Finding Affordable Therapy: An Investment in Health

Medically reviewed by Corey Pitts, MA, LCMHC, LCAS, CCS
Updated April 26, 2024by BetterHelp Editorial Team

Therapy is a resource individuals can utilize to support their mental health. In general, therapists are licensed professionals in the field of psychology, and they often specialize in a variety of areas. This can allow individuals to engage in different treatment modalities depending on their specific needs, whether they’re living with symptoms of a specific mental health disorder or experiencing a challenging phase of life.

Financial constraints are one of the challenges individuals may face when seeking help from a qualified therapist. However, the evolving landscape of mental healthcare has introduced new avenues for affordable support, such as online platforms, employee assistance programs, and community resources. 

A woman in a black dress sits across from her therapist and smiles softly while listening to him talk.
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Understanding the cost of therapy

It may be helpful to explore the factors that influence the cost of therapy before starting your own search for a therapist. 

A therapist’s specialty can be an important factor to consider, as therapists often charge more if they are working in a highly specialized field or treating rare and challenging conditions. Highly specialized therapists usually invest a lot of time, money, and energy into the education, understanding, and expertise needed to treat clients effectively. Therefore, they usually charge more for their services. 

When clients receive high-quality, compassionate, effective treatment from an accredited therapist, they may leave feedback and reviews to help others determine whether a particular therapist may be a good fit. A therapist’s reputation can also influence their price point, and it can be helpful to explore client feedback before choosing a therapist. 

Some other factors to consider are session duration, frequency, and location. If a therapist is located in a metropolitan area like New York City, they typically have to charge more to account for the increased cost of living. Session duration and frequency can also impact the overall cost of care, especially since therapists tend to charge by the hour.

Is therapy a valuable investment?

Therapy usually requires a commitment of time, money, and energy. Despite the potential financial investment required, therapy is widely recognized as a valuable resource for promoting overall well-being, and research shows its role in improving overall quality of life by reducing symptoms of anxiety and depression, among other mental health concerns. Therapy usually has the potential to mitigate symptoms of existing conditions or prevent their onset in the first place.

Still, even considering therapy’s valuable benefits, it can be too expensive for many people to receive the help they deserve. However, more affordable options seem to be arising, especially with the emergence of online therapy, which is often less expensive than attending therapy in person without insurance coverage and can eliminate the costs associated with transportation and child care.

A large body of evidence suggests that online therapy tends to be just as effective as in-person therapy. It can treat a variety of mental health disorders and challenges, and online therapists typically use the same methods and modalities as they would in a traditional office setting.

Another option for affordable care could be to seek out therapists who offer sessions on a sliding-scale basis. This generally means that you pay a rate based on your income. 

Organizations like the Open Path Psychotherapy Collective may be seen as the leaders in creating equitable health care for all. For a small lifetime membership fee, Open Path can match you with an affordable therapist to suit your individual needs. 

While there may be affordable therapy options available, it can be important to understand that different types of therapy may fall under different price categories. If you are seeking a specialized therapy session for your unique needs or want relationship guidance in the form of couples therapy, you may need to pay more than the average rate. 

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Finding therapy within your budget

Below are several options to consider when seeking affordable therapy.

  • Community resources: You may be able to find therapy sessions, support groups, wellness courses, or counselor support at your community center, place of worship, or local hospital. 
  • Referrals: Seeking referrals from trusted sources like friends, family members, or healthcare professionals can lead you to therapists who offer affordable rates or sliding-scale fees. 
  • Insurance: If you have one, review your health insurance plan to determine your coverage for therapy services. It can be helpful to contact an insurance agent and inquire about copayments, deductibles, and coverage limitations to understand your financial responsibilities.
  • Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs): If you’re employed, your workplace may offer an Employee Assistance Program (EAP) that provides access to free or discounted therapy sessions. Employers with EAPs usually want their employees to take advantage of the service and care for their personal welfare, especially since it tends to benefit the work environment, relationships between colleagues, and overall productivity. 


Affordable therapy is generally becoming more accessible in today’s world, especially with the rise of organizations promoting sustainable and equitable mental healthcare for all. Options for affordable care may include using your Employee Assistance Program, seeking out sliding-scale providers, or asking for a referral from a trusted friend. Insurance and various community resources may also help you access affordable therapy. It can be possible to find support online, at your workplace, or in your local area.

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