Therapy FAQ

How Much Does Therapy Cost and Is It Worth It?

Learn about the cost of therapy with and without insurance, the benefits of therapy, and how to book a therapy session. Understand the average cost of therapy in each state, insurance coverage for therapy, and the importance of mental health in overall well-being.

By Alan Deibel, LCPC

Updated on May 30, 2024

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If you’ve ever thought that you might need therapy, a safe place to express your feelings and thoughts with an expert who could help you find some answers, but felt you couldn’t afford it — you’re not alone.

In 2020, 20.78% of adults — over 50 million people — in America experienced mental illness, but 42% of those adults reported that they couldn’t access the treatment they needed because of the costs of therapy.

So, how much is it to seek the therapy you might need? Is it actually as unaffordable as you think? And how does therapy work when you involve your insurance company?

In this article, we’re going to cover how much therapy costs with and without insurance, options to explore if you don’t have insurance, and the wide range of therapeutic benefits.

Key takeaways:

  • Therapy costs vary by state; average session costs range from $68 to $250
  • Insurance can help cover therapy costs, with out-of-pocket expenses ranging from $20-$50
  • Sliding scale fees offer affordable therapy based on income for those without insurance
  • Therapy provides benefits like improved coping mechanisms, self-esteem, and communication skills
  • Booking a therapy session involves finding the right therapist, whether in-person or online

Cost of Therapy

If money is a deciding factor as to whether you book yourself into therapy, it’s a good idea to look into the different financial avenues you could take. While health insurance can provide a financial buffer for therapy, it’s important to explore different insurance plans to determine the one that best suits your needs and budget.

Keep reading to find out how much therapy is with and without insurance, and how much you can expect to pay for treatment according to the state you live in.

What Is the Average Cost of Therapy in Each State?

In 2017, the overall median rate for a 50–60 minute therapy session in the US was $120.

Some of the lowest rates were found in cities like Orlando, Kissimmee, and Sanford, where individuals only paid $68 per single therapy session. Patients living in states such as Florida, Indiana, Michigan, Missouri, and Ohio were charged $90 or under.

Meanwhile, the median cost of therapy in Connecticut, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Alabama. Maryland, California, Oregon, and Wyoming was $120.

Getting slightly more expensive in Alaska, Iowa, Illinois, New Jersey, Arkansas, District of Columbia, and Hawaii, individuals experienced a median charge of $150 per session.

Some of the highest rates were found in Miami, Fort Lauderdale, and West Palm Beach, with therapy sessions setting individuals back $250.

Does Insurance Cover Therapy?

Many insurance companies offer coverage for mental health services, but we encourage you to check your plan to make sure. If you haven’t already taken out health insurance, read up on what potential plans offer and opt for one that includes mental health treatment if you think you might need it in the future.

A lot of health insurance types — employer-sponsored health coverage, the Affordable Care Act (ACA) or “Obamacare,” Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), and most Medicaid programs — are now affected by the mental health parity law, which was passed in 2008.

This law requires that health insurance companies cover services for mental health, behavioral health, and substance-use disorders in the same way or better than how they’d cover physical health.

Also known as “Obamacare” and ACA, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) passed in 2010 and provides numerous rights and protections that make health coverage fairer and easier to understand. Not only does it give better access to more low-cost physical health care, but mental health care too.

“Mental health is a critical part of people’s overall wellbeing. Therefore, it would only benefit insurance companies to cover these services because they will lead to better health outcomes for their members. And from a business perspective, providing these types of services can help reduce the overall cost of care by enabling members to get the help they need before it could create bigger issues,” explains Derek Lee, Grow Therapy’s Head of Insurance Operations.

How Much Is Therapy With Insurance?

The cost of therapy with insurance could vary depending on your health insurance plan. Lee advises that “on average, people pay between $20-$50 per session if they utilize their benefits, but out-of-pocket costs could vary.” Out-of-pocket costs include deductibles, coinsurance and copay.

If you choose to book with one of our therapists, you’ll pay an average of $30 a session when using your health insurance coverage, depending on several factors, including your deductibles.

If some of the words you come across when reading about health insurance are leaving you confused, such as deductibles and out-of-pocket costs, we’ve debunked a few of the important terms, including information about insurance types, so that you can make decisions with as much knowledge as possible.

How Much Is Therapy Without Insurance?

People who don’t have health insurance will have to cover all the out-of-pocket costs themselves, often paying more than those who use insurance. The amount will depend on the individual therapist, but it can range from $80 to well over $200 per session.

Do You Pay Before or After Therapy?

If you have health insurance, you usually pay your bill upfront to your chosen mental health practice, and then you’ll be reimbursed by your insurance company after your visit.

If you don’t have health insurance or your therapist doesn’t accept your insurance, you’ll pay the full cost yourself (out of pocket) based on an agreement between you and your therapist as to when and how often.

How Does a Sliding Scale Work?

If you don’t have health insurance or your therapist doesn’t accept it, and the cost of therapy is a concern, consider looking for an out-of-network therapist who offers sliding-scale fees.

