Children and young people with psychological stress

We welcome adolescents with psychological stress, from all social backgrounds, with or without physical illnesses or disabilities.

In addition to systemic psychotherapy, our services are also geared towards the individual needs of the environment (family, school, etc.).

Thanks to donations, we also offer free or reduced-cost therapy places for children and young people with restrictions in financial emergencies and when state funding is insufficient.

Reasons for psychotherapeutic treatment

Spielzeit offers psychotherapeutic treatment for the following, non-exhaustive list of reasons. read more


Reasons for treatment

  • Depression and listlessness
  • Attention problems (ADD)
  • Autism spectrum disorders (ASD, Asperger’s)
  • School problems and learning disorders
  • Learning and performance blocks
  • Refusing behavior in family and school
  • Burdens due to divorce or adoption
  • Anxiety disorders, learning anxiety
  • Experience of violence or abuse
  • Aggressive behavior
  • Challenging behavior such as hyperactivity
  • Special disorders with physical or mental disabilities
  • Professional integration into the primary labor market
  • Communication disorders
  • Loss of reality
  • Developmental delays
  • Stereotypical or strange behavior
  • Eating disorders
  • Self-harming behavior
  • Traumatic experiences (PTSD)
  • Alcohol abuse
  • Gender identity disorders
  • Support for coming out with non-heteronormativity

Spielzeit: Being cared for in an appreciative environment.

Individual appreciation

Our therapy concept is integrative. It follows the principle of social tolerance and the appreciation of every young person in their uniqueness. By accepting physical and mental differences without judgment, adolescents find recognition and experience encounters in which not only purpose and performance count.

The aim of our work is to support mental health and integration into society in order to improve the quality of life of all those affected.

Alternative form of therapy “Spielzeit method”

Children and adolescents with serious illnesses or disabilities are treated by us using the “playtime method” and, if necessary, by a therapy team of two psychologists, depending on the reason for treatment. This therapy concept is an alternative form of psychotherapy developed by Robin Mindell over many years, which has proven to be exceptionally helpful and effective in certain circumstances.

Prior to treatment, so-called experience and action areas for therapy are outlined and planned depending on the diagnosis. read more

These are context-related, thematically organized courses of action through which patients can have healing experiences with alternative forms of behaviour in a community. These are intended to lead them out of pathological behavioral patterns and motivate them to participate in social activities in a new way.

The “Spielzeit method” was developed based on the concept of situated learning. In the experience of negotiating meanings in a community, fundamental changes or transformations are brought about. In this way, stagnating development can be promoted by means of an individually and collaboratively designed construction process.

The costs for this form of therapy are partly covered by insurers and partly by donations.

Group therapy for young people aged 12 and over

This offer is currently paused until further notice!

For adolescents aged 12 and over with a chronic illness and/or disability, we have created a supervised space for encounters and shared experiences. Participants can help shape the program, find solutions together and gain experience together: We cook, discuss, exercise, laugh and play.

The group therapies take place every 14 days on Monday from 17.30 to 19.00. For further information, taster sessions and registration, please contact:


Independent school clarifications

We offer various independent clarifications and consultations as part of a school- or work-related assessment of the performance and motivation of children and young adults.

Clarifications and advice offered

The school and career-related assessments, diagnoses and consultations offered by Spielzeit cover the areas listed below read more


Clarifications and consultations

  • Depression inventory
  • ASD (autism spectrum disorders)
  • Acting and logical intelligence (IQ)
  • Cognitive development (perception, attention, memory, thinking) in age comparison
  • Language comprehension, language expression and language skills
  • Basic mathematical skills
  • Social-emotional skills and cultural techniques compared by age
  • Memory, attention and perception test
  • Counseling and coaching for attention and distractibility problems


Consultations also by phone and live chat

Our psychotherapists are available for 60-minute short counseling appointments for psychological questions and acute emergencies. These appointments are limited and will be arranged with you personally by our secretariat.

For families of children with serious illnesses or disabilities, counseling can be provided partly free of charge. For all other parents, the normal fees will be charged.

We will be happy to provide you with further information at

Parental counseling for conspicuous behavior

Does your child have special needs? Does the child exhibit conspicuous behavior at home and at school? Was it born with a disability or illness? Do you feel that your current parenting methods are not enough to meet the needs of your child and your family? We will be happy to provide you with information, work with you to find alternative ways and show you educational options.

Intervention in cases of violence and aggression

When young people no longer know what to do, aggression, escalation of violence and oppositional behavior occur. These destructive actions not only harm those affected, but also their entire environment. Our Spielzeit team specializes in working with families and schools to find ways out of destructive circles. Concrete and established intervention measures ultimately lead to an improved quality of life for everyone involved.

