How Much Does Couples Counseling Or Therapy Cost?

Updated January 17, 2023by BetterHelp Editorial Team

Many couples seek counseling to heal their families after trauma, to make positive changes in how they parent their children, and to deal with other challenges present in the relationship. While couples therapy can be highly beneficial to a couple’s connection with one another, some people may be uncomfortable seeking couples counseling for financial reasons. Although financial strain can be a barrier to receiving care, there are affordable options for individuals and couples who want to meet with qualified mental health care professionals. Whether in person or online therapy, therapists can help couples solve issues that they might be facing in their relationships.

Online Therapy Can Help Couples Overcome Relationship Struggles
The Cost Of Couples Counseling

How much does couples counseling cost? Couples counseling cost and marriage counseling costs can vary depending on how often you’d like to meet with a marriage counselor or couples counselor, whether you need someone specialized in a certain area, etc. Fees for each type of service can vary based on whether your health insurance will cover couples counseling and what any copays might be. Couples counseling cost and marriage counseling costs can also change depending on whether the provider accepts your insurance, or you are paying entirely out of pocket. Marriage counseling cost can also change if you’re getting care via a subscription service, in person, or in another format that has a different payment structure.

That being said, according to recent studies, the average counseling cost and marriage counseling cost for couples therapy in general per session in the United States is $100-$200. Still, there can be a wide range in the hourly fees charged for couples counseling. A marriage therapist might charge as little as $50 an hour, while others may charge as much as $250 or more for couples and marriage counseling costs.

While the majority of couples counseling sessions and marriage counseling sessions last one hour, some may be longer or shorter, with the costs adjusted by the hour. When you have your initial conversation with a potential marriage counselor or couples counselor, make sure you discuss whether the marriage counseling cost is per session or per hour, so that you know what to expect in terms of marriage counseling cost when you start couples therapy with them.

Some providers may offer a discount if you pay for a series of couples therapy sessions in advance. The number of sessions needed to get the discount may differ from provider to provider, as will the amount of the discount.

In addition, many mental health professionals provide a free initial consultation where you can decide whether you want to work together. Be sure to ask your potential marriage counselor or couples counselor whether they provide a free consultation for your first meeting.

If the expense of seeing a marriage counselor or couples counselor in person seems prohibitive, consider looking into alternatives such as a couples therapist with sliding scale rates that allow you to pay based on your income or online couples counseling that can make meetings more affordable. Seeing improvements in your relationships and mental health can make the expense of marriage counseling worth your while to work toward a healthy relationship.

Insurance And The Cost Of Therapy

Not every marriage therapist will accept insurance, and those that do accept insurance may only accept certain policies from specific providers. Some insurance policies do not cover mental health services or couples counseling at all. Therefore, it is necessary to do your research regarding your insurance options prior to investing in couples therapy.

Before you schedule a session with your therapist, you’ll want to find out what the couples therapist charges, whether they take your insurance, what your insurance will cover, and what copays there might be. Make sure the provider takes your specific insurance plan since these can vary even within the same insurance company; your provider may take one type of insurance from that company but not another.

It’s also important to find out whether the couples therapist will bill your insurance company directly or whether you’ll be responsible for paying the couples therapist up front and then submitting the paperwork to your insurer and getting reimbursed. If the provider doesn’t take your insurance, they may offer other options to help make couples therapy more affordable, such as spreading out the payments over an extended time to make it easier to afford.

Public Health Clinics

In the United States, public options may be more affordable than exclusive-practice couples therapy. Depending on your financial situation, you may qualify for low-cost or even free mental health services through various government agencies. 

Your local county government may have these kinds of resources, or you can consult federal resources such as the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) website to find an affordable clinic near you. You can call the relevant agency to find out what their policies are, what you can expect to pay, and how to connect with a licensed professional therapist whose services are covered by that agency.

Public health clinics often operate with a higher caseload than exclusive practices, although in either place you can find a licensed professional with experience in treating patients with issues similar to your own. Due to this higher caseload, you may find it difficult to make an appointment to get immediate treatment for mental health services with a public agency.

How To Choose A Mental Health Professional

Whether you choose to see a therapist at a public health clinic, have in-person appointments with someone in practice, or opt for online couples counseling through a website such as BetterHelp, it’s important to consider that all marriage and family therapists are not the same. Therapists have specialized skills for helping people in a wide variety of situations, such as for family therapy, couples therapy, or individual therapy. 

When choosing someone to work with, it’s essential to ask about their experience and training and to look for someone whose skills and experience match your needs. Your feelings about the person you will be working with are also an important part of making the experience successful, so it can be worth taking the time to find someone you are comfortable with.

With couples counseling, both partners need to feel comfortable and safe with the mental health professional they see. If something doesn’t feel right with one therapist, you might want to try someone else. Asking for a free consultation session can be an effective way to find out if the person is the right match for you and your partner.

What To Expect From Couples Counseling

At the start of your work with your therapist, you will be asked about the nature of the relationship problems you are experiencing in the relationship, such as intimacy issues, conflicts about child rearing, communication problems, or infidelity. You, your partner, and the therapist will usually then work out goals to work toward. You don’t need to know what these goals are before you start therapy; this is something you’ll often work out in your therapy sessions together. 

In some circumstances, one or both partners might benefit from having individual sessions in addition to meeting with the therapist together with their partner. This can allow them to work on their own personal issues that are affecting the relationship and work towards developing a more healthy relationship.

Your therapist can use a variety of techniques and tools to help you and your partner come to terms with your issues and to begin to work things out between you. One type of therapy in common use today is called Emotionally-Focused Therapy (EFT), which is a kind of therapy intended to help adults improve their relationships. According to the American Psychological Association, EFT has been shown to be 75% effective in improving couple relationships.

In cases where the relationship is abusive, substance use is involved, or the couple has already decided to separate, EFT is not recommended. Your therapist may use other techniques to help you weather the relationship problems you are facing.

If you are currently in danger because of an abusive relationship, help is available at the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE (7233). For immediate help with substance abuse issues, you can call the SAMHSA National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357).

Online Couples Counseling With BetterHelp

Interested in trying online couples counseling? BetterHelp is an online therapy platform providing a wide range of mental health professionals with an affordable marriage counseling cost. 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 for their marriage counseling cost. In addition to online couples counseling sessions, at BetterHelp you can also message your therapist for additional support or to ask questions. 

BetterHelp wants couples counseling to be affordable and convenient, whether for individual therapy or for couples counseling. Your relationship matters to the marriage counselor and couples counselor providers at BetterHelp, and they want to help you succeed. Online therapy with your couples counselor or marriage counselor also has certain benefits that you won’t find with traditional in-person meetings, such as the ability to speak with your therapist in the comfort of your own home, rather than having to travel to the therapist’s office.

The Efficacy Of Online Couples Counseling

Online couples counseling services can be a valid, affordable, and convenient alternative to traditional in-person couples counseling sessions and marriage counseling sessions. Studies have shown that online therapy can be just as effective as in-person sessions with a couples counselor. Researchers have found that web-based interventions can successfully manage several different kinds of mental health conditions, such as anxiety and depression. 

Takeaway

Couples counseling can be a powerful tool for couples who want to make improvements to their relationship. Working with a therapist, you and your partner can learn how to communicate more effectively, understand each other on a deeper level, and learn coping mechanisms to use during conflict. For couples with busy schedules who are finding it difficult to make it to an in-person couples counseling session, online couples counseling sessions can be a viable alternative.

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