A therapy session without insurance can cost anywhere from $65 to over $250. The amount you pay depends on several factors, including the type of treatment and where you receive therapy.
If you don’t have insurance, you can still get free or low-cost mental health therapy. You can check with professional organizations or ask about services at local university clinics.
Ask your therapist about sliding-scale payment options and find out if there are resources at your job.
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The cost of therapy may be a concern if you don’t have insurance. But you should never avoid seeking care because you don’t have coverage. There are many resources that provide free or low-cost mental health services.
How much does therapy typically cost?
A therapy session without insurance costs anywhere from $65 to over $250 per hour, according to GoodTherapy. The amount you pay is based on the type of therapy and other factors. But, on average, expect to pay $100 to $200 for a 1-hour session in most parts of the country.
The American Psychological Association (APA) estimates it takes 15 to 20 sessions to see improvement from therapy. But most people see meaningful results over a longer period, like 20 to 30 sessions.
Generally, after the initial assessment, your therapist will make a treatment plan. For example, they may recommend 20 sessions. If each session is $150, your total costs would be about $3,000. If you need additional sessions that will increase your out-of-pocket costs.
It’s a good idea to discuss treatment length with your therapist to help you be better prepared and make the most of each session.
What factors affect the cost of therapy?
Without insurance, expect to pay the full cost of treatment. However, your total costs depend on many factors such as:
Treatment type: Individual, couples therapy, and group therapy may have different fees. Specialized services, like treatment with a psychiatrist, cost more.
Therapist’s expertise: A highly trained therapist with many years of experience may charge more than one with less experience.
Therapist’s specialty: Treatment with a therapist specializing in a specific or challenging mental health condition may be more expensive.
Therapist’s reputation: It may cost more to receive treatment from a highly regarded specialist who’s in demand.
Location of therapy: Treatment fees are usually higher in cities with higher living costs.
Treatment length: A 15-session treatment may cost less than a 30-session one.
Online vs. in-person therapy: Virtual therapy is often cheaper than in-person sessions.
Are there affordable therapy options without insurance?
If you don’t have insurance — or you find out your insurance doesn’t cover the therapy you’re seeking — there are many programs that make therapy and mental health services more accessible. Some options may even be free.
Check your local social services
Your state’s department of public health or county government is a good starting point. They can connect you with community-based clinics near you that offer free or low-cost mental health services. Visit their website and search for the health services department.
Contact professional organizations
The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) has a helpline 1-800-950-NAMI (6264) that offers information and resources in your area. . NAMI also has a crisis text line where you can connect with a trained counselor around the clock. Text the word “NAMI” to 741741.
You can also try contacting Mental Health America to access affordable community mental health services. Use the affiliate locator option to find a mental health professional near you.
Seek services at a university clinic
University hospitals and medical schools often have programs that give you access to therapists in training for free or at a low cost. Call a university or college near you to ask. Or search their website for their social work, psychology, or psychiatry departments, which can offer more information.Some schools also research specific mental health diagnoses. If a school near you is researching your diagnosis, you can enroll in a study and get free care like therapy and medications.
Look for nonprofit options
Open Path Psychotherapy Collective, a nonprofit organization, helps you find therapists who provide affordable mental health services. Once you pay a $59 lifetime membership fee, you can schedule an appointment with a therapist for $30 to $60 per session. Costs vary by state and mental healthcare provider.
Another option for free and low-cost mental health clinics is the National Association of Free & Charitable Clinics (NAFC). Enter your zip code in the search function on their site to find a list of clinics that offer mental health services near you.
Explore employee assistance programs
Some employers provide access to free mental health benefits through an employee assistance program (EAP). Look through your employee handbook or contact your human resources department for more information on your EAP benefits.
Keep in mind there is usually a limit to the number or amount of free EAP benefits an employee can receive each year. If you reach your limit, ask about discounted out-of-pocket rates to continue your care with a mental health care professional.
Ask about disability benefits
A chronic or severe mental illness that makes it impossible to work may make you eligible for disability benefits. These benefits do not automatically include healthcare coverage. But they may help you obtain coverage through Medicare, including Medicare’s mental health benefits, even if you’re not yet 65 years old.
Negotiate the rate
Private therapists may be willing to adjust their fees to meet your needs. Ask about discounts or sliding-scale payment options. Sliding scale is a pricing structure where your cost is based on your income. So, if you’re struggling financially, your session costs might be significantly lower.
