How Much Does Therapy Cost Without Insurance?

Updated November 18, 2020


If you've been struggling with the idea of whether or not to get therapy (because you're concerned about the costs), you're among the millions of people in the United States who are having this issue. In this article, we answer some of the questions that you have about therapy costs that may have been keeping you from reaching out for the help you need. Costs shouldn't get in the way of getting the help and resources you need. 

We'll address the questions of "Does therapy cost money," How much does therapy cost without insurance" How much does therapy cost out-of-pocket and others to help those who may be on the fence about therapy to find a financial solution and remove any obstacles to taking part in therapy. Let's get started by answering the question, "How much does therapy cost with insurance?"


How Much Therapy Costs with Insurance

Therapy with insurance is also called in network or out of network therapy. In other words, some companies are in-network with your insurance company while some are out of network with them. Fortunately, most insurance firms comprehend that they don't work with all therapists. However, if your therapy is with insurance, then you need to understand certain things. Examples of what you should understand are deductibles, percentage reimbursement, allowable amount, and more.

Deductibles mean the amount of money you spend before you start to experience the benefits of your insurance plan. At the moment, you are able to reach your deductible, or spend an equal amount to your deductible, then you can start reaping the benefits of your insurance. For instance, if you have your deductible to be $1,500, you should spend $1,500 out-of-pocket before you begin to enjoy your out of network therapy benefits. Hence, if you are paying $150 per therapy, you should pay for 10 sessions before you begin to experience the benefits.

A 2008 federal mandate made it mandatory for all major health insurance providers to offer equal coverage options for mental health services and medical health services. With over 20 million adults in the US suffering from issues related to mental illness and lack of mental health care, this should come as no surprise.

People with mental health insurance are entitled to receive mental health-related services under their health plan that includes - assessment, diagnosis, and treatment of mental illness and mental health-related conditions.

Mental illness is considered as having an individual or combined mental health conditions that affect mood, thinking behavior, and daily functioning. Without proper treatment and support, people with mental illness-related concerns can experience the effects of compounding negative symptoms.

A person is considered to be mentally ill if they have one or more mental health issues that are causing them to have trouble functioning in their daily lives. Debilitating mental health concerns like depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, and bipolar disorder can have devastating effects on individuals, couples, and families.

While these specific disorders are considered moderate disorders that don't normally require emergency intervention - stringent monitoring, therapy, and medication management are often required to mitigate the effects of living with the symptoms that these mental health conditions cause.

More severe health conditions like schizophrenia and others that require in-patient treatment require a higher and more persistent level of care than their moderate counterparts. Health insurance plans are required to provide affordable coverage, copays, and reduced out-of-pocket expenses for those who have insurance and are suffering for mild, moderate, or severe mental health issues.

In most US states, Medicaid is also required to adhere to the 2008 federal parity act standard. As previously stated, the act requires mental health treatment services be affordable and available for all United States citizens and considered for public good. The exact amount of insurance coverage will vary between insurance providers. To learn your expected copay, annual out-of-pocket maximums, and covered services - contact your insurance provider directly. Now that we've given you some idea of how much therapy costs with health insurance, let's move on to therapy costs without health insurance.

How Much Does Therapy Cost Without Insurance

Before the days of mental health advocates and mental health awareness campaigns, visiting a therapist in any capacity was considered a luxury that most people couldn't afford. Today's out-of-pocket therapy costs are affordable for most working families and range from $65.00 - $200.00 per session.

When you consider the costs of going through life in a fog and how much therapy used to cost, at least in this range a larger segment of the US population can be served.

This doesn't mean that there aren't less expensive options for getting therapy available. As a matter of fact, there are a few ways to get sliding-fee-scale, reduced, low-cost or free therapy. Online therapy is becoming one of the most popular options for getting affordable therapy.

Leading online therapy platforms like provides affordable low-cost therapy.


Online therapy sessions at BetterHelp start as low as $40.00 per week for unlimited messaging sessions with a therapist who is licensed and board-certified within your state. The cost of therapy used to be considered a luxury and price most people out of taking better care of their mental health. Having low cost-options available is great news for most families who can now afford to take part in therapy at a price they can afford - from the comfort of their own homes.

Cost Breakdown: Low-Cost, Affordable, and Free Therapy Options

Even with low-cost options like available, there are still some families who may struggle with keeping up the costs of individual, couples counseling, or family therapy. The good news is, there are still options available for people that fall into this category as well. Today's public health departments are staffed with both medical and mental health professionals that provide community-based therapy services based on the client's income and ability to pay.

While there may be a long wait or potentially reduced quality of care in taking part in public-sponsored therapy, getting "some" therapy is better than the alternative. You may be surprised at the high-quality of care you receive at some public mental health facilities as federal and state agencies begin to take notice and pour more funding into mental health care services.

In the meantime, the fact that there are mental health services available for all US citizens regardless of income bracket, should help you with making the critical decision to take charge of your self-care and to consult with a licensed mental health professional if your circumstances or a (primary care doctor's referral) suggests that you should do so. is a therapist matching service that can help you find the best therapist to suit your individual, couples, and familial needs. Use the MyTherapist website to get matched with licensed, trained, and board-certified providers that can help you pick up the pieces of your life.


