How Much Does Couples Counseling Cost?

Medically reviewed by Arianna Williams, LPC, CCTP
Updated June 28, 2024by BetterHelp Editorial Team
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Many couples seek marital counseling to heal their families after trauma or difficulties in life, to make positive changes in how they parent their children, and to deal with other challenges that come up in the course of a relationship. While couples therapy, including online 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 therapy, 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 they might face in their relationships. Discovering "couples therapy near me" may bring you one step closer to a happier relationship.

Online therapy can help couples overcome relationship struggles

How much is couples counseling?

How much is couples therapy? Couples counseling cost and marriage counseling costs can vary depending on several factors, including 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 relationship counseling and what any copays might be. Couples counseling cost and marriage counseling costs can also change depending on whether the therapist accepts your insurance, or you are paying entirely out of pocket. Marriage counseling costs can also change if you’re getting care via a subscription service, in person, or in another format that has a different payment structure. If you don't have the budget, you may opt for free marriage counseling online.

How much does marriage counseling cost? 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.

While the majority of relationship counseling sessions and marriage counseling sessions last one hour, some may be longer or shorter, with the costs adjusted by the hour. As you seek counseling and 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 hour, so that you know what to expect in terms of marriage counseling cost when you start couples therapy with them.

Some therapists 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 for marriage counseling techniques may differ from therapist to therapist, as will the amount of the discount.

In addition, many marriage counselors 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. This can save you more money if you can't find free relationship counseling online.

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 therapy more affordable. Seeing improvements in your relationships and mental health can make marriage counseling worth your while and help a couple to work toward a healthy relationship.

How much does therapy cost with insurance?

Not every marriage therapist will accept insurance, and those that do accept insurance may only accept certain policies from specific providers. Most insurance companies offer some coverage for therapy; however, some insurance policies do not cover therapy or couples counseling at all. Therefore, it is necessary to do your research regarding your insurance options before investing in couples therapy. Most insurance companies outline their policies on their website or allow you to call a helpline to learn more coverage information.

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 therapist takes your specific insurance plan since these can vary even within the same insurance company; your therapist 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 to get reimbursed. If the therapist 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.

How much is therapy: Public health clinics or insurance in my area

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

These public health clinics often operate with a higher caseload than exclusive practices, although in either place you can find a licensed therapist 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 therapeutic treatment for mental health services with a public agency.

How to choose a mental health counselor

Whether you choose to see a therapist at a public health clinic, have in-person therapy 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 family therapy, couples therapy, or individual therapy. 

When choosing a therapist to work with, it’s essential to ask about their experience and training and to look for a therapist whose skills and experience match your needs. Your feelings about the therapist 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 a therapist 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 a different therapist. Asking for a free consultation session can be an effective way to find out if the therapist 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 sex life and intimacy issues, conflicts about child rearing, communication problems, consistent arguments over the same things, 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 couples 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 therapy sessions in addition to meeting with the therapist together with their partner. This can allow them to work on their personal life issues that are affecting the relationship and work towards developing a more healthy relationship.

Your therapist can use a variety of couple counseling 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 is 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.

Online couples counseling with BetterHelp

"I can't find couples counseling near me, what can I do?" If you're having a hard time looking for face-to-face counselors you might want to try couples or relationship counseling online. BetterHelp is an online therapy platform providing a wide range of mental health professionals with affordable marriage counseling costs. Many of these therapists specialize in couples counseling. BetterHelp services cost between $65 and $100 per week (based on factors such as your location, referral source, preferences, therapist availability and any applicable discounts or promotions that might apply) to have sessions with a qualified therapist. In addition to online couples counseling sessions, at BetterHelp you can also message your therapist for additional support or to ask questions. 

BetterHelp wants therapy to be affordable and convenient, whether for individual therapy or couples counseling. Your relationship matters to the marriage counselor and couples counselors 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 therapy. One of the benefits of online couple counseling is the ability to speak with your therapist in the comfort of your own home, rather than having to travel to the therapist’s office.

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Online therapy can help couples overcome relationship struggles

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 therapy 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 and their life in general. Working with a licensed therapist with a master’s degree or higher, 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. So, if you're someone who has a hard time looking for "premarital counseling near me" or "couples counseling near me", doing it online might be the solution for you.

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