How Much Does Marriage Counseling Cost?

Medically reviewed by Julie Dodson, MA
Updated March 10, 2023by BetterHelp Editorial Team

Online marriage counseling has become a very popular choice for many relationship issues due to its convenience and affordability among other benefits. Although traditional in-person marriage counseling is still widely practiced, online couples counseling is beginning to have a great following for relationship guidance. Regardless of the method or venue of the marriage counseling you choose; qualified help is available. Here are some things to take into consideration regarding the respective couples counseling cost, what to expect, and anticipated value, as you make your decision.

Are Marital Issues Making You Consider Marriage Counseling?

What To Expect In Couples Counseling

Your counselor is likely to recommend that the first session includes both of you. This sets the foundational dynamic of the therapeutic environment as a joint session, as opposed to really being for only one of you.

Many individual clinicians also provide marriage counseling, so it is possible for you to use a licensed professional who has provided individual counseling for one of you in the past. However, it is understandable if your partner is not completely comfortable receiving relationship therapy from 'your' therapist. You can both choose the counselor who best fits both of your needs and vision for therapy. 

After the initial joint session, it is common for your counselor to want to see each of you, individually, at least one time as well. This helps provide valuable context for your counselor, by allowing them to observe you alone and together. This is, of course, not intended for keeping secrets. It is only a way for your professional counselor to have as much, well-rounded information about each of you and your interpersonal dynamics.

Many of the same concepts apply to hiring a family therapist as described below, just towards a relationship between families. Family therapists help with relationships between families without the romantic component, and if you are seeking family therapy, much of the information on the cost applies also to family therapy, so feel free to read on to learn more about how much it costs to work on relationship issues.

How Long Might We Be In Therapy Together?

Couples or marriage counseling is likely to take longer than individual counseling, on average. When two persons are involved, each with their own personalities, combined with the dynamics between the two, it seems reasonable to allow some greater time-frame for success in marriage counseling (as compared to individual counseling).

Some people may be resistant to the idea of relationship therapy, or therapy in general. Often, we are the primary source of our own greatest resistance to change. In couples counseling, you may find that you, your partner, or both of you, resist your own efforts and intentions and interfere with each other’s efforts to change as well.

For all these reasons, it may be helpful to expect to invest at least a few months in your therapy. That is a good starting point to estimate the average cost of marriage counseling. When asked how many sessions people need, many relationship therapists recommend a minimum of three months. Remember you may have years of relationship behaviors and patterns you need to modify and change, and these changes take time. 

Are Marital Issues Making You Consider Marriage Counseling?

What It Costs

The couples counseling cost varies a great deal depending on the type of therapy you are seeking for your relationship. The cost of marriage counseling may be the same as individual therapy. However, the fee may raise for several reasons. These include the experience of the clinician, length of couples' therapy sessions, or the going rate for couples' therapy in your area.  Some marriage counselors who are in higher demand may simply charge more for counseling sessions; others charge more because of their additional, or advanced, training and expertise.

In a survey done by the National Directory of Marriage and Family Counseling, the cost of marriage counseling and family counseling can run between $75 to $200 (or more) per session. Most marriage counselors will see couples one session per week for at least three months, which may come to a total cost of between $600-$1600 for the duration. If you have two sessions per week, this cost can double and cost up to $3200 for three months of therapy.

Online therapy platforms tend to be more cost-effective. For marriage and family therapists, an online therapy session typically costs on average between $125 - $200 per month for a subscription, which could be as little as $30 - $50 per session, assuming a weekly appointment. This can include both partners. In comparison, online therapy will typically cost less and is more convenient, considering you can attend sessions from anywhere you have a virtual connection. 

While online therapy is more cost-effective, you may find in-person therapy to be the right fit despite the greater cost. Our purposes here are to offer some points of comparison for you to arrive at your own well-informed decision for what is the best way to discuss your relationship and marital issues. Additionally, being aware of all the factors that affect marriage counseling costs will allow you to make a smart choice.

