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Psychological Counseling Services

FAQ

Counseling Services

Who can come to you for counseling?

Students and doctoral candidates who are matriculated at UZH or ETH may receive counseling with us.

I am an employee of UZH/ETH. Can I also come to you for counseling?

If you have a specific situation that you would like to discuss concerning a student for whom you are responsible, you are welcome to make an appointment with us. For cases that are work-related, please contact your HR office at UZH or ETH. Employees of UZH can also receive support for legal and mental health matters at the Employee Assistance Office. https://www.mbs.uzh.ch/en.html

Which kind of problems can I discuss with the Psychological Counseling Services?

We will gladly discuss any issues that you have, whether they  are related to your studies or are more personal in nature. We can help you with problems related to beginning or finishing your studies, procrastination and ability to focus, stressful situations, or conflicts in your relationships or with your family.  Personal Counseling

What should I do if I am concerned about a friend or colleague?

Tell them about your concerns and encourage them to contact us and make an appointment for a counseling session. If you suspect that someone is in inmediate danger, call the police at 117 or emergency medical services at 144.

Do you offer group counseling?

Yes, we offer a number of group sessions and workshops. Courses for Groups

Appointments / Contact / Location

How can I make an appointment with you?

Please book appointments by e-mail: pbs@sib.uzh.ch. We are also available during semester vacations.

Where can I find you?
The Psychological Counseling Services are located in the center of Zurich at Plattenstrasse 28. Link to the interactive map: https://www.pbs.uzh.ch/en/map.html

Counseling Sessions / Advice on Psychotherapy

Do the counseling sessions cost anything?

No. Counseling with us is free of charge.

Is the counseling confidential?

Yes, the discussions are confidential. You can feel free to talk openly with us. We are subject to professional confidentiality, and this applies to our interactions with everyone in the UZH and ETH community.

Which languages are spoken at the sessions?

We offer counseling in German, English, French, Spanish, Dutch and Polish.

How many sessions can I have with you?

There is no set limit to the number of sessions you can book. We will plan according to your needs. If you want or need counseling for a longer period of time, we can refer you to a specialist (see also the question below).

Do you also offer psychotherapy?

We cannot offer any longer-term psychotherapy due to high demand and limited capacity. If you are interested in undergoing psychotherapy, we would be happy to help you find a suitable practitioner.

What exactly is meant by psychotherapy?

In Switzerland, psychotherapy is provided by a professional who has specialized in psychology or medicine. The goal is for patients to reduce or receive relief from debilitating psychological symptoms by having conversations with a specialist. During this process, the patient will actively engage in self-reflection and confront the factors that are impairing their mental health. There are different types of psychotherapy. In Switzerland, the main three are psychodynamic therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy and systemic therapy. Psychotherapy has been scientifically proven to be effective. There are international classification systems that clearly define what counts as a mental illness or disorder (e.g., the ICD-10).

How can I pay for psychotherapy?

Psychotherapy is covered by all Swiss basic insurance funds (depending on deductible/excess), if there is a diagnosis and corresponding indication for a treatment and if it is provided by a psychiatrist or a certified psychologist. When moving to Switzerland as an international student, you will have to take out an obligatory Swiss insurance or get one of the student insurances packages. Some health insurance funds offer those special packages for foreign students (e. g. Academic Care, ScoreStudies, Student Care, Swisscare, KVG insurance plan) that are much cheaper than the usual obligatory Swiss basic insurance funds. Most of them work with a reimbursement model, meaning you will have to pay the doctor/therapist bill yourself first, then hand in the bill to your insurance company and get a reimbursement then. To inform yourself, compare premiums and choose a suitable health insurance fund and model.
International students from EU/EFTA countries holding an «European Health Insurance Card» (or with a private insurance from their home country) may be exempt from having to take out compulsory health insurance when moving to Switzerland. In this case, the costs of a treatment such as psychotherapy or psychiatric services are covered by the insurance company in your home country. There is a service office for whole of Switzerland that takes care of all the reimbursement procedures with foreign insurance companies, called Gemeinsame Einrichtung KVGhttps://www.kvg.org. To claim your money back after a treatment, wait for the therapist/doctor's bill, pay it yourself and send then the reimbursement certificate and all required documents to KVG.
Important note: the exemption from the Swiss health insurance obligation is only approved if you do not have any income. If you receive any kind of income, your insurance coverage from your home country is no longer valid. You will then need to take out a Swiss health insurance or get a student insurance package such as other international students usually do.

When I visit you, will you make a diagnosis?

No. Our aim is to explore with you why your are having difficulties in a certain area. If you wish to further explore a possible diagnosis, or if we determine that this would be warranted, we will inform you about the possible next steps. 

What can I expect from counseling? Will I be given a solution to my problems?

In an initial discussion, we will look at the difficulties you have and define with you what it is you wish to work on. Together we will then consider possible actions and solutions. A solution is sometimes found surprising quickly, and a discussion helps you to realize that you have more options open than initially assumed. People often say that sessions with our counselors offer relief. They can also help to make you interested in understanding yourself better.

Do you also offer psychotherapy?

Due to high demand and limited capacity, we cannot offer full psychotherapy treatments. If you are interested in psychotherapy, we will be happy to help you find an appropriate therapy center. We will also advise you on financing your therapy.

Counseling Team

Who works at the Psychological Counseling Services?

Our therapists are all clinical psychologists with qualifications in psychotherapy. The following link leads you to our https://www.pbs.uzh.ch/de/ueber-uns/teampbs.html

Other UZH/ETH Counseling Services

Which other counseling services are available at UZH and ETH?

UZH students will find details of counseling services here: Advice & Support

ETH students can find counseling services via the following link: Advice

Crisis / Threat

For some time, suicide has been on my mind and I have thoughts of taking my life. Can you help me?

If you are in an acute crises, you could apply to the following services:

Crises Support Heart2Heart: phone 0800 143 00, daily form 6pm to 11pm. https://www.heart2heart.143.ch
Crises Intervention KIZ: Zurich 044 296 73 10, https://www.pukzh.ch
Winterthur 052 264 37 00, https://ipw.ch/patienten-angehoerige/erwachsene/kriseninterventionszentrum
Aerztefon: 0800 33 66 55, https://www.aerztefon.ch

Urgent doctor’s consultation: Permanence at the Zurich Main Station: 044 215 44 45 https://www.permanence.ch

In cases of acute danger, you can get help by calling the police (117) or emergency medical services (144).

I feel threatened and stalked. What should I do?

We help victims and offenders find appropriate external counseling or treatment. Depending on the situation, we will also involve the Threat Management team at ETH (044 342 11 88) or UZH (044 635 41 41). 

I am seriously worried that a friend or colleague could harm themselves or another person. What should I do?

In cases of acute danger, you can get help by calling the police (117) or emergency medical services (144).

If the person is likely to harm someone else, please contact the Threat Management team at ETH (044 342 11 88) or UZH (044 635 41 41) and let them know what you have noticed.