Guide For Affordable Therapy And Budget-Friendly Counseling

Medically reviewed by Julie Dodson, MA
Updated March 16, 2023by BetterHelp Editorial Team

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

Online Counseling is Safe And Affordable

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

At BetterHelp, we believe that therapy should be available, affordable, and effective, regardless of your mental health history and goals. So today, we’re showcasing affordable therapy options and low cost counseling, so that you can implement quality mental health care into your self-care routine.

How Do I Find An Affordable Therapist? 

Rest assured: even if your finances are limited, it’s possible to find a professional, board-certified therapist without taking on another financial burden.

If you’re searching for an affordable therapist, these five suggestions can get you started on the journey. Keep in mind that the process of finding a therapist is unique to you, so feel free to adjust or skip these tips based on your personal circumstances. 

1. Contact Your Insurance

If you have health insurance, 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 only have to pay a co-pay: the set fee you pay for a therapy session. People with co-pay plans may pay around $15-$45 per session. Many policies have quite incredible out-of-network coverage as well, so be sure to confirm your “out-of-network, out-patient, mental health” coverage, including that deductible (which is typically separate from your in-network deductible), and how much is remaining for this calendar year, too.

2. Ask About Sliding Scale Therapy

For patients without insurance, sliding scale providers can be an excellent alternative. In consideration of your financial circumstances, these providers provide services at a reduced cost so that you can attend more sessions.

You can search for low-cost and sliding scale providers in your geographic area, or 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 support your budget and long-term therapy goals.

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 in-person or teletherapy options for their students and employees. 

Depending on where you work, you may have 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 is 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 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.

Keep in mind that 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 insights and human connection. 

5. Try Online Therapy 

At BetterHelp, we understand that not everyone has the time or financial resources for traditional, face-to-face counseling. In keeping with our mission, we feature thousands of board-certified, highly trained therapists who believe in the power of high-quality and available therapy. In comparison to in-person therapy, which can cost anywhere from $100 to $200 per session, online platforms like BetterHelp typically cost $60 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 face-to-face sessions. In a 2019 study of online or “telepsychology” interventions, researchers reviewed details from 24 studies. They concluded that both video teleconference and telephone-delivered interventions can effectively treat several mental health conditions, including depression, anxiety, posttraumatic stress disorder, and adjustment disorder. 

Online Counseling is Safe And Affordable

Other Affordable Mental Health Resources

Even after you settle into a routine with your therapist or support group, there are 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,” that can offer both immediate advice and support for your long-term treatment plan.

When you call or text these organizations, you’ll 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.

If you’re looking for more generalized support, features resources for a range of mental health concerns, including behavioral disorders, mood and personality disorders, and specialized topics for young people and older adults. 

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

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 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. 

For additional help & support with your concerns

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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