In some situations, you may be able to do shorter sessions. Ask your therapist if a 30-minute session at half the cost is appropriate for you.
Consider group therapy
Group therapy offers a great way to access licensed professionals without paying the full fee of an individual session. Some mental health support groups are free.
Use the GoodRx Telehealth Marketplace to find affordable online therapy
Online therapy is a great option for those who prefer to conduct their appointment virtually. Plus, it’s often more affordable. Using the GoodRx Telehealth Marketplace, you can find a provider and schedule an appointment in a matter of minutes. Appointments typically start at $45. There’s no waiting room, no paperwork, and no insurance required.
Should I consider Medicaid for assistance with mental health services?
Yes. If you qualify for Medicaid, you’ll have access to some mental health services and behavioral treatment options like:
Substance use disorder treatment
Each state manages its own Medicaid program. This means that the eligibility and benefits can vary widely. For example, some states will offer many services, including:
Partial hospitalization programs
Below are some other organizations that can connect you with free or low-cost mental health help.
The bottom line
Our mental health is an important part of our well-being. And having access to mental health care helps promote a better quality of life. If you’re uninsured, there are many ways to access free or affordable therapy. Don’t avoid seeking mental health treatment because you think you can’t afford it.
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Therapy treats various mental health concerns and behavioral issues via communicating and skill-building with a qualified mental health professional. The cost of seeing a therapist depends on the number of sessions you book, your location, if your therapist charges per hour or session, and more. On average, a therapy session costs between $60 to $120 for an hour-long session for those who do not have health insurance.
Mira offers affordable telebehavioral health for copays as low as $15. Members also get access to essential healthcare such as urgent care, lab testing, and more. Sign up today.
The Cost of Therapy
If you do not have health insurance, the cost of seeing a therapist can vary based on where you reside. For example, if you visit a therapist in New York or Los Angeles, the average rate for therapists can be about $250 per hour. Below is a table that shows the median therapy session rates for those without health insurance within different states.
The Cost of Therapy Based on Location
LocationMedian Therapy Session Rates Without InsuranceFlorida$90 or belowMichigan$90 or belowCalifornia$120Alabama$120Oregon$120Alaska$150 or aboveIowa$150 or above New Jersey$150 or aboveHawaii$150 or above
The Cost of Therapy at Different Clinics
The table below summarizes costs for 50 minutes to hour-long individual therapy sessions in specific clinics throughout the United States.
LocationAverage Cost of Individual Therapy Session Without InsuranceTherapy Group of NYC in New York City, NY$350Boston Evening Therapy Associates in Boston, MA$165Westside Psychotherapy in Madison, WI$165Good Therapy in San Francisco, CA$205Springs Therapy LLC in Colorado Springs, CO$120
Factors that Influence the Cost of Therapy
Most individuals spend between $60 to $120 on average for an hour-long session. Given this range, most therapists charge an average rate of $90 per hour. However, various factors impact this cost, such as sliding scale therapy, the type of therapist you see, and the type of therapy session you are attending.
Sliding Scale Therapy
A unique factor that impacts therapy rates is whether or not an individual qualifies for sliding scale therapy. If a therapist’s standard rate is $100 per hour, yet you make less than a certain amount of income each year, you could obtain hour-long therapy sessions for a price as low as $50. Every practice and therapist has their own set of sliding scale fees that can help those with fewer resources who still seek some form of therapy.
To find out if you qualify for sliding scale therapy, try contacting the clinic you are interested in. Through this, they will be able to work one-on-one with you to concoct a payment plan based on your needs. Additionally, if you have health insurance, it can be cheaper for you to pay for your therapist out of pocket with a sliding scale fee than utilizing your health insurance.
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Type of Specialist
There are a variety of specialists available with different niche backgrounds that offer therapy sessions. For example, a psychiatrist is a doctor qualified to treat psychological and physical symptoms related to mental health conditions. A psychologist is not a medical doctor; however, most psychologists have their Ph.D. and offer different evidence-based therapy options to their patients.
Additionally, a counselor is an individual who can help treat and offer insight into various mental health conditions. Still, they are typically overseen by a registered psychologist and have a minimum of five years of experience. Lastly, a psychotherapist utilizes talk therapy to treat people with emotional and mental problems. Below is a list of average costs per type of specialist.
