Breaking Down the Cost and Value of Therapy
Some people are surprised when they learn about the cost of therapy. In a world where mental health-related issues are less stigmatized each day, therapy is used by more people than ever before. Mental health services are incredibly important for helping people navigate and learn about their own mental health as well as the role it plays in their lives. So what is the cost of therapy and what value does it really hold in today’s world?
What Is Sticker Shock?
Sticker shock is a common phenomenon experienced by individuals when they’re exploring both healthcare and the field of mental health services. It is the experience of learning the cost of a service or prescription and being surprised by the price tag. People may experience sticker shock when they learn the cost of therapy because it can be more expensive than they anticipated. It helps to understand what factors affect the cost of therapy.
What Is the Average Cost of Therapy?
The average cost of therapy varies greatly depending on the provider. The average cost of individual therapy can run anywhere between $60-$120 per session. Some therapists can charge as much as $250 per hour. Individuals who have insurance might only have to pay a $20-$50 copay per session with their coverage. Some providers will offer sliding scale pricing for therapy to clients in certain financial situations.
Most therapists bill for the cost of therapy by session or per hour, although some offer packages (like 4 sessions paid upfront for a discounted per-session rate). The amount due is often collected at the beginning or end of each visit unless they accept insurance. If they accept insurance, then they might bill the session to your insurance and only charge you the copay at the time of the visit.
Why Does Therapy Seem So Expensive?
The cost of therapy is influenced by a number of factors. These factors include things like the therapist’s specialty, level of education, area of expertise, the cost of running a practice (which will vary quite a bit by location), and much more. A therapist can achieve a higher level of expertise education, post-grad or post-doc training, experience, or some combination of these.
Mental health providers have expensive educations that they have to pay off. They often rent comfortable office spaces that create a safe environment for their clients, requiring furniture and resources. They have to pay for practice management software and operating costs, including their own salaries and that of any staff.
One little known fact is when therapists take insurance, it actually costs them quite a lot of money. Insurance makes therapy more affordable to receive for clients but less affordable to offer for mental health professionals.
You can see how all these factors add up, which is why therapy can be more expensive than some expect.
Is Therapy Worth It?
Mental health services are incredibly valuable, often justifying the cost of therapy. Providers specialize in a wide variety of services that are designed to help you take care of your mental health and thrive in your life. For some, therapy has helped them navigate difficult mental health issues which, if left unattended, would damage their life.
Therapy can help you handle complex emotions and learn strategies for positive mental health. It can be a space that holds you accountable to your goals and where you can speak freely and comfortably. It can be an outlet for you to explore your purpose. The value-add of therapy is largely to be found in its powerful effects on your quality of life. Mental health services are incredibly valuable. Although the cost of therapy might sometimes seem outside your budget, there are affordable options out there for you.
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