Family perspectives on divorce and separation

In Switzerland, around 15,000 children are affected by divorce every year. Divorce or separation of the parents increases the emotional strain on many children. This often manifests itself in a lack of interest in school, a drop in performance or feelings of guilt. With targeted help, most children can learn to cope with the divorce situation and develop a new family perspective. We support children, parents and single parents before, during or after a separation or divorce.


Integrated special education

Was your child born with a serious illness or a physical or mental impairment? Before your child starts kindergarten or elementary school, the question arises as to what educational opportunities are available to them.

Special education schools are available for children with disabilities who are dependent on a special, segregated, protected space or who learn better in a distinctly special educational environment.

Under certain conditions, there is also the possibility of integrated special schooling, commonly known as “integration”. Your child will then attend the regular kindergarten or elementary school classes despite illness or disability. read more


The principle of inclusive support is enshrined in the Federal Act of 2002 on the Elimination of Discrimination against Persons with Disabilities, in the Intercantonal Agreement on Cooperation in Special Needs Education of 2007 and in Article 24 of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities of 2006, which came into force in Switzerland in 2014.

Figure: Organization of integrated special education

According to various articles of law, the right to education also includes the protection of children and young people and their integration into society. Equal opportunities for all pupils must be guaranteed. In addition, in July 2006 the Education Council of the Canton of Zurich adopted guidelines that favor integrative forms of schooling.

The aim of inclusive teaching is for learners in regular classes and pupils with special educational needs to benefit from each other. The integrative design of lessons in heterogeneous learning groups is intended to support solidarity. Heterogeneous learning groups require collegial cooperation, the perception and consideration of the pupils’ living environment and the overcoming of a deficit orientation in favor of an ability and resource orientation.

However, the prerequisite is that integrated special education is not just a school organizational measure, but an educationally responsible integration that promotes the emotional development of the child and does not endanger it.

Based on our decades of experience in the psychological support of children with disabilities in integration and special education schools, we advise parents and teachers from a psychological perspective.

We will discuss with you the advantages and disadvantages of integration or the separate path (special education school) and show you the psychological challenges, possibilities and limitations.


Know-how transfer within the team and interdisciplinary collaboration

All services provided by our psychologists for families with disabilities and illnesses are supervised and professionally aligned with the head of the department in accordance with the dual control principle. This ensures that the data and experience systematically collected over the past decades, which form the basis for specialized concerns, are available to the entire team.

We also work very closely with teachers, parents’ associations, doctors, psychiatrists, authorities and specialist agencies such as the school psychology services of the city and canton of Zurich, the child psychiatry services and departments of the Zurich Children’s Hospital and the special education schools.

The internships of Spielzeit are recognized by Swiss universities and universities of applied sciences.


Billing models for psychotherapy and counseling

Depending on the individual circumstances, various private or state cost bearers can be considered to cover the costs. Below you will find an overview of the different billing models for the psychotherapeutic treatment of your child. read more

Health insurance

If prescribed by a doctor, treatments can be covered by basic health insurance (OKP).

Depending on your insurance, our psychotherapeutic services can also be covered by supplementary health insurance. The rate is CHF 160 per hour.

School-indicated psychotherapy

In certain cases, psychotherapy is requested directly by the school and/or prescribed by administrative order. With the parents’ consent, we refer to such cases as “school-indicated psychotherapy”. Depending on the reason for treatment, we prepare individual cost estimates for the school for a period of 12 months. The rate is CHF 160 per hour.

Disability insurance (IV)

Young people with certain congenital defects can be treated with psychotherapy up to the age of 21 if necessary. The prerequisite is that there is an order for medical measures and an indication for outpatient psychotherapy recognized by the IV. In certain cases, such directives can also be requested by the attending physician.

Therapy sponsorship

Families with severely affected children or adolescents in social and economic difficulties do not always have the means to pay for all aspects of necessary treatment and support. Under these conditions, certain parts of our innovative therapy models or the monitoring of the services by the head of the center are covered by Spielzeit. Thanks to contributions from renowned donors, our supporting foundation MLFI steps in when necessary and enables care to be provided at low cost or free of charge.

In order to benefit from a therapy sponsorship, the family must disclose their financial circumstances and submit an application together with the psychotherapist.


Educational counseling, clarification and diagnostic assignments can also be paid for privately by parents at CHF 160 per session.

Different billing models

Depending on the therapist and the child’s situation, psychotherapeutic services may be (co-)covered by basic health insurance, supplementary insurance, disability insurance, the Department of Education, through a therapy sponsorship or by the client themselves.

If the state does not cover the costs, we also offer free or reduced-cost therapy places under certain conditions for children and adolescents with severe stress.

Please note our billing models or contact us for further information at

Please clarify your insurance cover or financial possibilities before making an inquiry or registering with Spielzeit. If parents make use of therapy, assessment or counseling for their child without prior cost approval from an insurance company or our sponsoring foundation, they will bear the costs themselves in the event of a subsequent refusal to cover the costs.