Sarah Liebherz (Department of Medical Psychology, University Medical Centre Hamburg-Eppendorf) and Sven Rabung (Institute of Psychology, Alpen-Adria-Universität Klagenfurt) have examined 59 studies conducted between 1977 and 2009, to determine the effectiveness of inpatient psychotherapy -- which is widely available in Germany -- with regard to the reduction of the psychiatric symptoms and impairments in the interpersonal sphere.
The treatment available in hospitals and specialist departments that offer psychotherapeutic services primarily consists of individual and group psychotherapy, which is supplemented with complementary therapeutic measures. "In this regard," Sven Rabung explains, "Germany distinguishes itself from virtually all other countries, where patients with psychiatric disorders usually only receive inpatient treatment in psychiatric hospitals. There, the focus is directed more towards the medicinal-pharmacological work with the patients." Every year, more than one million patients are treated in these hospitals in Germany.
Liebherz and Rabung recently presented their results in the journal PLOS ONE. They were able to demonstrate that the treatment in psychotherapeutic hospitals produces positive effects in the case of severely ill patients with regard to the severity of the symptoms and in relation to interpersonal difficulties. According to Rabung, "It would be interesting to examine the correlations between the severity of the symptoms and the interpersonal impairments, the treatment duration, and the treatment result. This area requires further research."