The therapy matching service is free to use. You're only responsible for paying for private sessions with your selected provider before entering your first session.

How Do I Get Therapy Insurance To Help Pay For Costs?

The federal mental health parity act of 2008 requires that mental health services be just as available and affordable as traditional medical health insurance. There are special provisions in the act that requires employers with over 50 employees to provide medical and mental health insurance coverage for their employees at a reasonable cost.

If you're an employee of a company that has more than 50 employees, reach out to your health insurance benefits manager or your human resources department to learn what your options are for coverage. Other options for securing mental health insurance are applying for private health insurance benefits through your state's online health marketplace.

Online health marketplaces can help you determine if you qualify for low or reduced-cost mental health care coverage. For people seeking sliding scale or free medical or mental health services, the online health marketplace for your state is where you apply for Medicaid and other state-based programs that provide free and income based health insurance coverage.

How Much Does Therapy Cost for Depression

If you've been wondering if your therapy will cost more or less based on your diagnosis, the answer is yes. For example, if you're asking the question "How much does therapy cost for depression" there are several factors to consider. Critical factors to consider related to depression are the severity of symptoms.

Are you suffering from a major depressive disorder or a mild form of depression called dysthymia? All of these factors play a part in costs because they will affect the number of recommended therapy sessions, medication management, and supplemental treatments may be required.

Regardless of the severity of symptoms, your costs for treating and managing any medical condition should not go beyond the reasonable and customary amount for the national average, which is $65.00 - $200.00 per session for traditional in-office therapy.

Online therapy providers do provide services for non-emergency related mental health treatments. If you're suffering from depression, one way to reduce your out-of-pocket costs for therapy is to get therapy online with a licensed professional.

Cost of Therapy for Other Mental Illnesses

Generally, the cost of therapy can differ by the mental illness that is in consideration. Some therapists charge as much as $250 hourly. However, the national average is between $60 and $120. However, please ensure that you make the appropriate enquires from the therapy service provider before reaching conclusions. Asides depression, there are other conditions that require therapy or counseling. For instance, grief counselling is traditionally around the range of $70 to $150 hourly. Depending on one's location, sex therapy also comes at a specific cost. Usually, the therapy is within $100 and $200 per hour. Overall, the rates depend on the therapist you choose and his or her degree of expertise. Interestingly, there are other forms of counseling like anger management classes, art therapy, and more that also have their individual cost ranges.  For anger management, one may invest between $50 and $150 every session. Besides, art therapy costs around $250 as well. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy cost is generally around $200 for each session. Overall, the cost of therapy appears to be relatively high. However, compared to the benefits that patients stand to gain, it's fully cost-effective.

Final Thoughts: 


Now that you understand your potential therapy costs, you should feel comfortable making an informed decision about how you will attend therapy. Due to the 2008 federal parity act, therapy is mandatory and affordable for all. If you aren't able to afford traditional in-office therapy fees that can cost as much as $200.00 an hour, you have an immediate and affordable alternative that can be found in leading therapy platforms like BetterHelp who offer access to unlimited messaging therapy with a licensed mental health professional starting at just $40.00 per week.

If neither of these options seems like a good fit for your family's budget, consider applying for mental health services using your local public health department services or via a local community action agency. There are free and reduced-cost therapy sessions available to everyone. Ready to get started on the road to recovery with BetterHelp today? Contact an online therapist and take advantage of your free consultation today.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) 

  • Is therapy worth the cost?

Due to the importance of maintaining healthy mental well-being, therapy is vital. However, a few people that are unaware of its significance probably think they can't afford it because they don't know the value of therapy. Interestingly, some don't just understand the reason to pay for therapy or to pay therapists. So, the big question, "how much does therapy cost," bothers some individuals. As a person, you can see therapy as an investment that will help you solve some life issues. 

There's an increase in the rate of depression in the people within and outside America. Every day, each person passes through challenges and different situations like panic attacks and more. Due to these happenings, people often feel a tremendous stress load, which affects their response to other things in life. For instance, a person with a high stress level will have challenges making some decisions and dealing with stress management. Overall, therapy or online counseling makes you more productive. It also makes you appreciate yourself better and prevents happenings like panic attacks due to anxiety. Hence, you may expect to pay a little for those benefits.

Meanwhile, if you see therapy as a tool to make you have a better and healthier life, it would go a long way in making certain choices. Besides, it's essential that you know about the different counseling services that can be of help. BetterHelp provides support by making expert therapists available for patients, thereby assisting people through challenges and hard times.

  • Is a therapy session cost ever covered by insurance?

There are specific scenarios where an insurance company covers paying for therapy. However, you should know that not all insurance companies support therapy services or offer free payments. When talking about therapy types and insurance, you need to comprehend two terms of therapy or online counseling. For the first, there's a term called the in-network therapist. Secondly, there is an out of network therapist as well. 

In simple terms, the out of network therapist means that they are not "in-network" with your insurance company, but the in-network therapist works with your insurance company. Traditionally, therapy visits, group therapy, and emergency mental health are covered by insurance companies. Relatively, therapy is generally expensive with the absence or presence of insurance.

