How Much Should You Pay for Therapy?

3 minutes Written by Mental Health Match & Reviewed by C. Adamo, PhD

Budget can be a big consideration when choosing a therapist. A more expensive therapist isn’t necessarily a better therapist or even the right fit for you. What’s most important is that you are able to weigh your options accordingly.

What determines a therapist’s cost?

There are a lot of variables when it comes to the cost of therapy. A therapist’s degrees, specialization, location, and years of experience can all affect the price of therapy. 

Some therapists take insurance and some do not. Often people assume that using insurance will make therapy more affordable, but depending on your benefits, co-pays, and deductibles, that’s not always the case. Furthermore, most insurances do not cover all types of therapy, such as couples therapy. Many therapists offer on a sliding scale because dealing with insurance companies can be very difficult for both clients and practitioners. 

Working with a therapist outside your insurance has advantages. Most notably, it opens up your search for the right fit. Therapy is sometimes most effective as a longer term, trusting relationship. Even if your insurance changes, you are able to stay with the same practitioner. Additionally, some insurance plans have out-of-network benefits that can help offset a cash-pay cost.  HSA and FSA accounts can also help cover therapy costs before taxes.

Calculating Total Cost

In order to figure out what the cost of different therapists will be, start by estimating how many sessions you’ll need and how long you anticipate being in therapy. Keep in mind however, that sometimes that estimate 

It’s important to consider your insurance deductibles, co-pays, co-insurance and out-of-network benefits if using insurance. These factors can create a big swing in what the actual cost of therapy might be.

For example, if you have a $2500 deductible, and then 30% coinsurance after that deductible, you’ll have to spend $2500 before your insurance pays for therapy. If you are planning to be in therapy shorter-term, whether you pay out-of-pocket or use your insurance might not matter at all. However, if you are planning to see a therapist for a year, and have a low deductible, staying in-network could be the most affordable option. 

It also matters when you start therapy and when your deductible resets. If your deductible resets in January and you start therapy in November, you may end up paying against one deductible, and then having it reset soon thereafter. When using insurance, it can be helpful to consider therapy in the context of other medical expenses as those will apply to your deductibles as well.

Making Your Choice 

The relationship between a therapist and a client is the most important factor when measuring the positive outcomes of people in therapy. Taking the time to consider which therapist feels right both emotionally and financially will set your therapy experience up for success.  

Only you know your budget, but therapy can be one of the best investments you’ll ever make. Therapy can even have a physical impact on your health when it decreases stress or depression. It can also help you succeed more in your career or chosen passions. The happier and more confident in yourself you are, the more fulfilled, productive and content it’s possible to be overall.

Avatar Mental Health Match
C. Adamo, PhD

Written by Mental Health Match & Reviewed by C. Adamo, PhD

Mental Health Match is building the best place to find therapeutic care. Use our matching tool to instantly discover the therapists who meet your needs.