- Therapy sessions in the U.S. are estimated to cost between $100-$200.
- Through insurance, research has found the average cost of sessions to be $21.
- If you can’t afford therapy and don’t have insurance, there are strategies to find lower-priced care.
Many people benefit from therapy, and more would if not for a very practical concern: price. The average cost of therapy in the United States is not known precisely, but most clinicians’ rates fall between $100 and $200.
For those with insurance, the cost of mental health care is often less, though the cost will depend on the specifics of your insurance plan and whether you see an in-network or out-of-network mental healthcare provider.
Many people without insurance, or those paying out of pocket, will have to pay full price. Nevertheless, there are some strategies and tips that may be able to help you find or negotiate lower-cost treatment.
The cost of therapy varies internationally. In Canada, mental healthcare may not always be covered under the country’s publicly-funded “Medicare” system. The cost of therapy there varies, but a general estimate is between $75 and $200 (Canadian dollars).
In the United Kingdom, mental health care is covered under the National Health Service, but some people buy supplemental health coverage or pay out of pocket so that they don’t have to wait for care. Estimates of a therapy session there range from £50-£150.
In Australia, the publicly funded healthcare system, also called “Medicare,” covers mental health care through community clinics. About half of Australians have supplemental insurance, which covers private practices. Therapy sessions in Australia range in cost between $100 and $250 (Australian dollars).
How Much Is Therapy With Insurance?
The cost of therapy can vary depending on the type of health insurance plan you have, particularly when insurance provides coverage. Some plans offer no coverage at all for mental healthcare, while others cover it completely. Most fall somewhere in between. When looking to pay for therapy through your insurance plan, it’s important to carefully examine the details of your plan and be familiar with the terms used in order to get a good sense of what you might pay. Major insurance companies often have a tool on their website to help estimate this.
A study conducted in 2020 and published in Health Affairs examined more than 90 million health insurance claims for therapy between 2007 and 2017. The findings revealed that the average cost for individuals with insurance was approximately $21 for in-network care and around $60 for out-of-network care.1
Affordable Therapy Without Insurance
Many clinicians do not accept health insurance, meaning that you pay for their services the same way you pay for any purchase. Therapists who possess specialized experience or expertise in a particular condition may have higher rates compared to therapists who offer treatment for a wide range of conditions or those who are new to the field.
For those who struggle to fit therapy into their budgets, there are some strategies you might employ.
One is to ask for a sliding scale fee structure. A sliding scale fee structure is an agreement between a therapist and a client on a lower cost for services. Some therapists offer these agreements in order to see patients whom they think they can help but can’t afford their price tag. With these agreements, the therapist has discretion over whom they offer a reduced fee and how reduced the fee is. Therapists just starting out in a practice might be more likely to offer sliding-scale agreements than those with established rosters of clients.
Therapists say that the best strategy for finding a therapist who accepts a sliding scale agreement is simply to ask for it. It could help your case when asking if you have done some homework on the therapist, their areas of expertise, and the style of therapy they practice in order to explain why you think they would be a particularly good fit for the challenges you face.
Public health centers present an alternative option for accessing mental healthcare. Many cities and municipalities offer these services at a significantly reduced cost, typically based on an individual's income. To locate these centers, individuals can utilize the searchable database and map available on the U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration website.
Numerous universities that offer doctoral programs in psychology operate training clinics that deliver mental healthcare on a sliding scale based on an individual’s income. Clients will have sessions with students enrolled in these doctoral programs, with supervision provided by faculty members from the university.
Where to Find Therapists
The Psychology Today Therapy Directory provides a database of therapists on which you can search by location, therapeutic specialty, style of therapy, whether or not the provider takes insurance, race and ethnicity, gender, and price.