For this reason, there are many other therapy types available for patients. For instance, you can enjoy the sliding scales to reduce general costs. Sliding scales are priced based on each individual's income. Generally, several advantages come with utilizing insurance for therapy or online counseling. Primarily, it just makes the cost lesser than what it could be initially.

How often should I go to therapy?

Every person has their own significant challenges or mental conditions. Hence, there is no general rule for the number of times a person can attend therapy in health centers. So, you can experience hours of therapy for a few days in the week, while the other party doesn't have that experience. It depends on medical advice and other significant factors, like being a private pay client. 

Interestingly, private pay patients can choose the frequency of their therapy. These clients may not have experts provide therapy for them at health centers, instead sessions can hold online. People need to know this information before subscribing to counseling services. Usually, the average number of sessions is dependent on the type of therapy that is required. In your first therapy session, you should speak about the number of sessions that you need. However, they will need to hear your expectations and what you're willing to achieve after the sessions. 

For brief therapy, the number of sessions is between six to twenty. If you don't know what brief therapy implies, there's no cause for alarm. It means that there is a specific goal in mind, and all appropriate health resources will be directed towards its achievement. Most times, they focus on working towards the future instead of dwelling on the past. For Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, on average, patients need to attend around 16 sessions in total. You should know that behavioral therapy helps treat mental health disorders, and it makes it entirely worth paying for therapy. Overall, please note that the number of sessions of therapy entirely depends on your therapist. Most therapists don't have a fixed number of times for therapy per se because it depends on the patient. It is encouraged that you ask questions to know more about the number of sessions. 

  • Do I really need therapy? 

Once you have any mental health or emotional problems that affect your day to day activities, you may need therapy. With therapy, you will feel better and gain the ability to deal with your daily activities better. Besides, therapy practices provide a safe space where you can speak about your challenges, grief, difficulties, and more. After this, you may be given an advice diagnosis of the whole issue. For instance, a couple's therapy will help you experience a better relationship with your partner. Understandably, telling people about needing therapy may be difficult.

Moreover, it may also be hard to watch a loved one deal with a specific mental condition. However, it's very crucial that you choose to look out for help and support. You may need to take a step of faith to utilize online counseling. Besides, a support group may help as well. If you ever find yourself in doubt, you may start by speaking to a trusted loved one or lookout for experts to provide therapy. Please note that it's more advisable to seek help first and open up entirely to your therapist. Ethically, therapists don't talk about what they discuss with you outside the session. With that, you should be able to conclude as to whether you need to pay for therapy or to pay therapists. MyTherapist offers people in need with substantial support that will help them through challenges.

  • Is crying in therapy a breakthrough?

If you cry in therapy, it can be a form of breakthrough. At that moment, therapists don't move to the next session quickly. Instead, they patiently comprehend whatever could be the reason for tears. Some people think that therapists want their clients to cry. However, that is not the case because not everyone experiencing results cries during therapy.

Many people who experience online counseling usually explore various emotions, and many people shed tears at one point or the other. Since your therapist has a healthy relationship with you, there's a probability that he or she will understand the reason for your tears. Also, your therapist may feel empathy and a connection with you through that time. Please note that you shouldn't worry about crying in each therapy session. Crying in therapy is called catharsis, and it's understandable when that happens. Besides, it's healthy to let your tears out during therapy at every point in time.

  • How long should therapy last?

Interestingly, therapy can last as long as several months to years. Depending on what you feel and your therapist, the duration for therapy differs. For instance, if you're a private pay client, things will work differently. Private pay clients may pick the duration of therapy themselves. These clients may not need experts to provide therapy for them at health centers as sessions can hold online. 

Every person has a unique experience or challenge. Due to this, you may experience hours of therapy while someone else doesn't take that long. Hence, it's only right when that person goes through a unique therapy session as well. People that undergo brief therapy don't take long. Traditionally, it takes around one or two sessions for a standard brief therapy to take place. However, people with or online counseling conditions or challenges that require a more rigorous process could have sessions that last for a month or more. 

Individuals with more complicated issues typically have to go through long term therapies. Another question that you may have is, how long is too long in psychotherapy? Ensure you speak to your therapist and determine the length of your therapy sessions. A typical Cognitive Behavioral Therapy focuses on thoughts, attitudes, beliefs, and more. Usually, it takes 12 to 20 weeks for this specific type of therapy to last.

  • How do you know if a therapist is right for you?

Aside from the primary things like possessing a legal license and experience, there are more ways to figure this out. First, if you already began therapy, you may discover that you feel that your therapist is part of your team. It almost feels like he or she is about to offer free services. In other words, he or she would show support and concerns about your challenges and more. 

Also, the appropriate therapist will show mutual respect during your sessions and provide therapy appropriately. They will respect your personal space, offer health resources, and not get into any unnecessary or private matters you don't want to share. Overall, a therapist's primary goal is to make you feel comfortable, which is why you pay for therapy. Once you don't feel any signs of discomfort, then you have a therapist that is right for you.

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