Short questions – quick answers

What you always wanted to know about the Psychological Help can be found here. Your question isn’t listed? Please contact our office during opening hours.

How many students come to the PBS every year?
The demand for counselling has increased steadily over the last 15 years. Each year about 1500 students seek help.
Does the consultation cost anything?
All counselling services are free of charge. The PBS is financed by the Studierendenwerk Karlsruhe.
For whom is the PBS responsible?
The PBS is responsible for the following universities in Karlsruhe and Pforzheim::
  • KIT
  • Hochschule Karlsruhe Technik und Wirtschaft
  • Pädagogische Hochschule Karlsruhe
  • Hochschule für Musik Karlsruhe
  • Staatliche Hochschule für Gestaltung Karlsruhe
  • Duale Hochschule Baden-Württemberg (DHBW) Karlsruhe
  • Staatliche Akademie der Bildenden Künste Karlsruhe
  • Karlshochschule International University
  • Hochschule Pforzheim
What method(s) does the PBS use?
Different psychotherapeutic approaches and methods are used in counselling. The PBS team consists of Diploma/Master-Psychologists with additional training in the most different therapeutic areas: behavioral therapy, systemic therapy, conversational psychotherapy and depth psychology. We are happy to provide you with information on the theory and practice of the different psychotherapeutic approaches or discuss our respective procedure with you.
No counselling via e-mail: counselling implies an opposite person
It is important for us to advice you as a whole person. Therefore, we would like to get a personal impression of your life and study situation in order to be able to meet your needs. We are convinced that counselling enables and requires a meeting between two people. For many people seeking advice, the visit of the PBS is associated with uncertainty, anxiety, overcoming, fears, distrust, and negative prior experiences with regard to psychologists. Some students postpone the appointment; others would prefer to communicate only via e-mail.

However, please take into consideration that consultations at the PBS are not possible via e-mail. After several years of experience, we decided in April 2017 not to offer this form of counselling anymore. The reasons are:
  • Written texts can give information about somebody, but the person behind it remains invisible in many aspects. The communication possibilities are very limited.
  • The formulation of answers requires careful consideration from the therapeutic advisor. There is a high risk that content could be understood "incorrectly". It is difficult to clarify ambiguities via e-mail.
  • In crises, counselling via e-mail offers only limited and delayed opportunities for helping.
Therefore, we take the stance that counselling begins with a personal contact. If possible, please bring your fears and doubts (as naturally as your wishes and positive expectations) to a first meeting. This is the only way to give us the chance to get to know you.

If you would like to receive mail / chat advice, please contact the telephone helpline:

Help hotline Karlsruhe
Help hotline Pforzheim
How long does a counselling discussion last?
Usually, one-on-one sessions last from 45 to 50 minutes, while sessions with groups, partners or family last from 1 ½ to 2 hours. The session duration can be extended under certain circumstances if necessary and possible.
What kind of problems are suited for therapy?
In principle, all of them. If a certain matter is perceived as a problem, that alone is sufficient reason to do something about it; it is always wise to seek help. Low self-esteem, having no partner or having problems with a partner, depression, troubles with family, friends, and professors etc., addiction, heartbreak, anxiety, panic…the list goes on. As mentioned: If a certain matter becomes a problem, then the PBS is responsible for it, no matter how small it seems in comparison with the problems of others.
Are there other alternatives to PBS?
There are also other alternatives; there are dozens of counselling services in Karlsruhe as well as dozens of practicing psychotherapists. However, PBS is specialized in students´ needs, it is free, and in comparison with other practicing psychotherapists, there is little or no waiting period. You have the opportunity to find out more about other counselling services and therapy methods etc. at PBS.
I would rather talk to a man than a woman, or vice versa. Is that possible?
If you prefer to talk to a man or a woman, we will gladly respect your request. Please indicate this on your registration form. Detailed information about the therapists can be found under the menu item Consultants.
What about privacy and data protection?
Talking about personal issues with other people is often not easy. Confiding someone with something personal requires not only trust, but also the assurance that the information is handled with care.
Therefore, it is important for us to inform you about the framework conditions underpinning our work.

Non-disclosure and data protection: A team of psychotherapeutic and secretarial staff is responsible for the organization and implementation of counselling in the PBS. All employees of PBS are bound by a duty of confidentiality and are subject to data protection. Without your written consent, no one will receive information about your visit to the PBS or about the content of the consultation. The duty of confidentiality applies, for example, to your relatives, friends, your partner, university staff, doctors or therapists.
With your written consent, you can release us from the obligation of confidentiality: This is necessary, for example, if you wish to provide a certificate of your PBS visit to your university or if a discussion between your doctor and the PBS consultant appears useful. You can revoke the waiver of confidentiality for the future at any time, no reasons necessary.
Conversely, we must disregard confidentiality and pass on information to third parties if there is an acute risk to oneself or others that cannot be averted by other measures.

