How Much Does Therapy Cost In 2024?

Medically reviewed by Melissa Guarnaccia
Updated February 19, 2024by BetterHelp Editorial Team

Paying for an online psychologist, therapy sessions, or mental health services can present a significant challenge for a variety of people. There are numerous things you can do to find effective therapy or other mental health care services, though it can feel challenging to know which mental health service to choose and how to envision the long-term process when it comes to cost. 

Mental health care and mental health disorders can be complex, showcasing the need for complex solutions. A mental health provider can work online or in person to offer support. Depending on your insurance plans and budget, online therapy can be a more budget-friendly choice for mental health care. 

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How much does therapy cost the average person? 

Finding a precise answer to "How much does therapy cost?" can be challenging, as the mental health industry can be complex. The average cost of a therapy appointment may depend on what type of therapy you receive, such as family or couples counseling, and whether your insurance even covers mental health therapy/treatment and therapist visits. Whether you attend in-person treatment or online treatment can also make a difference.

Consider the type of treatment you seek, the modalities therapists offer in your area, health insurance coverage plan coverages, and other benefits, such as employee assistance for mental health coverage or whether you qualify for coverage under the Affordable Care Act. 

It can be important to note that free therapy opportunities rarely exist, although some community mental health agencies and universities offer free services. Still, it can be possible to find low-cost options to address various mental health concerns.

How much does insurance affect the cost of therapy?

Different types of therapy and cost of therapy with insurance

The type of talk therapy that suits you might vary depending on what you look to achieve with your sessions. The type of counseling might also affect the price per session. All counselors should be licensed and have liability insurance plans. As part of their licensing requirements, counselors may also have thousands of supervised clinical hours in the field. You can consider a few types of therapists, including the following. 

  • Group: Group therapists offer therapy to and oversee a group of clients to teach a therapeutic modality, offer support, or discuss common symptoms. The therapist should serve as a leader and facilitates a medically reviewed discussion. The group then talks through their challenges with one another while the counselor monitors the conversation. Group therapy or counseling can be beneficial, as it allows individuals to socialize and find connections with others, potentially reducing loneliness. Group therapy can be held in an office space or online.

  • Support groups: Support groups offer those with many similar life challenges the opportunity to provide insight to individuals who are going through what they experienced. Support groups differ from a group psychotherapy setting in that support groups may not be led by a licensed counselor and could allow group participants to offer support or advocacy for one another. Support groups can allow individuals to work together to create a non-judgmental environment for health support.

  • Couples: Couples therapy may help those in a relationship resolve interpersonal conflicts and improve relationships. These therapy sessions often occur with both parties present. However, they can also be one-on-one sessions or a combination of both. Each therapy session might have a different rate. Unique therapy types, such as pre-marital counseling, may have different pricing than long-term couples counseling.

  • Marriage: Marriage counseling can help couples navigate and work through the ever changing dynamics of a relationship. Marriage counseling can help equip couples with the appropriate tools and communication skills to improve their marriage.

  • Individual: Individual therapists, counselors, and social workers usually support clients in understanding behavior, the influence of their environment, and how they interact with their surroundings. This study of behavior might help you identify why you are experiencing specific thoughts or behaviors. Individual therapy can break down into many types of therapy, such as cognitive behavioral therapy, art therapy, dialectical behavior therapy, and more.

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If you are struggling with substance use, contact the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) National Helpline at (800) 662-4357 to receive support and resources.

How much do different types of therapy cost on average? 

Therapy type (can affect pricing)How much the average therapy session with no health insurance 
In-person psychotherapist$100
Psychiatrist$100-$200
Couples therapy$70-$250
BetterHelp$65 to $90 per week (session price dependent on location, billed every four weeks)
Affordability: What to consider with the cost of therapy

Affordability: What to consider with the cost of therapy

Depending on the type of therapy, the average price can vary based on a number of factors that go into providers determining their rate. Support groups are many times free, whereas therapy groups with counselors may require a fee. Many times, group therapy is a more affordable therapy than individual therapy, as the therapist can divide the price between multiple clients. Treatment programs like rehabilitation or long-term retreats may cost much more than regular group therapy. Whether or not the provider can accept insurance, and whether they can accept your insurance plan specifically, may also impact the cost.

Some therapy programs determine payments by the length of the session, and these programs can differ in rates. Depending on the therapist and what therapists charge in your area, a 60-minute session may cost the same or more than a 45-minute session. Inquire about the rates and options at every clinic, practice, or online venue you seek out.

Factors that can influence the cost of therapy & mental health treatment

Types of mental health professionals: What are your options when seeking a qualified mental health professional?

The cost of therapy required from you may vary depending on the type of therapy you choose and the specialty and continuing education of the therapist you are seeing. Another factor to consider is the number of sessions you hope to schedule throughout the year. If you are looking for medication management within your mental health treatment plan, this service could also impact the cost of the session. Note that psychiatrists are the only mental health professional that can offer medication prescription or management. 

Sliding scale options: Is it different from insurance? 

After an initial session, some counselors may let their patients pay on a sliding scale system or sliding scale therapy, allowing discounted sessions based on income. For example, according to a sliding scale payment plan, you may only pay half of the typical price if your income falls under a certain threshold. Sliding scale fees can help many individuals afford mental health services. In many practice settings, counselors can decide their cost for therapy, and some counselors hope to support under-resourced individuals by offering easy options. In some cases, therapists choose to offer their services at reduced costs.

Some clients may look for providers that offer free or low-income-based therapy options. Check with the provider or local community mental health clinics to learn more about your options.

Flexible scheduling options for your psychotherapy appointments 

If money is an issue, flexible scheduling could allow you to get the support you seek from a potential therapist. For example, a qualified therapist may agree to see you once every other week instead of every week. They might offer half-sessions, so you can connect for a short time, or give the option of several sessions for a set fee.

Where you live

A licensed therapist's availability of mental healthcare may depend on where you reside. Community mental health services can vary as well as their cost. For example, you may find that counselors in the Midwest charge less for their services than those on the East or West Coast. Depending on where you live, online mental health counseling can be an affordable therapy alternative option.

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Resources: Alternatives to seeing an in-person therapist

Resources: Alternatives to seeing an in-person therapist

Perhaps you feel unsure about attending therapy in person or which resources to use to locate a provider. Trying to find a therapist can feel stressful, and you may already feel apprehensive about sharing the details of your mental health affairs with a stranger face-to-face. However, there are alternative options to traditional in-person psychotherapy. If you are wondering how much therapy costs, consider looking into virtual therapy. Virtual therapy can be a valuable option for those looking to preserve their budget. 

Online therapy services have been proven as effective in treating many mental health concerns or conditions as in-person psychotherapy, and there may be positive benefits to receiving virtual support. Due to reductions in overhead costs, online treatment rates are often more expensive than the average cost for in-person therapy. BetterHelp is $65 to $90 per week. The rate may be higher based on:

  • individual preferences

  • location

  • therapist/therapy availability 

If for some reason you do not have the financial means for mental health care, you can also apply for financial aid to help pay for therapy session rates.

Learning the cost of therapy and how to fit it into your budget can be crucial, whether you’re living with a mental illness or looking for support in improving your problem-solving skills. If these costs seem high to you, talk to patient services at your insurance provider. You also might be able to count treatment towards your deductibles or get help with out-of-pocket costs to cover mental healthcare.

Takeaway

Therapy can address mental health conditions, stress, life changes, worries, and other challenges. However, some forms of treatment can be expensive and come with a high price tag. Virtual therapy with an online platform may allow an affordable and convenient way to integrate therapy into your life.

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