How Much Can A Therapist Cost On Average?

Updated August 04, 2021

Medically Reviewed By: Aaron Horn

One of the more annoying aspects of America’s healthcare system is that it’s hard to figure out how much something costs. When you go in for an appointment, you may be given a ballpark figure, but odds are, you’re not going to know how much something costs until you get the bill in the mail.

It’s viewed as an expensive procedure for people to talk about their issues when it comes to therapy. This assumption could not be further from the case; therapy is meant for everyone, especially in a country where mental health is a great concern. However, many people may not go to therapy because of all the stigma because they think it costs a lot of money. So how much is therapy? If it’s expensive, are there cheaper ways to get therapy? Let’s dive in.

How Much Does Therapy Cost?

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There is no fixed price for a therapy session. You can look it up online and see how much it will cost, but you’re only going to find ballpark figures. You’re probably not going to find completely accurate figures. It’s all going to depend on many factors, such as location or the therapist you’re seeing.

For example, in private therapy, you could pay $50 or $250 a session, depending on the therapist’s location and education. In therapy, you’re going to need more than one session, so this can add up, especially if your therapy is in the latter end. When it comes to therapy, some factors may determine the cost, like:

  • If you live in a small, rural town, the cost may be much less due to the cost of living. An urban area may charge more because it’s expensive to live there. However, the options in a rural community are few and far between.
  • The amount of money you make. Some therapists use a sliding scale to charge you. This means that they charge based on how much money you make.
  • The therapist’s experience. You’re going to pay more for therapy based on how experienced the therapist is. An intern therapist will probably charge much less.
  • A public therapist is probably going to charge less than a private one. One who works in the community may offer less than what you would pay for a private therapist with similar credentials.

There is no direct answer as to how much therapy will cost you. There are ways you can get therapy for cheap or even free. Here are a few options.

Go To Your School

If your child needs therapy and they’re in public school, counseling services are usually provided for no cost. For students in college, it’s usually the same deal. There are even colleges that may have counseling for free for the public. It’s worth it to go to your local college and see what they have to offer.

Talk To The Family Doctor Or Your Psychiatrist

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A general doctor is often too busy to talk about your problems and will instead prescribe medication. However, they could recommend another therapist to you, and the medication they prescribe can help treat the symptoms. With that said, a therapist can help you treat the cause, which is more beneficial to you in the end.

Local Clinics Can Help

If you go to a local government clinic, they can help you find low-cost options. Your local hospital may be able to help as well. With that said, local clinics may be overbooked, and it may take a while for you to get the help you need. If you need help now, you may want to look elsewhere, but if you can wait or find a close opening, local clinics may be worth it.

Sliding Scale Payments

As mentioned before, some counselors will charge you based on a sliding scale of your income. If you make a certain amount of money, they will charge based on that. Anyone who pays on a sliding scale should afford it if they can manage their money. Talk to your counselor and see what they can do for you.

Community Agencies

Many community services may provide you with counseling for no cost at all. Talk to one of them and see if they are available to help you.

Pro Bono

Some counselors offer pro bono slots, which are free counseling slots designed for the community’s help. The problem is that there aren’t too many of these slots available, but with that said, it’s worth it to call in and ask.

Group Therapy

Group therapy tends to be cheaper than normal, individual therapy. This is because a counselor is spending less time counseling multiple people. There are both pros and cons to group therapy. Some people like the community and being able to speak to multiple people about their issues. Sometimes, you may be able to come up with the solution to your problem by speaking to multiple people who have been there and done that.

Insurance

Your health insurance may be able to cover some of your counseling. Health insurance is finicky, so it all depends on what kind of health insurance you have and what kind of counselors you want to see. Talk to your health insurance provider and see which counselors accept your insurance and how much your copay is. Some insurance companies may even cover the entire cost of the session.

Religious Counseling

If you are religious, your pastor may be able to provide counseling from a religious perspective. Religious counseling isn’t for everyone, but it can help you find spiritual guidance and get you closer to your answers if you’re religious. These services are performed for the community, so they’re usually free. Many religious counselors may use traditional psychology approaches; even if you don’t consider yourself that religious, religious counseling may be worth a try.

Online Counseling

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Thanks to the internet, counseling is easier than ever. No longer does one have to travel far for a good counselor, but the services come to you instead. Here are a few ways online counseling can help.

  • Online counseling fits around your schedule. If you work long hours or are just busy all the time, you may not be able to fit into a traditional counselor’s schedule.
  • Online counseling is great for people who have disabilities. Disabilities can make it more difficult for you to leave your home or speak to a counselor. If you have trouble speaking, online counseling helps by letting you type a text or email. Also, you can talk to a counselor in places where your voice isn’t appropriate, such as on a train. Video chatting also allows you to have an authentic chat from anywhere, provided the signal is good.
  • Online counseling offers counselors from around the world. It can be much easier for you to get matched with a counselor who is a great fit for you.

Best of all, online counseling can be much more affordable than the traditional way of counseling. Sometimes, they may work for the online counseling site, and you may pay a monthly fee to the site itself.

Changing Your Lifestyle

While you wait for a good counselor or see one, some lifestyle changes can boost your mental health. These changes include:

  • Eating better. If you’re not eating healthy, you may not be getting the right amount of vitamins and minerals. Healthy foods can boost your mood and make you feel better.
  • Exercising makes your brain feel good, and it improves your overall mental health. Give it a try.
  • Getting your life together. If there is something that is making you stressed, find the cause.

Sometimes, changing your lifestyle is for the better, and you can reap many benefits from it.

Seek Help

Counseling is for everyone, and not just for the wealthy. As more and more people realize how beneficial counseling is, more affordable options have become available. You shouldn’t skip out on seeking help just because you think you can’t afford it.

A counselor can help you fix your mental health issues and get you on the road to great mental health. Find a therapist today and see what they can do for you.


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