If you decide to find a therapist for a mental health concern or other reason, cost will be a factor in your decision. Below, therapists discuss the factors that affect the cost of therapy and some considerations you should make when weighing the cost of therapy in your decision:
Lisa M. Vallejos, MA, LPC, NCC: Therapy costs have an extremely wide range. I know clinics that charge as little at $5 per session and others who charge $300 per session. It really is dependent on the therapist, your location, and the going rate for therapy in your area. There are many things to consider in addition to the cost that I would like to address.
Another factor to consider is whether you plan on using your insurance for therapy. In that case, you will likely be limited to however many sessions your insurance will pay for, which can vary. Also to consider if you are using your insurance, is whether there are only certain types of therapy that are covered, such as cognitive behavioral therapy. If you are paying for therapy with insurance, also consider that to be covered by insurance you must have a “covered” diagnosis. Your therapist will diagnose you and will list that diagnosis on your reimbursement paperwork. You will likely have a co-pay to pay when you seek insurance-reimbursed therapy, so be sure to find out how much that is as well.
Finally, many therapists will work on a sliding fee scale, but they do not always advertise that. A sliding scale is a payment structure that is based on your income. You can ask your potential therapist if they do, and if they do not, would they consider doing it for you.
Marla B. Cohen, PsyD: The price of therapy varies. Many insurance plans cover psychotherapy, and if you choose to work with a provider within your network, you will only need to pay your typical co-payment. Should you choose to see a therapist outside of your insurance network, you will find that therapists charge different rates depending on their office location, level of education, and degree of expertise in their field.
Some therapists may charge as much as $200 or more per session, but most will charge $75-$150 a session. Many therapists work with a sliding scale fee schedule, which means their fee will depend on your income level. If you have out-of-network benefits with your insurance plan, you may be reimbursed for the majority of what you pay the therapist. Your therapist’s office can create a ledger for you to submit to your insurance company for reimbursement. If costs are an issue, many areas have community mental health agencies that provide therapy at a reduced fee.
Stacey Fuller, LMFT: When it comes to the cost of therapy, there is no set industry standard. The cost of therapy can vary widely depending on a number of factors.
Some therapists are part of a panel of providers who accept a particular insurance. In this case, the cost of therapy may only be a co-pay and/or deductible payment determined by the insurance company. Typically, insurance companies will limit the number of sessions they pay for in a calendar year so it is important to check with your insurance provider prior to initiating therapy to determine how much of the cost of treatment will be covered.
Some therapists choose to not accept insurance and instead offer fee-for-service (otherwise known as private pay) only. How private pay therapists set their rates is dependent on a number of factors: area, specialization and specialized training, number of years of experience, how in demand they are in the community, etc. In my area private pay therapists are typically priced anywhere from $65 on up to $250 a session. In other areas of the country, the prices may be quite different. Checking out some GoodTherapy.org therapist profiles in your area will give you a general sense of the cost of private pay therapy.
Free or low-cost therapy is often available for people with limited financial means through local clinics, hospitals, and community agencies. Frequently these providers are students in training or mental health interns who provide therapy at a low rate or free of charge in exchange for experience hours towards licensure.
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