Communication via e-mail: Inquiries by e-mail and their contents are treated confidentially and are subject to legal confidentiality. They will not be passed on to unauthorized third parties. However, due to the technical conditions on the Internet, it can never be excluded that third parties may view e-mails during transmission. Therefore, communication via unencrypted e-mails is generally discouraged. On our homepage, you will find information and instructions on how to install an encryption software. If you want to send us an email, please use this option. Only then will we be able to answer you in encrypted form. Further information at Contact.

Documentation of consultations: In accordance with the professional regulations for psychotherapists, we are obliged to record the contents of the consultation in writing and to keep these records for 10 years. This is also useful for you, if you visit the PBS again after a long time.
The interview records are kept in lockable steel cabinets to which only PBS employees have access. After expiry of the period, the files are destroyed by our secretariat with a shredder approved for this purpose.

Use of questionnaires: At the beginning of the consultation, you fill out a questionnaire on your PC or on paper. Your information helps us to get an overview of your life situation and serves for diagnostics. After expiry of the 10-year retention period (see above), the personal data will be deleted from the database.
We use the questionnaire data anonymously for statistical purposes: For the public relations work of the PBS (e. g. towards universities), it has proved useful to be able to make statements about the problems students encounter when they come to the PBS and which changes or clusters are empirically noticeable. For this purpose, we evaluate the total data set of all clients without any personal assignment of the data.

Team meeting and supervision: Our team meeting takes place once a week; all psychotherapeutic staff participate in the meetings. In addition to organisational issues, we also discuss problems that arise during the consultation. Ultimately, you benefit from this “Consulting for Consultants”: The different personalities, abilities and psychotherapeutic approaches of our employees complement each other and are a treasure trove for new helpful ideas.
In addition, we use external supervision to broaden our perspective in consulting. The supervisor is also bound by the professional regulations for psychotherapists to maintain confidentiality.
Is a visit to the PBS associated with paperwork or administrative proceedings?
No. Simply make an appointment by phone call or in person. You can usually get an appointment within two weeks. In emergency cases - depending on the week’s workload - we can offer you an appointment immediately.
Should one solve his problems with friends or relatives?
Of course, if possible. Many use their social environment very effectively when it comes to solving problems. Only when these resources are insufficient (or not available) does a consultation become necessary.
How do I make an appointment for the first counselling session?
Please make an appointment by phone or in person during the office hours. For organisational reasons it is unfortunately not possible to make an appointment by e-mail.
How does the first counselling session work?
A counselling session can take up to 90 minutes:

- Before the counselling session starts, you have to fill out a questionnaire that helps us get an overview of your situation. The questionnaire has been used by the PBS for years and it also allows us to analyze your situation in a professional and comprehensive manner. Furthermore, it helps us control our work and monitor trends - so by filling out the forms, you’re helping our future clients as well.

- The counselling session takes up to 50-60 minutes. The therapist can learn about you, your living situation, and your problem. At the end of the session we can make – if possible and desired - recommendations for further action, which may consist of information, advice, or suggestions for further psychotherapeutic support.
What happens at the end of the counselling session?
In some cases, one consultation is enough to meet your needs, but in many cases, there is a need for further advice. Unless we think other support options are more appropriate, we will be happy to offer you further discussions. In addition to individual appointments, couples, families and groups are of course also possible.

If, after the initial interview or during the further course of the consultation, we get the impression that offers from other “helpers” (e. g. other specialised counselling centres, self-help groups, clinics, doctors, student counselling, etc. ) meet your needs better than the PBS, we will provide you with the appropriate information and addresses.
Why information about counsultants and therapists?
There are many ways to enrich our own happiness and the happiness of others: religion, philosophy, economy, politics, art, love, or community - just to name a few. Psychotherapeutic counselling, behavior therapy, psychoanalysis, systemic therapy, gestalt therapy, etc. are also special interpretation methods and procedures to help people have free, satisfying, and creative lives. Furthermore, the psychological conditions of our everyday life are also systematically analyzed. These psychological factors include perception, imagination, dreams, thoughts and judgments, motivation and interests, feelings, attitudes, behavior, personality, interaction and communication, development, and learning.

The last 100 years of research show that successful counselling and therapy depends not only on the applied method but also on the relation between the counsellor/therapist and the client. The counsellors and therapists undertake considerable efforts during their training and work to connect with as many people seeking help as possible. Normally, each party realizes after the first two or three encounters whether it will be a productive, helpful relationship. The client doesn´t have to know about the therapist and can rely on his own senses and feelings. In some forms of psychoanalysis, the therapist doesn´t share anything with his patient, so the time is reserved only for the fantasies, thoughts and feelings of client. Other therapists find they can connect more easily with their patients if they share something with them.

Some people may be disturbed or distracted if the therapist shares something with them, while others find it more helpful or even necessary to learn personal things – and the most effective way to find out about this is to ask.

If you would like to receive more information about counselling and therapy, please go to the menu button "Consultants" or ask personally at PBS.
Data Protection at the Studierendenwerk
The general data protection declaration of the Studierendenwerk Karlsruhe is posted in the waiting area of the Psychological Help. You can also find it here.

Your question isn’t listed? Please call us: +49 721 9334060.