Counseling is something that is associated with the rich, or at least the people who have a comfy life. Those who are in the lower income brackets, who usually need treatment the most, may need counseling and other medical treatments more than ever, but can't afford it.
If you are on a tight budget but want to look into counseling, there is no shame in still wanting to counsel. Counseling can help you deal with personal and mental issues, as well as help you make plans to reach your goals. This can make your life happier and more productive, and it's possible some good therapy can help you climb out of the low-income pit.
However, few good counselors work for free. So is it possible to get quality counseling for an easy price? Let's find out.
Before we give you some advice, here are some things you may consider avoiding.
If you're highly considering therapy, but you believe you won't be able to afford it, don't dismiss the idea of therapy just because of that. If you have mental health problems, keeping them untreated can lead to serious health effects down the road, or may make your life situation a lot worse. For example, if you need couple's therapy, not attending that can lead to divorce.
The people you associate with can be great to talk to about your problems, but they are not professionals. First, your friends are biased. If something is your fault, they might not tell you. They are not equipped to know how to present new ideas to people, and they usually don't know any long-term solutions to your problems. This doesn't mean you shouldn't talk to them, but it means they aren't substitutes.
If you believe that you have a mental health disorder, the last thing you want is to try to self-diagnose online. First, many symptoms are shared, and we assume the worst. For example, if you have headaches all the time, you may look online and think it's a tumor. Usually, it's something less severe, if not harmless in the long run.
Also, talking to people online can be a great way to vent, but as we said before, it's not the best substitute for talking to someone who is a professional.
Even though you should talk to a therapist, one thing you should not do is to spend money that you don't have on a therapist just because you believe there are no affordable options. First, there are some better options out there, but second, by spending too much, you may find yourself in more trouble in the long run. You need to have some money to survive, and if you sacrifice basic needs for some counseling, it may hurt you.
If you have health insurance, talk to the provider. You may think that your health insurance plan won't cover counseling, as they're not doctors, but many health insurance providers see the value of counseling, and some plans include good coverage for counseling. By talking to an insurance provider, they can clarify what they do cover, and you can see if you qualify for some counseling.
Many higher education schools have a program involving psychology or another form of counseling. These colleges usually have counseling services that are available to the public, and their cost is much less than a normal office. Sometimes, you may find that their therapy is just as effective as what you would consider being a "normal" therapist.
Some therapists offer services based on a sliding scale, where they'll look at how much you make and how much you can pay and make you pay based on that. These types of therapists allow people who don't have much money to be able to attend regular sessions. You can search locally and see if any therapists offer that, or at least have another kind of therapy plan.
Group therapy can be more affordable because of how many people are in it. Sometimes, it can involve everyone chipping in their own money to make the service much more affordable for everyone. Sometimes, group sessions can be more affordable. You're with a group who has the same problems as you do, and you can work off each other. There are some who think that group therapy doesn't allow enough time for treatment when compared to individual therapy, but others have found it to be highly effective. It's worth a shot.
Employee assistance programs, or EAPs, are offered by some jobs. Many jobs recognize that to have the best employees; the employees need to be in good spirits. That's why some of them offer programs to talk with therapists and other mental health professionals for a reduced rate or even free. Talk to HR and see if they have EAPs. If they don't, make a suggestion. A company cannot succeed if it doesn't treat its employees right, and EAPs are a good way to give the employees the care they need.
211 is a service that can give you a list of all the counseling and mental health resources in your local area. This can be a quick and valuable guide you can use whenever you want to find someone in your area. You should be able to find affordable resources through there.
211 is also not an automated service but has people you can talk to to get more advice or if you just need someone to vent. Speaking of venting on the phone, we have another solution as well.
There are many helplines and crisis lines you can use to talk to a person right now. They aren't as powerful as counselors, but when you need help, they can be someone who can calm you down and help make the right decision. You may associate them with suicide hotlines, but you don't need to be suicidal to talk to a helpline and get some advice out of it.
Pro bono is when a professional takes on a low-income client free of charge. Not only can this help improve their reputation, but it's the right thing to do. There is an ethics code that says counselors should give some of their services out of goodwill. Some of them have a limited number of pro bono slots, and it's worth giving them a call to see if they have any open. If they say they don't have any slots open, ask for updates. Keep calling different therapists, and you may have an answer that says yes.
Sometimes, you may have the money able to seek counseling, but you may need to make some other sacrifices in your life. Cook at home instead of eating out so much. Use less electricity in the house. Monitor your expenses and see if there's anything you don't need. Sometimes, there are expenses you can cut back on to afford a counselor comfortably.
Try Online Therapy
One form of therapy you can try looking at is online therapy. This form of therapy has become more popular over the years, and there are two reasons. First, the convenience. You can talk to a therapist anywhere and use different types of formats. If you're in a place where you can't speak, texting is available. If you can speak, you can video chat to have the most authentic experience possible.
