Rainer Katterbach

Rainer Katterbach is HonoraryDoc


Rainer Katterbach is working as HonoraryDoc in the Samaritan telephone service since he is retired from his chief doctor of a Berlin hospital. Two or three times per month he covers a service in the pastoral advice service for a 4 hrs shift. Most calls are 20 to 45 minutes. Even Katterbach as experiences psychoanalyst says that the calls can consume a lot of energy. His “clients” are chronically ill persons or young mothers who have never worked and have trouble getting life organised. The basic principle is anonymity.


A friend made him curious to do this honorary job. Well, for 30 % of the calls his former job as psychiatrist and psycho-therapist helps a lot since they have some psychiatric disease. Though he does not like to reveal his professions during the calls. Others have practical problems and it is sort of difficult not to give advice at once but primary to LISTEN. Then it is easier to guide the call partner to himself and find his/her personal solution.

A certain religious background is expected from the honorary helpers, Katterbach has now arrived at the hinduistic religion, but he claims that religious discussions are not the right tool in this samaritan telephone service – instead listening and finding solutions in the last comes out of it.

Katterbach himself had interest in psychology and psychiatry since he was a child. Born near Aachen/Germany he got the advice from a friend of his father to study medicine. The athmosphere of “Aufbruch” in Berlin made him live there. He had hard times studying, working and having a young family with three kids. The support of his wife was essential for him. His interest for samaritan telephone service has begun early for him after he read a book of the medical doctor, priest and psychotherapist Klaus Thomas and later he got inspiration by Viktor E. Frankl’s work “Ärztliche Seelsorge”.

Deutsches Ärzteblatt

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