most people are publicly insured, therapists with a Kassensitz have extremely long waiting times. Therefore, searching for therapy as a self-payer will increase your chances of finding something suitable. Private practices tend to have much shorter wait times, and may even be able to offer therapy in English or another language. Your public health insurer may however cover the cost of treatment at a private practice if you are struggling to find therapy elsewhere. 

Look at training institutes

From behavioural therapy to psychoanalysis: there is a variety of training institutes for therapists in Germany, many of which accept patients. A common misconception about working with a trainee therapist is that their lack of experience may negatively affect the relationship between the patient and the therapist and consequently the outcome of the therapy. But don’t get discouraged by this - all trainees are constantly supervised by experienced therapists, ensuring that you get a motivated and well-trained therapist. 

The downside to working with a trainee is, however, that it can be difficult to get started. Institutes often provide no contact information or information on their opening hours and can therefore be hard to reach. Some institutes might also have long waiting lists. 

Use a therapy website 

Although the idea of browsing through endless lists of names and phone numbers might seem like a nightmare for a person searching for therapy, websites like and can help you with the seemingly never-ending search. On these websites, therapists will usually indicate whether they have the capacity for new patients or not. You can also filter by location and type of therapy if you’re looking for something specific. 

Unfortunately, these listings are not always kept up-to-date and there is no guarantee that the therapist will still be able to take on new patients when you make contact with them. 

Try online therapy 

If you’re still struggling to find something suitable, online therapy might be your solution. More and more patients are using online platforms to speak with their patients, allowing a growing number of people to speak with a therapist at their convenience and from the comfort of home. This might be via video sessions, online platforms, or even via an app - the digital options are endless. Just search for a therapist who offers online sessions or find an online programme that suits your needs. Many therapists also offer test sessions to ensure the fit is right before you commit. 

The downside to online therapy is that some of the therapists do not have formal  “Psychologische Psychotherapeuten” qualifications. If you want to work with a licensed therapist, make sure you always check their credentials before signing up. 

If you are looking for an English-speaking therapist in Berlin, Freiraum Psychotherapie is the place for you. As well as offering sessions from their office in Berlin, Freiraum Psychotherapie also offers online appointments for people who need more flexible mental health support. 


Niya Ilieva


Niya Ilieva

Short bio of the author: Niya Ilieva is a master’s student of clinical psychology at the Humboldt university of Berlin and is currently an assistant at Freiraum Psychotherapie Berlin.

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