Finances can be difficult to talk about especially when looking for a counselor. There are many factors which might cause people difficulty in seeking counseling and financial considerations play into that decision. As a Counselor my anxiety elevates slightly at even writing a post about money.
In seeking and starting the counseling process you are making an investment in yourself. You are investing in your present life and your future life. Some of the factors in which make entering counseling difficult is the investment of time, energy, and finances. Counseling has different models and some people struggle with how long it might take. For some short term counseling works well and clients meet their desired goals. Some individuals set therapy goals in which they commit a longer space of time in their life to work through some of their goals. You do not have to work on every goal when you enter counseling. You can work with your counselor and decide on what you want and need when you enter counseling.
Counseling services are available for every life stage and every budget.
Here are a few ways people pay for counseling services.
Self pay is where you pay out of pocket for the expense of counseling. Prices can range depending on if your therapist uses a sliding scale. A sliding scale is where a counselor bases fees on the clients income. This is not a guarantee of prices but I have seen in research prices from 90 to 250 an hour for therapy.
Some individuals would like to use their health insurance while others prefer not to use health insurance for various reasons. Some providers are in network and others are out of network. Some counselors only use a self pay model. At my office if people want to use their insurance I have my biller verify benefits and let my clients know their copay amounts. Copays range from 0 to 50.00. Whoever you use you can check with them to see what is covered and what services are not covered.
There are some agencies or businesses who offer scholarships or reduced rate fees. This takes some research and can have waiting lists. Check with your local church, community mental health clinic. If you are a College Student some Universities have free or reduced rate counseling.
Some employers offer employees Employee Assistance Programs. You can qualify in some instances for 6 free sessions with a provider. Check with your work Human Resources.
- Self-Pay part 2
Some providers have discounted rates for extenuating circumstances. If there is a provider you want to work with call them and ask. The answer is always no if you do not ask, but you might be surprised and be able to connect to resources.
Now that we looked at a few ways to pay for counseling here is the other side. Why does counseling cost so much?
Licensed Professional Counselors (LPC) in the state of Tennessee are required to obtain at least 60 credit Masters Degree with certain coursework and practicum and internship requirements. Licensed Professional Counselors are required at least two years post graduate work with an Approved Supervisor. LPC take three licensure tests and are required to continue Continuing Education. The education and training needed is extensive. Also your session rate is for the time you are in the room and then for the time counselors spend on research, documenting, and other required work for the session. Some counselors spend for every hour with a client two additional hours. While that number depends on the type of therapy your counselor does it does account for the time involved with providing good quality care for you the client.
The financial aspect is one part of counseling. Investing in your health and life can be hard to measure if you are getting benefit. You can always talk to your counselor if you have concerns about finances. The rate may not change but creating conversations about this may even help other aspects of your life!