What you always wanted to know about the PBS...

How many students come to the PBS every year?
The demand for counselling has increased steadily over the last 10 years.
In 2010, 1070 students have benefited from the counselling services, 1112 in 2011 and 1134 in 2012.
Are the counselling services free?
All the counselling services are free. The PBS is financed by the social service contribution by the students as well as the earnings of the Studentenwerk.
For whom is the PBS responsible?
The PBS is responsible for the following universities in Karlsruhe and Pforzheim:
~ 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?
As a counselling service, the PBS is entitled to adapt the psychological and psychotherapeutic methods to the clients’ needs and wishes. The employees have degrees in psychology with further training in different kind of fields, including behavioral therapy, systemic therapy, client-centered psychotherapy, depth psychology based psychotherapy, dialectical behavior therapy (DBT), and focusing. Information regarding theory and practice of the different psychotherapeutic approaches will be provided if requested.
As of now, 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 "wrong". It is elaborate 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:
- Counselling via e-mail: https://ts-im-internet.de
- Counselling via chat: https://chat.telefonseelsorge.org

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. The therapist will make this decision together with the patient.
Who benefits from the counselling services?
Students from all branches of study, men and women regardless of age, as well as partners, family members, friends, professors, and those who want to help a student, but don´t how to handle the situation all benefit from the counseling services.
What kind of problems are suited for therapy?
In principle, all of them. If a certain manner 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 manner 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 respond to your request. Please indicate this on your registration form. Detailed information about the therapists can be found under the menu button Personnel.
What about privacy protection?
All personal information and conversation contents are protected by applicable data protection law. All records are kept in steel cabinets and destroyed after 10 years.
Nobody finds out about the content of the conversations, or even of the fact that you are/were at PBS. This confidentiality extends to all persons and institutions, including the Studentenwerk, relatives, university lecturers, friends, your family doctor / general practitioner or other therapists outside the PBS.
We can/have to break the confidentiality agreement under the following conditions:

1. You release us with a written consent of the confidentiality regarding certain people or certain topics

2. If we have to protect you or others from danger. We would otherwise be found guilty of failing to assist.

3. If there is a lawsuit launched against you and we are committed to the witness stand, we have to testify, because psychologists do not have the right to decline testifying in court.

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.
What is the difference between counselling and psychotherapy?
This requires a longer discussion. The distinction between "counselling" and "therapy" is rather juridical – not just content-related.
How often do I have to come to the PBS?
It depends on your request. Counselling appointments are set up in consultation with you, as needed, on a weekly, 14-day, monthly basis and, if necessary, even for longer intervals. How long a counselling session will last can´t be predicted; happiness, mood, behavior, personality development and satisfaction depend on too many factors that can´t be controlled.
Should one solve his problems with friends or relatives?
Of course, if it´s possible. Many people use their social connections very effectively when it comes to solving problems. Only when these resources are insufficient (or not present) is a consultation necessary.
Making an appointment for the first counselling session
Make an appointment by phone or in person with the secretary during his/her office hours. Due to organizational reasons, making appointments via mail is not possible.
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, the concerns of the client can be solved within the first counselling session, while other cases may need more sessions. If there are no other suitable counselling options, we can offer you further counselling. Besides one-to-one sessions, we also offer sessions for partners, families, and groups.

The appointments can be arranged, as needed, on a weekly, biweekly, or monthly basis, and even for longer intervals. 90 % of the counselling sessions cover a period from 1 to 20 hours, and 10 % of clients need more time. Regardless of the number of sessions, counselling service at PBS is free.

If, after the first session, we believe that the service of other institutions (other counselling services, hospitals, doctors, student information centres etc.) is more suited for your situation than the services of PBS, we will provide you with the respective information and addresses.

Why information about counsellors 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 "Mitarbeiter," or ask personally at PBS.

If someone wants to receive more information about the counselling and therapy, please go to the menu button "Mitarbeiter" or ask personally at the 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 at
www.sw-ka.de/de/datenschutz (in German)

You didn´t find your question? Please contact us at: pbs@sw-ka.de.

PBS Karlsruhe
Rudolfstr. 20
76131 Karlsruhe
Phone: 0721 9334060
Fax: 0721 9334065


Making an appointment
Mon- Fri, 9-12 am
Please note that for organizational reasons appointments are made exclusively by phone or in person.