Insurance Reimbursement

You may be wondering, “Does insurance cover marriage counseling?” Unfortunately, even with the growing interest in and acceptance of mental health care, most insurance companies do not cover marriage counseling. An insurance company does not cover marriage counseling and most relationship struggles because medical insurance covers only clinically accepted, 'billable' diagnoses. No such billable diagnosis exists for relationship counseling. If one spouse does have a legitimate, diagnosable, mental health condition, then marriage counseling may be included as part of that intervention. But marriage counseling, in and of itself, is not reimbursable by health insurance. The answer to “Is marriage counseling covered by insurance” is most likely, no.

It is worth noting that the extent to which you may be reimbursed by your health insurance for even diagnosable mental health disorders which are clearly billable, is completely dependent upon your actual policy. Many policies have additional limits for mental health coverage, like only a limited number of sessions per year, or coverage only up to a specific dollar amount.

While most insurance companies do not cover relationship issues, there are other resources available for relationships in need that are financially challenged. This can include public health clinics, or clinical social workers or therapists who offer sliding scale rates. Even at a low cost, the right marriage counselor can help committed partners improve your relationship issues, such as communication or intimacy, and help you to build the healthy relationship that you both want to have with each other.

Is Marriage Counseling Worth It?

Perhaps at this point, you may be asking yourself “Is marriage counseling worth it?” It is reasonable to ask further questions about your relationship:

  • How Much Did We Spend On The Wedding? 

Of course, this has changed dramatically over the decades, so if you have been married more than about 20 years, your answer may not be quite so persuasive. But in recent decades, it has become completely 'average' to spend $25,000 - $50,000 on at least a first wedding. If we are willing to spend so much to start a marriage, does it not seem appropriate to be willing to spend a fraction of that amount to improve, strengthen, or even save, our marriages?

  • How Much Would A Legal Separation, Or Divorce, Cost Us?

While cost may not be a factor in your consideration of divorce or marriage, if you are hesitant to spend money on counseling, perhaps you can consider the cost of a legal separation or divorce. Furthermore, the emotional and psychological cost of a divorce or separation can also be uncountable. 

  • What do we have to lose? 

Marriages rarely remain static. They most often are either growing or deteriorating. What is the most likely outcome if you do not seek marriage counseling, or delay longer? Is it worth the risk?

If you are having any kind of marital issues, from issues with communication to your sex life, there are plenty of choices for you and your spouse, both online couples’ counseling and in person. Successful marriage counseling is priceless. Isn't your marriage worth it? Get started today with nearly immediate help with a licensed professional. 


Online therapy is a valid, affordable, and convenient alternative to traditional in-person counseling.

Studies have shown that online therapy can be as effective as in-person sessions. Online meetings with your counselor also have certain benefits that you may not experience with traditional in-person meetings. These include the convenience of meeting with your therapist in the comfort of your own home rather than traveling to the therapist’s office. Also, if you live in a rural location, or have a limited ability to travel to an office, online therapy is convenient and accessible. 

BetterHelp is an online platform that provides a wide range of licensed mental health professionals. Many of these professionals specialize in couples counseling. BetterHelp services cost between $60 and $90 per week, billed monthly, which can be less than what some in-person mental health professionals charge. In addition to online sessions, at BetterHelp, you can message your therapist for additional support or ask questions.

Some commonly asked questions around this online therapy and marriage counseling include:

Is marriage counseling even worth it?

Why is marriage counseling so expensive?

Can just one person go to marriage counseling?

How often should couples go to therapy?

What should I not tell a marriage counselor?

Can marriage counseling make things worse?

What is the Gottman Method?

Is therapy covered by insurance?

How much does a counselor cost?

What is the difference between marriage counseling and couples therapy?

What percent of married couples go to marriage counseling?

What is the best type of marriage counseling?

For what reason is marriage counseling not successful? 
What is the divorce rate after couples therapy?
What is the main problem in marriage counseling?

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