Cost of Therapy Based on Specialist
Type of SpecialistAverage Cost Per Session Without Health InsurancePsychiatrist$100 — $200Psychologist$70 — $150Counselor$20 — $80Psychotherapist$100 — $300
Different Types of Therapy Sessions Costs
Take a look at this table below for the average costs of different forms of therapy.
Type of TherapyAverage Cost Per Session Without Health InsuranceIndividual Therapy$70 — $150Group Therapy$30 — $80Couples Therapy$70 — $250Marriage Counseling$70 — $250Depression Therapy$100 — $250Sex Therapy$100 — $200Art TherapyFree — $100Grief Counseling$70 — $150Anger Management $50 — $150Cognitive Behavioral Therapy$100 — $200
The Importance of Visiting a Therapist
Around 450 million people, one in four individuals, suffer from mental health disorders that impact their daily lives. However, only about 40% of individuals with a mental health disorder seek treatment. In today’s world, especially given the social isolation that the pandemic has posed on us and the age of social media, these mental health problems have begun to impact more and more individuals of younger ages.
Therapy serves as an outlet to taking steps in bettering one’s mental health. In therapy, individuals are taught skills to address symptoms on their own. Because of this, research has shown that the benefits of therapy outlast the benefits of medication alone.
When to Visit a Therapist
When considering visiting a therapist, it is important to remember that seeing a therapist can be the first step on the path of self-care. Some common signs may indicate seeing a therapist would be beneficial, such as:
- It isn’t easy to regulate your emotions. At times in life, you may feel hit with a flood of different emotions: anger, sadness, anxiety, and more. It is important to note how often you feel these bursts of emotions and how intensely you feel them. Through consulting with a therapist, you can learn to be vulnerable and identify deeper issues at the root of these feelings.
- Your work or school performance is declining. With this metric, individuals experiencing a tough time performing well in school/work could also be fighting some emotional or mental challenges, as these issues can impair concentration, memory, and energy. Meeting with a therapist could help you learn how to manage stress better and learn more ways to solve it actively.
- It is difficult for you to build and maintain relationships. Mental health can impact our relationships by prompting us to be more insecure or make us want to slowly back away from others around us. Additionally, it cannot be easy to cultivate or create new relationships. By visiting a therapist, you can enhance your social skills, which will enable you to feel more comfortable with building solid relationships around you.
- You are grieving. Grieving can be a slow, drawn-out process, especially if you do not have anyone to share the grief with. Through visiting with a therapist, you will be provided with a comfortable space to openly discuss your emotions and learn how to better cope with the grief.
- You hope to improve certain qualities within yourself but don’t know where to start. Therapy can allow you to see certain traits within yourself and identify tough points that you didn’t even know were present. By better understanding yourself, you can learn how to better interact in certain situations and impact others.
After deciding that you would like to seek a therapist, you can work together with your therapist to devise a plan about how long or often you would like to meet with them. On average, individuals who visit a therapist will go once a week for 45 minutes. Therapy sessions are most effective if you go 12 to 16 times for 45 minutes per session.
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Therapy Cost Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
To better understand what a therapy session entails and what to expect to gain out of one, look at these commonly asked questions revolving around therapy below.
What should I look for in a therapist?
Finding a therapist you feel comfortable with is critical to ensuring that you benefit and get the most out of your therapy sessions. When deciding what therapist to look for, the first question is: what do you want to get out of therapy? Do you want to process grief? Or are you looking for tips to conquer stress?
After evaluating these questions, consider gathering recommendations from close friends and family, as they are individuals who know you best. Additionally, some factors to consider when looking for a therapist are the amount of training a therapist has, whether or not the therapist is in-network with your insurance, and the level of specification you want to be covered in your therapy sessions.
Can I see a therapist virtually?
Given the circumstances throughout this past year especially, individuals have been able to meet with therapists virtually. Because of this online nature, individuals can choose which therapist they would like to see. If they reside in Los Angeles but have a therapist elsewhere, they can meet online and have sessions virtually.
Why should I meet with a therapist?
Therapy can help with various outlets within your life. By meeting with a therapist, you will be able to destress and truly reflect on your life to see what you would like to be improved or what is causing you stress. A therapist can also offer guidance and advice on healing processes, everyday life situations, and they can help you keep your mental health in check.
Overall, therapy can be a significant and worthwhile expense. Your mental health impacts so many aspects of your everyday life, from your physical health to how you maintain your relationships. Thus, it is essential to maintain your mental health. Through meeting with a therapist, you can heal, process, reflect and receive guidance on how to live your healthiest life.