By: Sarah Fader
Updated November 29, 2021
Medically Reviewed By: Kimberly L Brownridge , LPC, NCC, BCPC Counsel The Mind, LLC
Paying the typical price for counseling (or mental health therapist services) can be a major challenge for many people wondering, "how much does therapy cost?" Several mental health professionals provide counseling, and it can be difficult to know which one to choose and to see long term based on cost. You may only be familiar with traditional face-to-face. But there are many different types of mental health treatment and countless practitioners who provide counseling. You want to see a counselor, but can you afford it? It's an understandable concern. And you may be surprised at the answer.
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Is Online Therapy An Affordable Option?
We want to make virtual therapy affordable here at BetterHelp. Each type of practice helps you grow as a person. BetterHelp and our mental health counselors strive to make virtual therapy a pleasant and affordable experience, regardless of your medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. What's the price of therapy and what amount should you expect to pay, and how much is therapy generally? The cost of counseling ranges from $60 to $90 per week (billed every four weeks) but may be higher based on your preferences, location, and therapist availability.
In comparison, going to see an in-person counselor is priced at an average of $75-$150 per session. If that works for your budget and is the amount you were expecting to pay... you can browse the counselor's profiles and find one who works for your needs. Once you've selected the virtual counselor for your needs, it's up to them to determine if you're a client they can service.
How Much Does Therapy Cost? BetterHelp Therapy & Users
How much would therapy cost me? Therapy prices are $60 to $90 per week (billed every 4 weeks / monthly), but may be higher based on individual preferences, your location, and therapist availability. However, this is still cheaper than most traditional therapy that typically is priced between $75 and $200 per session or more.
Therapy Can Be Affordable And Convenient
You may be afraid of going to counseling and not know how or where to find health resources to locate a provider. Getting help for your mental health shouldn't be an added stressor. Virtual counseling can be an excellent option for people who care about their mental health and want to preserve their budget, even if their insurance doesn’t cover counseling virtually.
The Type Of Counseling Can Make The Difference
When you ask yourself, "What is the average cost of counseling?" it tends to be a question that can be hard to answer. The average price of therapy may depend on what type of counseling you get (family vs couples vs community mental health clinics) and if your insurance coverage from your insurance company covers it.
The average price of therapy can be hard to figure out unless you know what you want, and what comes with insurance plans like yours or other benefits like employee assistance for mental health coverage. If you're not sure about which, if any, of these resources are available to you... it might be a good idea to calculate the cost with insurance you would need to pay if you use the list of in network benefits & therapists available to you. Keep in mind that the therapy price with insurance is not always lower than working directly with a therapist at BetterHelp.
Common Counseling Types To Consider
The type of counselor you need will vary depending on what you are hoping to get from your counseling session. This also can affect the cost of therapy per session. Remember that all counselors need to be licensed and have liability insurance; also keep in mind that having experience hours is not something to overlook and is the industry standard. Here are some types of counselors and what they specialize in:
Group counselors: Group counselors see a collective of people who benefit from learning from one another. The counselor serves as a leader and facilitates a medically reviewed discussion. The group talks through their issues with one another while the group counselor monitors the conversation.
Support groups: Support groups give people with similar life challenges the opportunity to provide insight into individuals who are going through what they experienced. They differ from a group counselor setting in that they allow others, not only the person leading the group, to actively help. Support groups allow people to speak up and create a non-judgmental environment.
Couples counselors: Couples therapy or marriage therapy helps those in a relationship resolve interpersonal conflict and can profoundly improve relationships. These therapy sessions typically happen with both parties present. That being said, they can be continued individually or even a combination of both.
Counselors for children: A children's counselor treats youth who are 17 years or younger for mental health issues. They practice therapy that's specific to the child's age group and centered around particular issues that may arise during this developmental time.
Psychologists: Psychologists work to understand behavior and the influence of your environment and ways you interact with your surroundings. This study of behavior can help to identify why you have reactions and emotions to the things around you and the place that you currently are in.
Factors That Influence Cost & How
Some therapy programs charge by the length of the therapy session, and these therapy programs differ in rates. A 60-minute session may cost the same as a 45-minute session. A 60-minute session may cost less. It just depends. Ask a counselor about this. It can help with your cost estimates.
How Does Location Affect Price & How Much Is Therapy?
Your cost estimates for therapy for your health conditions can depend on where you live. Metropolitan areas may charge more for sessions and overall than rural areas because the cost to live in metropolitan areas may be a lot more in comparison to rural areas.
How Do Health Laws Affect Price?
There are many health laws that you can look into if you want to ensure that your insurance company complies. Here are some examples.
Mental health parity, or health parity. This happens when insurance networks are required to provide equal coverage to mental healthcare and substance abuse disorders. Many insurance providers offer parity, but sometimes, the quality may differ.
The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, shortened to the Affordable Care Act and also known as Obamacare, is a law that requires health insurance companies to cover mental health and substance abuse disorders.
Treatment Length With Therapists And Costs Of Therapy
Many factors can influence the cost of therapy. Below are some things that can influence what you may pay.
The Type Of Counseling You Choose
Depending on the type of therapy you choose - individual, couples, etc. - and the specialty of the therapist you are seeing, the cost may vary. Another factor to consider may be the number of sessions you are going to use throughout the year as this can affect the cost of working with a therapist as well.
Some counselors will let a client have a sliding scale fee, which means that they give you discounted sessions based upon your income. In many private practice settings, counselors can decide their rates for therapy, and many counselors don’t mind offering payment options for those who can’t afford traditional therapy.
If money may be a problem for you, flexible scheduling might be exactly what you need get the support you deserve from a potential therapist to start feeling better. The qualified therapist may agree to see you once every other week instead of every week. They might offer half-sessions so you can touch base for a short time or set number of sessions for a set fee and then re-evaluate the number of sessions needed again to help with therapy prices.
Where You Live Matters
The availability of mental health care from a licensed therapist depends on where you reside. Therapy prices can vary depending on location. For example, you may find that counselors in the Midwest charge are less for their services than those on the east or west coasts. It can also make a difference whether you live in a rural community or a large city. Virtual counselors may have lower prices of doing business, which can impact their fees considerably, making therapy affordable to many more people so they can choose a therapist best capable of helping them.
Therapy can be beneficial no matter where you are in life or what you're feeling. Unfortunately, mental health care can be expensive and navigating insurance policies can be tricky. Virtual therapy with BetterHelp is an affordable option that is easy to begin and convenient to integrate into your busy life.