Exploring The Cost Of Couples Counseling

Updated October 5, 2022 by BetterHelp Editorial Team

It is a common misconception that only couples experiencing conflict may benefit from couples or marriage counseling. There are many reasons why a couple may seek help from a licensed therapist. When seeking a couple’s therapist, many couples may want to know how much they can expect to pay for therapy. Costs vary, averaging $50-250 per hour, but online couples therapy may be more affordable. 

Many couples seek therapy early in their relationship, but some couples may wait until they have tried everything else before seeking help. While a significant strain in your relationship may be the first time you consider therapy, finding a couples counselor beforehand may be beneficial. Learning how to communicate with your partner, create goals together and healthily approach conflicts can build a strong foundation for your future together.

Having an objective third party to mediate, offer feedback, and create a safe space to talk about difficult topics can be both helpful and effective. There are many factors to consider before seeking counseling, and one may be the cost.

Counseling sessions are not always covered by insurance, and paying out of pocket can pose a financial barrier for some. To accommodate couples, some therapists may offer a sliding scale rate. One 2020 study found that investing in your relationship with a counselor can strengthen communication skills after 12 sessions.

Couples that struggle to schedule time to attend sessions together may benefit from online therapy, which may have more flexibility and lower costs than in-person therapy. According to, online couples therapy results in the same relationship benefits and mental health support as traditional therapy.

What To Expect From Couples Counseling

It can be helpful to seek advice from family when facing challenges in your relationship, but there are times when a professional therapist may be able to offer guidance that family and friends cannot. Though friends, family, or others you trust can offer advice, they are not unbiased, and unless they are a licensed therapist, they are not trained to help couples. Talking about our problems can be helpful, but in these situations, seeking a therapist (even for short-term couples counseling) may offer you and your partner healthier tools than well-intentioned family and friends.

Couples counseling, when compared with other forms of relationship programs, has the largest impact on couple’s relationship satisfaction. One of the most important things that a therapist or licensed counselor can do is create a safe place for a person to discuss their relationship without judgement. Therapists are often trained in helping you find solutions rather than dwelling on who is "right" or "wrong”. When both partners in the relationship commit to this process, they can develop a better understanding of how to handle conflict as a team.

Your therapist may also give you feedback and exercises to try at home. For example, one counselor asked couples to build IKEA furniture between sessions to understand where their communication could improve. Even when your relationship is going well, therapy may help you continue to strengthen your bond and address challenges and stressors proactively.

Many licensed therapists have unique strategies for helping couples, so it can be important to find a therapist who understands your needs. Research different types of couples therapy, such as emotionally focused therapy (EFT) or behavioral couples therapy (BCT), and discuss what appeals to you and your partner before reaching out to a couple’s counselor. Some therapists may offer free consultations, which can be an opportunity to assess the therapists’ approach. These consultations can give you a better idea of how your therapist hopes to work with you, and it may help you and your partner determine if you want to move forward.

Trusting your therapist and feeling comfortable communicating openly with them are factors that may be as important as your therapist's background.

The Value Of Couples Counseling

It may seem natural to encounter challenges in your relationship. Relationships involve compromise, learning techniques, acceptance, and the willingness to make changes. Building these skills can take time, but couples therapy may help. Building stronger communication strategies may help you and your partner address relationship stressors, from frustrations about sharing chores to disagreements about intimacy. Couples counseling can also offer a dedicated time to reflect on relationship challenges and areas for improvement.

It's important to note that the success of relationship counseling depends on both partners’ willingness to learn. Couples counseling requires effort from both parties, and no one can be forced to try couples therapy if they do not want to. If your partner does not want to try couples therapy, you may want to research individual therapy instead. If you and your partner decide to give couples counseling a try, you may still experience some discomfort with discussing your relationship openly. But the more you and your partner practice the tools you learn in therapy, the easier it may become.

Determining The Cost

Couples' counseling costs can vary depending on the training, qualifications, and geographic location of your therapist. Some therapists specializing in marriage counseling charge more for couples work than they do for individual therapy because it requires specialized training. On average, couples counseling can range from around . Some health insurance may cover couples therapy, and many therapists offer a sliding scale rate or discounts when multiple sessions are purchased. Online therapy like BetterHelp may be a more affordable option for couples seeking help from a licensed therapist.

If weekly sessions are a financial strain, biweekly or monthly sessions may still be effective. You can still learn new tools and build a foundation of trust with a therapist that helps you both feel comfortable. The more you and your partner are willing to put in effort between sessions, the more you may see the benefits.

Couples counseling can be seen as an investment in your relationship, and you can inquire with therapists before your first session about costs, co-pays with your insurance (if covered), and discounts.

Online counseling can be a powerful option for couples because it may be less expensive than in-person therapy, and there are sometimes counselors available outside of typical office hours. In addition, you and your partner might be able to have a video session in the privacy of your own home. If you’re interested in online couples therapy, you might consider ReGain, BetterHelp’s sister platform for couples.

Takeaway

Couples therapy may be an effective form of therapy for your relationship because it can create a safe space to develop skills including communication, trust, goal planning, and conflict resolution. Speaking to a therapist can give you and your partner the chance to foster a healthy relationship that you both feel good about.

Though the cost for couples therapy varies considerably, online therapy may be more affordable than in-person therapy due to lower overhead costs for therapists.

Sources:

Drexler P. (2019). Millennials Are the Therapy Generation - WSJ

Durães, R. S. S., Khafif, T. C., Lotufo-Neto, F., & Serafim, A. de P. (2020). Effectiveness of Cognitive Behavioral Couple Therapy on Reducing Depression and Anxiety Symptoms and Increasing Dyadic Adjustment and Marital Social Skills: An Exploratory Study. The Family Journal, 28(4), 344–355. https://doi.org/10.1177/1066480720902410

Javadivala, Z., Allahverdipour, H., Asghari Jafarabadi, M. et al. Improved couple satisfaction and communication with marriage and relationship programs: are there gender differences?—a systematic review and meta-analysis. Syst Rev10, 178 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1186/s13643-021-01719-0

Johnson, S., & Hunsley, J., & Greenberg, L., & Schindler, D. (1999). Emotionally focused couples therapy: status and challenges. Clinical Psychology: Science and Practice, V6 N1, 70-73.

Kysely A., Bishop B., Kane R.T., McDevitt M., Palma M.D., Rooney R. (2022). Couples Therapy Delivered Through Videoconferencing: Effects on Relationship Outcomes, Mental Health and Therapeutic Alliance. Front. Psychol., https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2021.773030.

Potkewitz H. (2015). Can Your Relationship Handle a Trip to IKEA? - WSJ

Ravenscraft E. (2020). Why Talking About Our Problems Helps So Much (and How to Do It) - The New York Times (nytimes.com).

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