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What's The Average Cost of a Therapy Session?

By Advekit

Posted on September 24, 2019


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Many Americans deal with mental health issues, such as anxiety, depression, and other concerns and want the support and guidance of a good therapist. But therapy can be expensive, and many people will question, “is therapy really worth it?”

 

Unfortunately, therapy can be expensive, and it sometimes can become a financial burden. It’s helpful to think of a therapy session as part of your general health check-up, just like you would your physical health. That mindset can help alleviate some of the frustrations around saving up for therapy. Many times, you can use your insurance coverage to help lower the cost of therapy. For select cities on Advekit, you can enter your insurance in real-time and only pay what you owe. Advekit bills on your behalf and you don’t need to wait for reimbursement.

 

In order to understand what you’re paying for when you go to therapy, you need to understand the different factors that affect the average cost of a therapy session. Once you’re familiar with the cost of therapy and why certain options cost more than others, you can choose the type of therapy that works for your budget.

 

How Much Does Therapy Cost?

The answer to this question depends on a number of factors, some of which are in your control. As a general guideline, the average cost of psychotherapy sessions is between $80 and $250 dollars. Since this is a large range, you’re probably wondering what makes some therapists more expensive to see than others.

 

Factors That Affect The Cost of Therapy

Below are some of the main factors that influence the cost of therapy. If you want to find more affordable therapy, consider these factors and how they influence the price.

 

  • Training and certification. One of the primary factors that affect the price of a therapy session is how your psychotherapist was trained and certified. Many types of therapy exist, and the training processes for each are different. Generally, the longer and more expensive the education process is for a therapist, the more expensive their rates will be.
  • Length and frequency of therapy sessions. If you want to make therapy more affordable, one option may be to simply go for less time. The average length for a therapy session is one hour, but some providers offer sessions as short as 30 minutes. If you prefer longer sessions, you could visit on a bi-weekly basis instead of weekly as long as this is enough support for your needs. Not every therapist will offer a shortened session, but this is something you can work out with your therapist directly.
  • Location. As is the case with all other goods and services, location affects the cost of mental health treatment. In areas where the cost of living is high and there is a high demand for therapy, the prices for therapy will be higher. In more rural areas where the cost of living is less, therapy with a health professional will be less expensive.
  • Therapy insurance coverage. You may be paying for therapy through your health insurance company. While this can save you money on your treatment, your health insurance plan might only cover mental health treatment from specific therapists. It’s always a good idea to explore your options and understand your coverage, before deciding to pay with insurance for therapy.

 

Types of Mental Health Professionals

As mentioned above, the type of mental health professional that you choose to work within your therapy sessions impacts the cost. All therapists don’t have the same training and they don’t all offer the same services. Some of the most common types of professionals who may offer therapy services are:

 

  • Psychologists. Licensed psychologists have doctoral degrees in Psychology. Psychology is the study of the human mind and our behavior. After finishing graduate school, psychologists complete a two- or three-year internship and then apply to become licensed. Psychologists can provide psychotherapy and treat mental health conditions. These health professionals usually cost the most because of the extensive training process. Psychologists can offer psychological testing, which many of the other types of therapists do not. 
  • Clinical Social Workers & Marriage and Family Therapists. These professionals have a Masters in Social Work or Marriage and Family Therapy, and they have received training in treating mental health concerns and performing counseling. They have also completed thousands of supervised training hours, before sitting for board exams. They offer their therapy services to the public and are commonly found in schools and through other government programs.
  • Mental health counselor. These professionals have a master’s degree in counseling, psychology, or another related field. In order to become licensed as a counselor, they need at least two years’ experience working alongside a mental health professional who’s qualified. Counselors can also be found in schools and other institutions. You may be able to visit them in private practice as well. This likely is a cheaper alternative to visiting a psychologist, but counselors aren’t able to provide the same level of treatment for mental illnesses.

Options For Affordable Therapy

If you’ve looked into rates for therapy in your area and you’re feeling unsure how to pay, don’t worry. There are many options available to make therapy more affordable and accessible. You don’t have to pay the average cost of a therapy session just to receive the support you need. Below are some ways you can make therapy more affordable.

Sliding Scales

Many therapists work on a sliding scale system in order to solve the issue of how expensive therapy is. It’s not uncommon for therapists to offer lower rates for clients who have lower incomes or have financial struggles. If you have a particular therapist who you’re interested in working with, it might be worth asking them if they can work with you to find a price that benefits both parties.

Free Therapy For Students

Many schools and universities offer free counseling services to students. Some might offer this service indefinitely to students as long as they are enrolled, while others offer the service for a semester or quarter. Still, talking to a counselor might be a good option to get the support you need now if you’re a student on a budget.

Look For Federally-Funded Health Centers

Health centers that receive federal funding usually have mental health resources. Care at these facilities tends to be more affordable and will often include a sliding scale system. However, keep in mind that you’re not likely to have much choice when it comes to who your therapist is or how they practice.

Ask For Flexible Scheduling

For some individuals with mental health conditions, therapy is most beneficial when they attend regularly for a solid period of time. But for others who are simply needing some more support in their life, it might be worth inquiring about flexible scheduling. By visiting your therapist when you need it most, you can keep costs down and still get the support that you need.​​​​​​

The True Cost of Therapy

While therapy may seem expensive to some, a helpful question to ask might be, “what would be the cost of not going to therapy?” Remember that when you attend therapy, you’re making an investment in yourself that’s likely to pay off in ways that may not seem as immediate as improvements to your physical health.

 

Your mental health is too valuable to risk not getting the support you need. Fortunately, now you know how much therapy can cost and how you can get that support affordably. Find the right match for a therapist on Advekit today.

 

Get Matched →

 

Sources

 

https://adaa.org/finding-help/treatment/low-cost-treatment

 

https://psychcentral.com/blog/what-to-do-when-you-cant-afford-therapy/

 

https://psychcentral.com/lib/finding-low-cost-psychotherapy


Reviewed By

Alison LaSov, LMFT

blog-reviewer

Alison LaSov is a Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist with experience treating clients struggling with anxiety and depression. She predominantly focuses on mental health intervention for children and adolescents, particularly those who are in crisis. She has worked within the Los Angeles education system treating students with Individualized Education Plans (IEPs), as well as supervised a non-profit Teen Crisis Hotline out of Cedars-Sinai Hospital. Alison earned her B.A. from UCLA and M.A. from Pepperdine University. She is a native to Los Angeles and co-founder at Advekit.

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