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How Much Should You Spend on Therapy?

We believe that whatever you spend on therapy, you are investing in your mental health. It used to be that only people “with big problems” go to therapy. However, more and more people are investing in their mental health by working with a therapist. Research suggests that about 8% of Americans struggle with depression and about 80% of those with depression experience difficulties that affect their work life and relationships. Anxiety Disorders are even more common than depression, with about 19% of Americans experiencing anxiety symptoms each year.

Luckily, there is decreasing stigma as people are leaning into the power of therapy and prioritizing their wellness, relationships, and mental health. As you think about investing in your own mental health, you might be wondering how much working with a therapist or counselor will cost you. Beyond that, you may wonder how much you should spend on therapy. Therapy cost can be a barrier to receiving adequate care, but cost will depend on an individual’s need as well as how they hope to benefit.

The following article discusses ways to pay for therapy, as well as expectations about the cost for services available to you right here in Walnut Creek or online across California.

What are you expecting from therapy?

First, you should have an idea for why you are seeking therapy. The answer to this question will help guide the answers to the others we’ve listed below. Some questions you might consider are:
  • What do you want help with?
  • What is not working for you in your life right now?
  • Where are you seeing yourself struggle most?
  • How long have you been dealing with this problem?
A therapist will help you set expectations for your treatment including how long it may take for you to see changes in your life. Some issues take longer than others to sort through, and in reality, people’s problems are as complex as their lives.

How long will therapy take?

The long and short answer to this question is this: the length of treatment will vary depending on the nature of your problem. A therapist will help assess your symptoms and history, and help you articulate the problem you are experiencing so that you can be on the same page about your treatment plan.
Still, it may be beneficial if you have an understanding of whether you are looking for:
  • More skills to use to help you deal with stress
  • You are looking for a non-judgmental space from which to talk out your problems and receive support
  • You are looking for actionable steps to take to work on your marriage or relationship
  • You are looking for care in working through a deeper issue or unhelpful pattern in your life
  • You are looking for a combination of the above

How much does therapy cost?

The cost of therapy typically ranges from $100 to $200 a session, with more expensive and urban cities usually charging the highest rates. Many times, insurance will cover your therapy sessions, or, they may reimburse you for services if your counselor is out of network. However, you may want to check with your healthcare provider on their policy for reimbursement.

Some other payment policies that you should be aware of include cancellation policies that require full or partial payment for missed or canceled sessions and therapy offices that require a credit card kept on file for this reason.
a woman sits at her computer researching how much she can expect to spend on therapy

What if my therapy isn’t covered by insurance?

Sometimes, insurance doesn’t cover your counseling services, or your therapist is out-of-network. In these cases, your therapy services will be charged out of pocket or what is called “cash pay”. In some cases, counselors may sometimes provide a sliding scale fee. This is a reduced rate for a certain number of sessions in order to help those with financial difficulty. You may also ask your therapist for a superbill, which is essentially a receipt of services which you can submit to your insurance carrier for reimbursement. Reimbursement is not guaranteed, however.

Are there any benefits to private pay for therapy?

Here at Aspire Neuropsych, we accept a limited number of insurance carriers. This is intentional, as we believe that there are a great many benefits to using private pay for therapy.

  1. Your care needs are not dictated by insurance companies meaning you have more flexibility in terms of the length of treatment and clinician you work with
  2. Private pay sessions and associated paperwork is not managed by a regulatory body, which means more privacy for you
  3. A secondary benefit of this is that you will not have a mental health disorder diagnosis on your medical record (which is required by insurance for treatment reimbursement)
  4. With private pay, we will also have the ability to work on non-psychiatric issues, such as how to cope with life changes, increasing personal insight, and working on relationship issues.

So, how much should you spend on therapy?

Choosing to invest in therapy involves several considerations. In addition to how much time you will invest and how much money you will spend, it might also be helpful to reflect on the benefits you will reap from spending energy focused on your personal goals. Therapy is a place where you can share anything about your life, with someone who is trained to see the bigger picture of what you are struggling with, all while providing an empathic and non-judgmental space. While some may say that therapy is the same as talking with a friend, counselors actually undergo years of training in assessment, diagnosis, treatment planning, and case conceptualization, along with hours of direct clinical experience. They bring high value skills to your time together, to best support you in your treatment and goals.
Mental health is no less important than your physical health. Choosing to begin therapy is a decision that involves consideration of both financial investment and benefits to your well being. While upfront cost could be significant, it is likely that you have plans available to you in order to get the support you need.

If you’re ready to begin your therapy process, contact us today to get started with personalized therapy for you.