Second, online therapy can be more affordable. There are many different payment plans to choose from, and online therapy also has discounts and days when services are offered for free. Some services are sympathetic towards those who don't have the money and can offer discounts.
Online therapy is accessible, and you can be hooked up with different counselors to find the one who best fits your situation. This can allow you to have a higher chance of succeeding and improving yourself.
Counseling is something that should be available for everyone, and while the affordability is getting better, the US still has a long way to go. Everyone should be at peak mental health and able to follow their dreams, which is what counselors can provide.
Don't think you don't deserve therapy because you don't make enough money. End the stigma about therapy being for the rich and famous. Instead, it should be for everyone, regardless of background. Find an affordable therapist near you and change your life. You may come out with more motivation and more ways to accomplish your goals.
The out-of-pocket cost of counseling varies, as there is no set industry standard. Licensed therapists in many cities charge roughly between $75-$150 for a 45-minute session, with therapy sessions in New York City and other major cities costing as much as $200. In home affordable counseling is also an option.Teletherapy and online counseling tend to be more affordable than in-person counseling, and just as effective. If finances are a concern for you, find a therapist who offers pro bono therapy sessions, or uses a sliding scale based on your income. Pro bono is where a therapist is required to offer a specific number of sessions for free out of charity, and if you ask around, you just might be able to find a therapist who has one available for you.Some counseling centers also accept Medicaid. Another affordable therapy option is to seek counseling from university counseling centers, who often counsel for free or for a reduced rate.Many counseling centers also provide community counseling for free or at reduced rates. To find the right therapist for you, the Open Path Psychotherapy Collective is a great tool to get started.
How much is counseling per hour?
Because counseling centers don’t have a set standard for pricing, it all depends on the therapist you choose. The national average for one hour of counseling is $90.In home affordable counseling is an option if in-person services are out of your price range. If you’re shopping around for a therapist and rates, try the Open Path Psychotherapy Collective database of therapists.
What to do when you can't afford couples therapy?
There are always affordable therapy options, even if your finances are tight. To get started, you can search the Open Path Psychotherapy Collective database for therapists near you. Some therapists provide free or affordable options for couples counseling. You should also check with your insurance provider for in-network licensed therapists. Many providers have telehealth options, so if in-person marriage counseling isn’t covered, it’s possible online counseling or over the phone counseling is. Speaking with a therapist online with in home affordable counseling has been proven to be just as effective as in-person therapy. If you don’t have insurance coverage for marriage counseling of any variety, there are still other ways you can receive free or affordable counseling. As mentioned, online counseling, which is done via video conferencing, messaging, telephone, email, or even text is generally more affordable than in-person counseling, even if your insurance provider doesn’t cover it. Another option is to seek marriage counseling at one of your local university counseling centers. University counseling centers often offer therapy sessions at affordable rates or even for free. Some counseling centers also offer community counseling for free or at reduced rates. Many therapists provide their services on a sliding scale based on your income, so this is an option as well. And on that note, many therapists provide pro bono marriage counseling sessions, which is where a therapist provides counseling for free out of charity to an uninsured party. Usually there is a cap on the number of free sessions they are allowed to offer, so if you’d like to find a therapist who offers pro bono services, you’ll want to call and ask around.
Are therapists worth it?
Yes, licensed therapists who help clients improve their mental health and cope with life through cognitive behavioral therapy are always worth it. There are plenty of options, including in home affordable counseling, that don’t require you to break the bank to afford therapy.
How do you know when you don't need therapy anymore?
During the course of your therapy, you’ll want to keep communication open with your therapist regarding your goals and progress. When you reach a point where your goals have been met and your original purpose for seeking therapy has been resolved, this will likely be the point at which you’re ready to conclude therapy or scale back on the frequency of therapy sessions. Ultimately, your therapist will know when you’re ready to take this step.
What can I do instead of therapy?
While there are some helpful practices you can implement into your lifestyle, such as meditation or using a mental health app, there is no viable substitute for therapy. If finances are keeping you from seeking out therapy, there are free or affordable options you shouldn’t disregard. One way to seek therapy without breaking the bank is through community counseling, where you receive therapy in a group setting. This is a service usually offered by counseling centers, especially for those who cannot afford one-on-one therapy. You can also consider speaking with a therapist online, using in home affordable counseling, which tends to be more affordable than in-person therapy. Search the Open Path Psychotherapy Collective database to find the right therapist for you, at a rate you can afford.
How often should you see a therapist?
How often you should see a therapist depends on your goals and progress during your sessions. On average, clients have 12-16 sessions before concluding therapy.
Should I pay for therapy out of pocket?
If it means you receive exemplary care, it is worth it to pay out of pocket for therapy. Use the Open Path Psychotherapy Collective to find therapists who are currently accepting new clients either in person or for in home affordable counseling. You can view their full profile and email them any questions you have to learn more. With so many counseling centers offering a variety of services both in person and online, there is no reason to not seek therapy.