Reasons Why Marriage Counseling Costs Are Worth It
By: Stephanie Kirby
Updated February 02, 2021
Medically Reviewed By: Richard Jackson
Every relationship has conflicts. In a marriage, or a relationship where two individuals live together, friction is unavoidable. If two people are both living and working from home—and around each other nearly twenty-four hours a day, 365 days a year—there is an even higher likelihood the relationship will have some rough patches. Many couples turn to their friends or family members for advice. While some friends may be able to give you solid advice, especially if they have already been through a similar experience, sometimes it's just helpful to talk to someone who is trained and licensed to provide help.
What Is Marriage Counseling?
Marriage counseling can be an effective outlet to allow couples a safe and comfortable space in which they can voice their feelings, problems, and opinions. It is not uncommon for relationships to hit snags here and there. You are combining two imperfect people into a relationship where they are likely to disagree about situations both big and small. In fact, many families and partners thrive on a degree of conflict. But to do so, they need to have a high degree of skill and ability in the recovery process.
Sometimes to build that skill, couples consult a trained marriage counselor. These professionals can help to find solutions to problems in the relationship and help bring couples a sense of peace.A trained therapist, like those at BetterHelp, act as a mediator and a guide for couples to discuss and overcome the obstacles in their relationship. And, while many people think that it would be uncomfortable to talk to a therapist about their personal problems, sometimes getting an outside perspective from a third party can be incredibly eye opening.
Asking friends and family for help can backfire because they will tend to take the side of the individual that they are closest to. But a therapist is not going to take sides. And, they know the right questions to ask to get to the root of the problem instead of talking about all the smaller spats that come up.
Experienced marriage counselors will be able to teach the couple how to improve their communication, settle the root of the problem, and learn how to handle conflict going forward in their marriage. Having scheduled appointments can also help the couple keep on track with taking the necessary steps to reach recovery and experience a happier marriage.
How Much Does It Cost?
On average, most marriage therapists charge between $75-$150 per hour of counseling. Prices, however, can vary widely from place to place. Rates can reach $300 an hour in big cities such as New York. There are, of course, good reasons for the high price tags. Marriage and relationship counselors typically have numerousqualifications, and they pay higher insurance premiums than other therapists.
Is the Cost Really Worth It?
For many couples, financial issues can cause a tremendous amount of stress and tension in their relationship. Many who seek couples therapy turn away when they see the cost. Despite the costs associated with marriage counseling, many argue that it is significantly less expensive than the alternatives.
To put it bluntly, $300 for one hour per week over, say, a six month period is a steal compared to what you may face if you go through a divorce. Without the help of a licensed therapist, many couples that are struggling end up eventually turning to that option. The average cost of a divorce in America ranges anywhere from $15,000 to $30,000, depending on what's involved. When you compare the costs of the two, they don't even come close.
Is There A Less Expensive Alternative?
Like most other services, a higher price usually indicates higher qualifications, more experience, and potentially a greater likelihood of success. That said, many couples have persevered and succeeded in their marriages in other less costly ways.
If you are considering couples therapy, the first thing to do is to contact your health insurance provider. The number can usually be found on the back or corner of the card you receivedwhen your coverage started. Many insurance providers will unfortunately not pay for marriage counseling sessions, but some will.It varies widely between patients and insurers. Some will cover your sessions.Others may cover some of them or a percentage of the costs. Regardless, it is an option worth exploring.
If your insurance does not cover you for couples therapy, that still doesn’t necessarily mean you need to pay full price. Seek out therapists in your area. Be completely open with the specialists you contact. Not all therapists are in it for the money, and if you explain that you can only afford a discounted rate, some may agree. Others offer their services on an income-adjusted sliding scale.
You can alsosearch your area for federally-funded mental health centers, which often offer free or discounted counseling services. Other places to check for discounted rates could be local universities looking for practice for high-level students, therapy practices containing multiple counselors which tend to run cheaper, your workplace's human resources department, and religious institutions.
If you are a person of faith, you may be able to find more affordable counseling options through your local church. Many pastors meet with members of their congregation who need counseling. However, this isn't always offered as a free service.
A More Affordable Counseling Option
Online therapy and counseling represent another helpful option that isgrowing in popularity. Many sites target specific audiences, such as individuals, young couples, married couples, and anyone else in need of help. Most of these, such as BetterHelp, offer counseling services 24/7 for much lower rates than in-person therapists.
There are many benefits that come along with doing therapy online. For example, if a couple is trying to hold their marriage together for their family and they have young children,seeking therapy also means taking on the extra expense of a babysitter. It also means potentially explainingto your kids where you are going. This is something that many people aren't comfortable with. It can also make you feel more relaxed when you are sitting in the comfort of your own home while talking to your therapist.
Experts have long called on couples to seek counseling before they reach the point of potentially breaking up or getting a divorce. But since the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic, many partners have gone past the point of seeking preventative measures. Lockdowns and quarantines have both increased rates of mental illness and have brought about higher rates of divorce. Many experts see a link between these two phenomena. The good news is that online counseling practices and availabilities improved drastically throughout 2020. According to Scientific American, online therapy can be a game-changer when it comes to dealing with lockdowns during the winter, a time that is already known to cause spikes in mental illness.
There are many benefits to pursuing marriage counseling online. The reduced cost is simply one of them. With sites like BetterHelp, you can connect with a licensed mental health practitioner at a time that is convenient for both of you. What’s more, you can choose to contact your therapist via text, call, or video conference. If you are still not sold, read what other couples have to say about their experiences with BetterHelp below.
“I absolutely speaking with Tonya! It feels like second nature. Tonya has help me to grow personally and within my marriage. She has given me ways to view my situation differently and has provided several ways for me to communicate better with my husband and to put my needs first so that I am the best person, wife and mother that I can be!”
“Liz has been so wonderful to work with. This is my very first real experience with non-religious based counseling and it has been immensely helpful. Liz is so kind and listens intently when I’m expressing myself and while she does validate me, she also uses gentle reminders when I may be looking at things from an unhealthy angle. This has helped me to make that a practice which has been an effective strategy for conflict resolution in my relationships.”
Whichever option you choose, the most important thing is that you get help for yourself and your marriage. You may not be on the brink of breaking up or divorcing. You and your partner can always take steps to prevent or lessen impasses in the future. If you have been hesitating over going to counseling because of the price that comes with it, don't let the cost of therapy stop you from getting help. It's going to be your cheapest option. There is no cost that is too much for saving your marriage and keeping your family together.
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