"full screen" from SWR: Criticism of questionable treatments by non-medical practitioners in psychotherapy / film on youtube and in the ARD media library

SWR – Südwestrundfunk

Mainz (ots)

Esotericism, opposition to vaccination and conspiracy theories instead of effective treatment of psychological problems: This is reported by patients who have been treated by non-medical practitioners for depression, anxiety disorders or other mental illnesses. In many cases, non-medical practitioners for psychotherapy work with questionable or even harmful methods, as research in the investigative format “full screen” (video online from September 20, 5 p.m. on youtube.de/vollbild and in the ARD media library) shows. In view of the research, the German Association of Psychotherapists (DPtV) demands that naturopaths should no longer be allowed to offer psychotherapy for reasons of patient safety.

More psychological problems since the corona pandemic

Since the corona pandemic, more and more Germans have been complaining about mental problems. The demand for psychotherapy has increased significantly. However, because there are too few therapy places in psychotherapeutic practices, many of those affected seek salvation from naturopaths. In order to work as a non-medical practitioner for psychotherapy, you only need the so-called “small non-medical practitioner license”. Requirements for this are a minimum age of 25 years and a police clearance certificate. The exam for the certificate is carried out by the health department, 21 of 28 multiple-choice questions must be answered correctly in writing, and this is followed by a 30-minute oral exam.

Esotericism, anti-vaccination and conspiracy theories instead of psychotherapy

Alternative practitioners for psychotherapy promise to relieve the health system and reduce waiting times for therapy places – but in some cases they do more damage than they help patients. Research of the SWR investigative format “full screen” shows the risks of treatment by some non-medical practitioners for psychotherapy. Christoph Kürbel, reporter for the “Full Screen” film, has researched cases of patients who have consulted non-medical practitioners for psychotherapy. However, they were not helped, they describe in front of the camera. In return, they encountered conspiracy theories, opposition to vaccination, corona deniers and esotericism.

Expert: “Clear crossing of borders”

With a hidden camera, the author went to a healing practice in a self-experiment and pretended to want to have anxiety and depression treated. The practice advertises on its website with numerous procedures that should be effective against it. Thomas Fydrich, Professor of Psychotherapy at the Humboldt University in Berlin, then evaluated the recordings of the undercover research for “full screen”. None of the methods used are scientifically proven, but they are potentially harmful for patients suffering from acute anxiety disorders. “This is a clear transgression of limits. It is clearly an assumption of authority” – so his assessment of the treatment in the healing practice, which was documented with a hidden camera.

Doubts about the professional qualifications of naturopaths

Alternative practitioners for psychotherapy repeatedly end up in court because of incorrect and harmful treatment methods, says Dirk Revenstorf, professor of clinical psychology at the University of Tübingen, in an interview with “Vollbild”. He is consulted in many legal proceedings as an expert witness. Revenstorf reports on invasive treatment methods that can (re-)traumatize patients in case of doubt, so that they have to go to a clinic or treatment again. The professor of clinical psychology explains that it is a fallacy that non-medical practitioners can relieve the health system. He expresses massive doubts about the professional qualifications of many naturopaths: “Strangely enough, naturopaths with very little training often feel called upon to treat difficult disorders such as trauma or sexual disorders,” criticizes Revenstorf.

German Psychotherapists Association sees patient safety at risk

The German Association of Psychotherapists (DPtV) is now demanding that non-medical practitioners should no longer be allowed to offer psychotherapy at all: “For quality reasons, psychotherapy should only be carried out by licensed and scientifically trained psychotherapists. Non-medical practitioners do not meet this standard, so that we We are in favor of eliminating the possibility of psychotherapy being provided by non-medical practitioners,” emphasizes Gebhard Hentschel, DPtV national chairman. Exposing patients to the risk of qualitatively unsecured psychotherapy by non-medical practitioners endangers patient safety. “Even in times of high demand, this is neither necessary nor justifiable,” says Hentschel.

Difficult distinction between serious and dubious offers

40 percent of those seeking help waited three to nine months for a therapy place in the 2019 insurance year. The corona pandemic has now further exacerbated the problem. Anyone who needs acute help and can afford it, turns to private therapy offers, of which there are numerous. However, it is not easy for laypeople to distinguish between serious and dubious in this jungle. While the professional title “psychotherapist” is protected, the term “psychotherapy” is not. If you want to go into therapy with a licensed doctor or psychotherapist, you should make sure that it is a “medical psychotherapist” or “diploma psychologist”.

“Full Screen” from SWR is the new investigative research format from the workshop of “Report Mainz” and LABO M. Every two weeks on Tuesdays a new video appears on YouTube and in the ARD media library.

More info also on www.youtube.com/vollbild and in the ARD media library

Info also on: http://swr.li/vollbild-tik-tok and http://swr.li/vollbild-heilpraktiker

Quotations are free if the source is acknowledged.

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Original content from: SWR – Südwestrundfunk, transmitted by news aktuell

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