Before a couple chooses to seek relationship help from a therapist, cost will likely be a factor. The charge for couples therapy may be the same as individual therapy, depending on the therapist, or it may be higher because of experience, length of couples therapy sessions, or the going rate for couples therapy in your area. Here, several therapists explain the cost of couples therapy:
Traci Ruble, LMFT: Couples therapy usually costs the same as individual therapy, but some therapists charge more for couples work. There is no regulation for what a couples therapist, or any therapist, can charge. In the San Francisco Bay Area, couples therapy ranges from $120 per therapy hour to $250 per therapy hour. Why the wide range? Some therapists are in high demand and can simply charge more; others charge more because of their training and skill. Some therapists charge more for couples work compared to their individual work because they may have specialized training, or they may spend more time and money training and consulting for their couples work.
Fee, I hope, is not the only determining factor for why you choose someone. You and your partner will both want to feel good with the person you choose and may choose to pay more for a good fit or the right skill set. That said, not all great couples therapists are high fee, so shopping around is always a good idea.
When I call a therapist for the first time, I would want to know their fees, if their schedule is a fit for me, and if they are good at helping with situations like the one I am in. I might ask them about their couples therapy training, and what percentage of their practice are couples cases. If you are a reader and keep up on therapy theory, you might ask what their theoretical orientation is. The best-case scenario is to get some referrals for a couples therapist from people you know and trust. In my experience, as a client and therapist, getting a referral for a therapist from someone you trust often makes for the best matches.
Stuart A. Kaplowitz, MFT: For some therapists, couples therapy is charged at a higher rate. Personally, my fee is the same if one person is in the room, or a couple, or an entire family; a 50-minute session for me is a 50-minute session.
That said, many of us might also suggest allowing for more time for couples work with the idea that more people in the room means taking more time to learn about them, addressing each of their needs and concerns, and so forth. If resources allow, having 90 minutes, especially at the start of couples therapy, might be beneficial.
Deanna Daniels-Jacinto, LMFT: The cost for therapy varies depending on where and from whom you seek services. Therapists in private practice typically charge more than community-based centers that often offer low-fee services or charge based on a sliding scale. Since therapists typically charge by the hour or 50-minute session, a session for couples does not cost more than a session for an individual.
However, therapists may recommend 80-minute sessions for couples and/or families to allow enough time for everyone’s voice to be heard during session. In this case, you will pay an increased session fee. Therapy should not be avoided due to cost of services. Researching the options available to you in your geographical area is recommended so services can be accessed before problems within a relationship escalate to a detrimental level.
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