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How to get an English-speaking therapist in Austria

How to get an English-speaking therapist in Austria
How do you get an English-speaking psychologist in Austria? Photo by Cottonbro from Pexels
Living overseas and navigating a different language can be stressful at the best of times. Throw in a pandemic and ongoing travel restrictions and the pressure can become overwhelming, which is where therapy comes in.

According to a recent study by Danube University Krems and the Austrian Federal Association for Psychotherapy, 26 per cent of the population in Austria experienced depression in January this year – up from four to five per cent in pre-coronavirus times.

Anxiety and panic attacks are also on the rise, particularly in women.

This means the demand for mental health care is increasing – both for Austrians and international residents.

Therapy is a proven method for dealing with mental health issues, but for many English-speakers in Austria the language can be a barrier – even for those with strong German-language skills.

The solution is to find a therapist that speaks English, and here’s how to do it.

How to find an English-speaking therapist in Austria

There are many English-speaking therapists in Austria, although it’s more common in bigger towns and cities where there are bigger populations.

Unfortunately, in smaller, rural regions, it can be difficult to find an English-speaking GP, and even harder to find a therapist.

But many mental health practitioners now offer their services online via video call, with this increasing since the start of the pandemic in 2020.

This has improved accessibility for international residents seeking therapy in English who might not live in one of Austria’s metropolitan areas and would otherwise have to travel for treatment. 

The first step to get more information about English-speaking therapists in Austria is to visit a GP (Hausarzt) to explain the problem and ask for a referral.

Searching online can also help with finding a therapist on both a national and local level.

Is therapy covered by Austrian social insurance?

In Austria, it’s compulsory to have social insurance, which covers health care.

Mental health services are included in this, but not all treatments are fully covered or equally reimbursed.

For example, the cost of acute mental health treatment, such as in-patient care in a hospital, is mostly covered by insurance.

However, for treatments like psychotherapy, the insurance doesn’t always cover the full cost and the reimbursement rate for the fees are usually around 70 to 80 per cent.

With therapists’ rates ranging from upwards of €80 per session, this can make therapy an expensive option for most people, even with partial reimbursement through insurance.

Then there are private therapists that are not covered by insurance and are known as “out of network”, so the entire fee has to be covered by the patient.

The good news is that GP appointments and check-ups are covered by insurance. 

This means there is no fee for visiting a doctor to discuss the options for therapy and to determine how much treatment will cost before committing to a costly treatment plan.

How do you get an English-speaking psychologist in Austria? Photo by Cottonbro from Pexels

What types of therapy are available in Austria?

Austria has a modern healthcare system so most recognised forms of therapy are widely available.

According to the European Association for Psychotherapy, there are 23 different types of psychotherapy methods being practiced in Austria.

These include analytical psychology, psychoanalysis, hypnotherapy, group and individual therapies.

There are also therapists in Austria specialising in Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT), which is increasingly used to treat anxiety, and “expat” practitioners that have specialist knowledge of international living and culture shock.

In the event of a mental health crisis, advice can be accessed with telephone counselling from Telefon Seelsorge or the Crisis Intervention Centre, both of which are similar to the Samaritans organisation in the UK. 

Useful links for finding a therapist in Austria

Below are three organisations that regulate the profession of psychotherapy in Austria and list registered therapists on their websites.

European Association for Psychotherapy

ÖBVP – Österreichischer Bundesverband für Psychotherapie

Professional Association of Austrian Psychologists (BÖP)


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