How does the the psychotherapy prescription model work?

Published on 02/04/2024

Le modèle de prescription en psychothérapie: comment ça marche?

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In 2022, new regulations concerning the psychotherapy prescription model were adopted. This decision has enabled psychologists and psychotherapists to be better integrated into the Swiss healthcare system. But what are the conditions? Find out more in our article.


The prescription model: a necessary change

As of July 1, 2022, the principle of prescribing psychotherapy – in the same way as physiotherapists – has been accepted in Switzerland. This decision represents a major recognition of the work carried out by professionals in the field of psychological health. From now on, psychologists and psychotherapists will be able to bill their services independently while being reimbursed by compulsory health insurance.

This type of prescription meets a real need among the Swiss population. In 2017, 15% of the population were in a situation of psychological distress. These numbers even increased with the passage of the coronavirus pandemic. It is estimated that, over the course of a year, up to a third of the Swiss population is affected by a psychological illness, the majority of which requires treatment.

The changeover from the delegation to the prescription model is intended to improve the treatment situation for children and adolescents, as well as for adults in crisis and emergency situations. Swiss patients will thus have easier and faster access to psychotherapy. From now on, therapies conducted by psychologists or psychotherapists will be reimbursed by basic health insurance. However, a small number of conditions must be met.


Conditions for reimbursement of psychotherapy prescriptions

Some conditions must be met before a prescription can be reimbursed by the health insurance scheme.

  1. The prescription must be written by a doctor, either a family doctor or a psychiatrist.
  2. The prescription must be justified by the presence of an illness recognized by international systems (such as those referenced in the WHO’s ICD-10).
  3. A maximum of 15 sessions can be registered per prescription. For more than 30 sessions, the insurer must be consulted in order to extend the therapy.
  4. The psychotherapist must be federally recognized.



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