Guide For Affordable Therapy And Budget-Friendly Counseling

Medically reviewed by Julie Dodson, MA
Updated November 29, 2023by BetterHelp Editorial Team

Whether you’re living with a mental health condition or simply want to invest in your well-being and overall health, therapy can be a powerful form of self-care for people of all backgrounds. 

If you’re also living on a tight budget, though, the costs of therapy – not to mention, the hassle of getting to an office – might prevent you from seeking the help you deserve. 

This article showcases affordable therapy options and budget-friendly counseling, so that you can implement quality mental health care into your self-care routine. 

Interested In Therapy On A Budget?

Where Should I Begin To Look To Find Affordable Therapy? 

Even if your finances are limited, it may be possible to find a professional, board-certified therapist through online therapy platforms or in-person therapy options while avoiding financial burden. If you’re searching for an affordable therapist, these five suggestions can get you started. Keep in mind that the process of finding a therapist can be individualized; you can adjust or skip these tips based on your personal preferences and circumstances.

1. Contact Your Insurance Company

If you have health insurance, you may want to call your insurance provider to ask about mental health care coverage under your plan. They may be able to provide a list of “in-network” therapists who accept your insurance, so that you’re only responsible for a co-pay. People with co-pay plans may pay around $15-$45 per session. 

2. Ask About Sliding Scale Therapy

For patients without insurance, sliding scale providers can be an alternative. A sliding scale is a range of out-of-pocket fees that healthcare providers are willing to accept, based on the patient’s ability to pay. In consideration of your financial circumstances, these providers offer services at a reduced cost.

You can search for low-cost and sliding scale providers in your local area, or you may want to ask your current therapist or doctor about lower-cost counseling options. In many cases, they’re happy to connect you to organizations or individuals that can accommodate your budget.

3. Use School Or Workplace Therapy Benefits 

If you’re a student at a college or university or a salaried employee, you might have mental health benefits. Many school campuses and workplaces offer health care benefits, including in-person or teletherapy options for their students and employees. 

Depending on where you work, you may have access to the Employee Assistance Program (EAP), a 24/7, year-round program that provides mental health assessment, short-term counseling, referral, and coaching services to federal employees. 

4. Look For Group Therapy Or Support Groups

In many cases, group therapy can be less expensive than individual therapy, and researchers have also found that group and individual therapies are similarly effective. Depending on your personality and goals, you might even prefer the unique benefits of group therapy, which might include a sense of community, the opportunity to listen to others, and reassurance that you’re not alone. 

If you’re currently working with a therapist, they might be able to direct you to an online or in-person support group based on your health history, personal beliefs, and treatment goals. In your local area, faith-based institutions and community centers may offer specialized support groups.

Some support groups may not technically qualify as “group therapy” since they’re not always led by a licensed therapist. Regardless of their technical definition, these groups can provide meaningful insight and social connection. 

5. Try Online Therapy 

Not everyone has the time or financial resources for traditional, in-person counseling. Online therapy platforms like Open Path and BetterHelp can connect you to thousands of board-certified therapists who believe in the power of high-quality and accessible therapy.

In comparison to in-person therapy, which can cost anywhere from $100 to $200 per session, online platforms like BetterHelp typically cost $65 to $90 per week, billed every four weeks.

As a client, you can “check in” to your appointments at a time and place that works best for you. 

Researchers have found that online therapy can be just as effective as in-person sessions. In a recent analysis of online interventions, researchers reviewed data from 24 studies. They concluded that both video teleconference and telephone-delivered interventions can effectively treat various mental health conditions, including depression, anxiety, posttraumatic stress disorder, and adjustment disorder. 


Other Affordable Mental Health Resources At Your Disposal

Even after you settle into a routine with your therapist or support group, there may be other resources that can supplement your mental health care outside of regular therapy sessions. 

The following organizations offer free crisis services and other general resources such as blogs and self-care “toolkits”, for example. These resources can offer both immediate advice and long-term support:

When you call or text these organizations, you can speak to highly trained and compassionate individuals. Sometimes, they have personal experience with the concerns you’re facing and can guide you toward the next steps for treatment or support.

In our online era, these free digital resources can be an invaluable asset to your recovery journey, and more resources emerge every day. Consider contacting your doctor, therapist, support group leader, or another trusted resource for personalized recommendations. 

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Interested In Therapy On A Budget?

Review For Online Counseling With BetterHelp

“Joanne far exceeded my expectations for therapy. I was very hesitant to try online counseling and Joanne made this so easy, productive, and beneficial. She was everything I needed to help me work through my issues and make a plan for a successful future. I look forward to our sessions and am so grateful I chose her as my therapist. We all need Joanne in our lives!” Read more on Joanne Shrock.


Professional mental health services should be available, affordable, and convenient – and these therapy options and online resources are working to make this vision a reality. With BetterHelp and other online platforms, affordable counseling or therapy is within reach. 

As you begin your search, keep this guide handy. Regardless of your motivation for therapy, you deserve a compassionate, experienced professional who will honor your financial circumstances and mental health goals. 

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The information on this page is not intended to be a substitution for diagnosis, treatment, or informed professional advice. You should not take any action or avoid taking any action without consulting with a qualified mental health professional. For more information, please read our terms of use.
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