How Much Does Therapy Cost? Is It Covered By Insurance?

by Nick Versaw Updated December 23rd, 2021

How much does therapy cost: Woman in counseling

Congratulations! You’re taking a giant step in the right direction by asking, “How much does therapy cost?” And you’re not alone — since the pandemic began, over 30% of adults sought mental health treatment for the first time. 

Mental health includes your emotional, social, and psychological well-being. It determines how you think, feel, and behave. And it shows how well you handle stress. Maintaining your mental health is an important part of living a healthy life. If you’re considering therapy, the last thing you need to worry about is money. Fortunately, there are affordable options available. 

How Much Does Therapy Cost?

Therapy costs range between $55 and $320 per hour without insurance. The average is $187 per hour, increasing as you move outward toward the east and west coasts. 

If you have medical insurance to help pay for therapy, you will probably need to pay your coinsurance, which is a percentage of the contracted rate, or a copay which is a set amount that you pay at the time of service.

Some plans require you to pay a deductible before the insurance kicks in. If your insurance plan‘s deductible is $500, for instance, you’ll pay out-of-pocket until you meet that $500. The deductible begins again every calendar year. 

When checking to see if you have a deductible, be sure to ask whether it covers both physical and mental health. And to avoid penalties, make sure you choose an in-network provider if your plan requires it.

How Much Does Teletherapy Cost?

Studies show that teletherapy is just as effective as in-person therapy. Teletherapy improves your access to mental health care by providing psychotherapy over video conferencing. Many teletherapy companies are subscription-based — you pay a monthly fee to have access to your therapist for a certain number of hours or sessions. 

Here are a few popular teletherapy providers: 

BetterHelp 

  • Sessions cost $60 to $80 per week
  • The world’s largest online therapy service provider
  • Therapy sessions by phone, video, live chat, and messaging
  • Cancel at any time
  • Unlimited messaging with your online therapist

Re-Gain

  • Sessions cost $60 to $80 per week
  • Couples and relationship counseling
  • Therapy sessions by phone, video, live chat, and messaging
  • Cancel at any time
  • Unlimited messaging with your therapist

Cerebral

  • Sessions cost $30 for the first month
  • Offers general therapy and psychological exams
  • Therapy sessions by phone or video

TalkSpace

  • Sessions cost $65 to $100 per week
  • General therapy
  • Therapy sessions by text, voice, and video

Pride Counseling

  • Sessions cost $60 to $80 per week
  • Specializes in LGBTQ+ issues
  • General therapy
  • Therapy sessions by text, voice, and video

Online therapy isn’t usually covered by your insurance company, but only your insurance company can tell you for certain. 

What’s the Difference Between Therapy and Counseling?

The difference between therapy and counseling is the scope. Therapy takes a deep dive into chronic emotional issues. Counseling helps you through specific situations, such as college and career, and costs between $75 and $200 per session. 

What’s the Difference Between a Life Coach and a Psychotherapist?

Man sits on couch in therapy

The difference between life coaching and therapy is that coaching is more goal-focused than psychotherapy. A life coach will help you:

  • Identify specific goals
  • Address any obstacles
  • Create a plan
  • Put the plan into action

Coaches can also help you make behavioral changes and then schedule accountability check-ins to maintain the changes. Some coaches are generalists in that they work with a wide variety of clients, while others are more specialized. 

According to NerdWallet, life coaches charge between $75 and $1,000 per hour. Insurance rarely covers life coaching, but can still be affordable. For instance, you can set the amount of money you want to spend, and the coach will design a program to fit your budget. 

How Much Does Therapy Cost by Provider Type?

Your therapist’s professional credentials can affect the average cost of therapy. Psychiatrists are the most expensive. The following rates are per hour:

  • Psychiatrists charge $300 to $500 
  • Psychologists charge $75 to $200
  • Licensed social workers charge $110 to $200
  • Licensed professional counselors charge $50 to $80

Low-Cost Mental Health Care

If you’re unemployed or otherwise can’t afford private practice rates, you may be able to get low-cost therapy through a community mental health clinic. In these clinics, counseling costs are based on a sliding scale fee, so you’ll never pay more than you can afford. 

