Guide For Affordable Therapy And Budget-Friendly Counseling

Updated October 1, 2022 by BetterHelp Editorial Team

Most people, at some point in their lives, are faced with an emotional or mental health condition that they will be better off not trying to face alone. It’s not always best to seek mental health help for mental health conditions from family & friends — affordable online counseling can help.

Affordable Counseling is Safe and Secure Online. Learn More About How it Helps

Generally, it is better to seek out a health care professional with the training and experience to make a difference in a part of your mental health. Mental health professionals are trained to help you get a better sense of yourself, your values, and your goals, while also helping you learn better skills, such as problem-solving or communication. These skills can help you address concerns like a lack of happiness or hope, process grief after the death of a loved one, find coping methods for loneliness and pain, increase low self-esteem, or deal with conflicts within your relationships. 

Finding A Professional Who's Worth Your Time

Your family and friends are not trained mental health professionals, and because they are your family and friends, they are biased and will likely struggle to try to remain neutral. They might prefer to just tell you what to do regarding a mental illness rather than just provide emotional support, and it could be unhelpful. Or they also might “hang on” to what you tell them and bring it up later on, which can be hurtful and frustrating.

Depending on the situation, you may also be putting a friend or family member in the middle of a complicated situation or putting a level of emotional baggage on them that —because they aren’t licensed professionals — they simply don’t know how to help even if they want to.

However, mental health professions often don’t come cheap. Unlike many physical health issues treated by your primary care physician, affordable therapy is not covered by all health insurance plans, and even if it is, you might have to pay out of pocket until your deductible is met, which is high for many people. Also, others do not have insurance or have difficulty finding a provider in their insurance network for mental healthcare. So where can a person find budget-friendly therapy and how much does therapy cost?

Affordable Therapist Options

You might be surprised to learn that there are indeed a lot of organizations that aim to provide economical help for a variety of health issues. For example, there are scholarships and funds available for types of therapy, such as hormone replacement therapy.  When the situation is urgent, several mental health hotlines run by volunteers can be worth calling.

These phone services are a free mental health care option but usually focus on mental health problems that are urgent or related to addiction or those at immediate risk of suicide. Mentalhealth.gov has some good links to some of these addiction and suicide prevention resources. Many provide more than phone calls now too. Some of these services have a chat feature. The only major downside is these mental health services are not generally a long-term solution for treatment or counseling but can be invaluable in a time of crisis or high need.

If you are currently in crisis, here are some other mental health websites and phone numbers that may be helpful:

There are also online mental health services and support groups that serve to give people an outlet to talk and get support for mental health issues. However, these are generally not facilitated by a trained and licensed counselor.

And, of course, if your mental health issues are not in one of these areas, this may not be the best option for you.

Other Types Of Therapy

Many faith-based support groups and community centers offer some form of outreach service for problems ranging from addiction to relationship issues. The counselors may not be licensed but typically undergo some kind of training and many of them will have life experience to help them understand what you might be going through.

Of course, the advice they provide will likely have a significant religious component, which may or may not suit your needs. If this is something that you would like to try, talk to someone at your place of worship to find out more. It can be a good place to start improving your mental health as you likely feel comfortable in that community already.

Professional Mental Health Help On A Budget

If your tastes are more secular, clinics are offering online counseling services at cheaper prices than traditional, in-person counseling. Many online therapy services and online therapy facilities charge on a sliding scale depending on your income and health insurance.

For instance, BetterHelp offers online psychotherapy at a range of costs that anyone can afford, from anywhere from $50 or $60 per session. Most in-person psychologists can cost more than that, sometimes costing up to $200 per appointment depending on the state that you're in. 

Another benefit of online therapy services is that a lot of these clinics offer group counseling as well as individual counseling, which can be helpful for some people, and online group therapy sessions are typically a more affordable online therapy option than online therapy with individual client sessions. The counseling may be provided by students in training as wellness professionals who are overseen by licensed mental health professionals. And there may be a waiting list for online support groups, but often there is not. If you think this might work for you, the best thing to do is find some clinics in your area and call to get more information.

Call Therapists In Your Area

You could also call counselors in your area and see if they offer sliding scale fees or adjustable rates if you do want to see an individual counselor in a private practice setting for your appointments. It is not uncommon for a counselor in private practice to do this, but it might take some digging and several phone calls. If you have an insurance plan, you should also check with your insurance provider to see if they cover the therapist you would like to see with your health insurance. Many insurance providers can also point you towards a list of mental health professionals in your area that they will cover. If you don’t have any luck with insurance providers, another option is to check with your employer to see if therapy can be covered with employee assistance programs.

Budget-Friendly Professional Help

In exciting news, a new trend is to offer low-cost therapy through online affordable counseling so more individuals can afford therapy. These online platforms, such as BetterHelp, can offer a variety of counseling services for a subscription-based service with a monthly fee that is affordable for many, especially if your health insurance can pick up some or all of the therapy cost. BetterHelp offers a variety of therapy options, as well, ranging from teen counseling to couples therapy.

BetterHelp’s site is secure and BetterHelp has grade-A banking level encryption so you can feel confident with your privacy. No matter where you live, a licensed, qualified therapist is available to talk with you regarding any issue you might be having trouble with. And this is a long-term counseling solution so you can know that you have someone who can help guide you through a difficult time and that someone is available to discuss things with you as your life changes and new challenges arise.

It is essentially the same as meeting with a counselor in the office, except the office is your home, school, or wherever else you are! All you need to get started is an internet connection and a smartphone, tablet, or computer. 

The many therapists available on BetterHelp have all been vetted and verified so clients can also feel confident that they are talking to licensed mental health professionals. There are also options for meeting with psychiatrists online, who have doctoral degrees and specifically help with medication management.

The reason this option is extra cost-effective is that you get far more for your money than you would with traditional therapy sessions since you can message your counselor at any time and get feedback throughout the week without having to wait until your next session. You can switch back from sending text-based therapy, where you send messages to a therapist online, to live sessions, or do both at the same time.

Affordable Counseling is Safe and Secure Online. Learn More About How it Helps

You may be curious about how effective online therapy sessions are. Medically reviewed research and randomized control trials conducted by experienced professionals are already trying to answer that question. For common types of therapy, when working on issues that aren’t severe, online therapy seems to be just as effective as in-person therapy sessions. Online therapy’s efficacy has been studied for treating depression, major depressive disorder, anxiety, obsessive-compulsive disorder, eating disorders, and post-traumatic stress disorder, to name a few. You can also get therapy to help with recovery from a loss, issues within your love life, or to help with parenting difficult children. BetterHelp offers multiple options for communication. You also save time and money since you do not have to drive anywhere or take off from obligations like work to attend your counseling sessions. If you find that you do not mesh well with a counselor you are working with, you can change at any time. Everyone deserves to have a safe space to discuss their feelings. 

Review For Online Counseling With BetterHelp's Platform

“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.

If you need counseling, regardless of the reason, do not assume that you will not be able to afford therapy. Anyone can get the help that they need, and they don’t have to spend a fortune to do so.

Some commonly asked questions about this topic can be found below:

How do I ask for cheap therapy?

How much do most therapy sessions cost?

Is therapy covered by most health insurance plans?

How much does therapy cost without insurance?

How do I pay with ivy?

How do I get therapy if I'm poor?

How do you get therapy when you're poor?

What can I do instead of therapy?

Why is therapy so expensive?

How often should you go to therapy?

Why is mental health so expensive?

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