Author: Claudia M. Elsig, MD
For those affected, it is very difficult, almost impossible, to decide which is the best clinic for them. They have the feeling they are buying a pig in a poke. You can test-drive a car, try on a dress, visit a house. But psychotherapy? That’s too abstract.
What criteria count? Who is professional and who is just a money machine? Especially when it comes to upper five-figure sums for a week’s rehabilitation, one should not make the wrong decisions, especially since advance payments are usually demanded and sometimes no refunds are given in case of therapy cancellation or non-attendance.
Expensive rehab clinics are springing up like mushrooms on the market. There are many imitators who smell the quick money. Suffering people are in an emergency situation and need serious, compassionate help. If this is provided, it is also worth the considerable financial investment. After all, highly private institutions do incredible things.
What you should look out for:
1. Ranking sites
Take a close look at ranking sites of rehab clinics. Who is the owner of the site? If the same clinic is always rated with 5 stars, regardless of whether you are looking in the region of Europe, overseas or Asia, then the suspicion is that the owner of this clinic has simply created the ranking site himself. And the competition then only receives 2 or 3 stars. The criteria on which this is based are often not obvious. It does not cost much to create such a website, only the ranking via search engines is important to generate a lot of traffic.
2. Different locations
Different locations make a difference, but are not at all necessary for a renowned institution. On the surface, of course, it makes an impression if the website says London, Paris, Zurich, Hong Kong and Los Angeles. However, if the same telephone number is always given as the contact, then something is wrong.
Institutions or clinic chains that are too large cannot guarantee excellent quality in the top segment. It’s better to say “small but nice”.
3. Non-existent clinics
Advertising slogans like “the most expensive clinic in the world” may make an impression and attract interested people. If you deepen your research, and you should always do so, the following points are important: Does the founder really exist? Does the medical director exist and is he a doctor? Investigate if trademarks for different therapies and concepts are mentioned with the most adventurous names: if a trademark is protected, it must also be registered in the trademark register! Videos and photos may have been created using 3D animation from Shutterstock and related sites, so may be completely fictitious.
Last but not least, a very simple basal test: call there! Does anyone pick up the phone at all?
4. Damage to reputation on the internet
Unfortunately, this also happens. Is a bad Google review really serious? What other reviews has this person given and for which companies? Are reviews bought?
5. Photos of staff
Is there a team? Again, with names of real people? Caution is advised with a website on which not a single team member can be seen. Do individual people often not work at all or no longer work for this institution?
Does too large a number of staff members allow conclusions to be drawn that are more in the direction of “quantity rather than quality”?
6. Personal contact
Whenever possible, visit the institution in person. Get your own impression of the clinic management. This way you can see where you will be placed and whether you feel comfortable with these people. Study the CVs so you know what qualifications are behind the people. How much experience do they have? A 30-year-old can never have the experience of a 50-year-old.
Ask questions! There are no stupid questions. And take your time to decide, sleep on it.
If a site visit is not possible, which is often the case, then call. What impression do you have of the
What impression do you have of the information you get? Is someone really available day and night, or are you greeted by an answering machine? Can you make yourself understood, are you offered the help of a translator or do you barely understand the person operating the phone? How easy is it to get through to the doctors in charge?
If the above possibilities do not exist: write an email. How long does it take to get a reply. Do they respond to you or do you get a blanket answer?
7. Personal recommendation
This is always good, but unfortunately rare when it comes to psychiatry. Nobody likes to talk about having been to a mental health rehab. It is quite different with cosmetic surgery or spinal disc surgery, just to name examples.
This does not make things any easier! In addition, the circle of people who can afford such expensive treatment is extraordinarily small.
That’s why word hardly ever gets around if a clinic is bad. Because if you had to experience something like that at a moment in your life when you urgently needed good help, you feel ashamed. And besides the fact that you feel even worse, you have also lost a lot of money.
Please also consider that the clinic that was good for your neighbour may not be the right one for you.
What can we conclude from this?
The most expensive clinic is not always the best. And the most beautiful website unfortunately does not directly indicate the quality and seriousness behind it. Please take plenty of time to study the website in detail and contact the people responsible personally.
After all, it is your most valuable asset, you or a relative, that is at stake. Do not be afraid to pay a corresponding price for an excellent service, because you will achieve outstanding results. But look carefully and leave it alone if you are unsure! Try to recognise whether “more appearance than reality” is being presented. All that glitters is not gold.
It will take you about 30 minutes to understand a treatment concept and find out the price. Pay attention to the competence of the clinic. What disorders are being treated?
What are 30 minutes against years of suffering? Nothing. What are 4-12 weeks of stay? Nothing if you get back your desired quality of life afterwards. Body and soul need their time to heal.
NOT investing time is a mistake that can have dire consequences. Because once you are trapped, it is not easy to get out.
I hope this guide helps you choose the right clinic for you! All the best.