If you are employed, you may have access to an employee assistance program. These programs are usually free to use if mental health issues or substance abuse are affecting your work performance. 

Most mental health services are eligible for reimbursement from your health savings account (HSA) or flexible spending account (FSA). Contact your health plan administrator to find out if your insurance provider covers these types of therapy.

Types of Individual Therapy

As you seek out therapy options, it’s helpful to know what type of therapy you want. Take a look at these common types so that when you research therapists, you can see if they offer the type you’re hoping for.

Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT): Experts say CBT is the most widely researched and useful form of psychotherapy. It’s effective for people with known disorders and for people with everyday issues they just need to talk through. 

CBT helps you sort out the relationship between what you think and feel and how you behave. You and your therapist will work on uncovering destructive patterns and practice new ways of thinking and reacting.

CBT is also a successful targeted therapy for patients who have the following mental illnesses:

  • Bipolar spectrum disorder
  • Anxiety
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Depression
  • Eating disorder

Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) focuses on regulating emotions. During DBT, you’ll learn new ways to cope and how to reframe potential hurtful events as they occur in a more manageable way. 

DBT teaches the RESISTT technique:

  1. Reframe your situation.
  2. Engage in distraction.
  3. Someone else (do something for someone else).
  4. Intensify sensations (hold an ice cube to your neck or underarm to feel a more intense sensation).
  5. Shut it out (go to a place that requires you to be quiet — like a library or church).
  6. Think neutral thoughts.
  7. Take a break. 

DBT is the therapy of choice for:

  • Borderline personality disorder (BPD)
  • Complex PTSD (CPTSD)

Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) therapy attempts to treat PTSD by using a series of eye movements while thinking about your trauma.

EMDR consists of eight phases. First, your therapist will decide which memory to trigger. As you’re processing the memory, your therapist will ask you to think about different aspects of the memory or event while at the same time following the therapist’s hand with your eyes. Similar to what happens during the REM state when you dream, scientists believe that your brain processes the traumatic memory in a new way. 

One example is that victims of sexual assault are able to transform traumatic feelings of fear, shame, and disgust into a feeling of triumph. 

EMDR is good for helping patients with:

  • PTSD
  • CPTSD

Exposure therapy (ET) exposes your triggers. The goal with ET is to replace unhealthy reactions with positive ones through a repeated and deliberate exposure in a safe environment. The goal is to integrate fear-inducing stimuli while keeping you from developing unhealthy responses like obsessive or compulsive behaviors.

ET treats:

  • PTSD
  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder

Interpersonal therapy (IT) focuses on social interactions and relationships with others. IT provides an environment in which to safely practice interpersonal skills. This type of therapy is often practiced in a group therapy setting.

IT treats:

  • Social anxiety disorder
  • Depression

What is Group Therapy?

Two people hug in the center of group therapy circle

Group therapy began after WWII as a way to help servicemen cope with mental and physical pain. Today, it is most often used in drug and alcohol addiction programs. It involves one therapist leading a group of patients. 

In group therapy, you learn to accept criticism, express yourself, hone your listening skills, build support, and develop self-awareness. A group therapy session can last 1 to 2 hours.

How to Find Low-Cost Therapy Near You

Mental health care is expensive, especially if you don’t have health insurance coverage. We believe that money shouldn’t get in the way of your health. There are ways to find affordable mental health services in your area. 

Currently the fastest way to get low-cost mental health services near you is to find your local Federally Qualified Health Center. These centers are government-funded and provide low-cost health services like therapy to community members who can’t afford to pay for services on their own.

Should you need other procedures, the Compare.com price shopping tool shows you what health care professionals in your area charge for thousands of medical procedures. 

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