One of the most common barriers that prevents people from deciding whether or not to participate in counseling is the cost of therapy. Some research this and are well aware of the costs, while others just assume that it will be expensive. Whether you have an abundance of money or not, your mental health is important. This article will discuss the importance of seeking out help when needed, and also will discuss alternatives for those who have financial problems.

Finances are an understandable concern. For some it should be more important in finding a therapist than for others. Research suggests that the most important factor to predicting counseling success is the quality of relationship between the client and the counselor. Therefore, if you can afford it, I would suggest not worrying as much about the cost, but more about how you feel with the therapist.

The costs of therapy can vary greatly. This depends largely on the intensity of what you are needing and the demographic area that you are in. If you are participating in individual counseling, costs are usually $90-150 per hour. Group counseling is often less expensive per session, but may or may not come as a bulk rate as part of a program. This most often is true of addiction or substance abuse based groups because these are considered to be whole programs with specific criteria that must be met before you can be considered successfully discharged.

The length of treatment is also important in considering therapy costs. This is best discussed with your individual therapist. Depending on the therapeutic orientation, your therapist may need more or less time. This is not to say that one is better than the other. Some people respond better to a longer term plan of treatment. In general, I would say that therapy typically lasts around 10-12 weeks.

If you are financially struggling, there are outside of the box options that you can consider. I would suggest you consider the following:
1. Call local counseling agencies to see if they have any interns who are looking to provide pro bono work. Counseling schools require that students complete a certain number of hours of work before they can graduate. States also usually require this for licensure. This may be an unadvertised service that is being offered by an agency.
2. Consider whether or not you are part of any specific niche groups and contact local agencies that support these groups. Do you have a medical diagnosis? Are you part of any minority groups? Are you part of the LGBT population?
3. Contact local agencies that are specific to helping particular problems. Many cities have a local agency for aging, substance abuse and mental health. Contact your local health and human services agency to find out if yours does as well.
4. Ask your doctor for ideas. Your physician, as well as his staff, may know of some low cost service that you can participate in.

No matter your financial situation, your mental health is important. Costs and personal finances often are considered before participating in therapy. All-too-often, money keeps people from participating in therapy, whether they can afford it or not. This article hopefully shed some light on therapy costs, and also name some alternatives for those who can’t afford to pay for therapy.

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