Sliding-scale therapy is when therapists charge individuals based on their income. For example, if someone earns $40k a year, a therapist might charge that person $60 per session, whereas if a patient earns $150k a year, they might charge $150 per session.

Determining how much is charged per therapy session by assessing earnings helps make individual therapy more affordable for people on lower incomes.

It’s important to note that some therapists don’t advertise that they offer a sliding scale fee, so it’s always a good idea to ask — even if it’s not on their website or profile.

Is Therapy Worth the Cost?

When considering individual therapy, it’s natural to wonder whether it’s worth the cost. Therefore, it’s important to weigh up how valuable therapy could be for you. To do this, think about how your mental and emotional health affects your daily life, work, relationships, and peace of mind.

Signs such as isolating yourself from relationships, sleeping a lot more (or less) than usual and still feeling exhausted, and not looking after your basic needs might indicate that it’s time to find a therapist. Here are some other signs to watch out for that might signify you need therapy.

Everyone has different goals before embarking on therapy, and you’ll put these goals in place with your therapist. Until then, it won’t be clear exactly how many sessions you might need, but research has shown that “15–20 sessions of therapy are required for 50% of patients to recover as indicated by self-reported symptom measures.”

So, if it helps you predict your costs, you could calculate how much therapy will cost you based on 15–20 sessions. However, flexibility may prove necessary.

10 Benefits of Therapy

Just like seeing a doctor about your physical health is important, so is booking in with a therapist if you have any mental health concerns. Good mental health enables us to enjoy our life and the people in it.

There are many types of therapy, and what you want from therapy will determine how it affects you and your life. Here are some ways that individual therapy could benefit you.

1. Improve Coping Mechanisms

Being resilient and able to deal with the things that life throws at you — and it can be a lot! — is important and something that can be improved and strengthened through therapy, including how you manage stress and anxiety.

2. Build Self-Esteem

A large body of research suggests that we need high self-esteem to build satisfying relationships, perform better at school and work, enjoy improved mental and physical health, and avoid antisocial behavior. Therapy can help if you’re struggling with low self-esteem.

3. Recognize and Change Negative Thought Patterns

Experiencing negative thought patterns can be exhausting and affect other aspects of your life. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is a type of therapy that can help you recognize those negative ways of thinking and learn strategies to change them.

CBT is also used to treat anxiety, bipolar disorders, eating disorders, obsessive-compulsive disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), phobias, and substance abuse.

4. Improve Communication and How You Relate to Others

If you learn how to communicate effectively, you’ll be more able to navigate the different areas of your life. This could include dealing with anxiety when needing to have a direct conversation, getting angry too quickly when talking to others, or shying away from confrontation.

5. Learn Healthy Ways to Express Emotions

Practicing vulnerability, mindfulness, journaling, and learning to identify your feelings are just some of the healthy ways that we can express our emotions. Learning and improving how to do this through therapy might help you feel more confident doing so more often.

6. Improve Self-Awareness

Learning how to understand yourself, your behavior, and life experiences is all part of being self aware. Improving your self-awareness might lead to increased self-confidence, creativity, and better decision-making.

7. Better Work Productivity

Dealing with work when your mental health isn’t feeling up to scratch might feel overwhelming. In fact, almost 12 billion working days are lost every year due to depression and anxiety. Research has shown that those who receive psychotherapy are less likely to take sick days from work.

8. Better Physical Health

The effects of long-term stress on the body aren’t pretty. However, therapy can help you identify the challenges and stressors in your daily life, learn how to manage them, and hopefully prevent these damaging consequences.

9. Happier Moods

Not only can therapy help you learn better coping strategies, but it might also make you happier. A simple improvement to your mood could result in less stress, higher productivity, increased creativity, and stronger communication with others.

10. Conflict Resolution Skills

From learning how to set boundaries with family and friends, to being direct about your needs and confidently asking for things that you want out of relationships and situations, therapy can help you improve your conflict resolution skills. This may enable you to feel stronger and better at dealing with other aspects of your life.

How to Book a Therapy Session

If you feel like therapy could give you the help and support you need, picking the right therapist is crucial. At Grow Therapy, you can find a therapist by searching and filtering by state, insurance type, and the specialty you want to focus on. You can book online instantly and see a therapist on average within two days. Plus, you have the option choose whether you want to see a therapist in-person at their office or online. If you have your doubts about online therapy or teletherapy (therapy sessions taken via phone, video or both), research to date shows that it’s effective.

Need help getting started? We’re here to offer you guidance on how to choose the right therapist.

Takeaways

Understanding how much therapy will cost you, with and without insurance, is important before booking a session because it enables you to plan ahead.

If you’re wondering about the expenses of therapy, do the following: check with your insurance provider to discover what they can offer you regarding mental health treatment support and reimbursement.

Additionally, ask a potential mental health professional if they accept your insurance or if they offer sliding-scale treatment options, or browse through Grow Therapy to see if any of our amazing licensed therapists accept your insurance.

Frequently Asked Questions

About the author
Alan Deibel, LCPC

Alan Deibel is a licensed clinical professional counselor with over 12 years of diverse clinical experience specializing in treating addiction, trauma, anxiety, and mood disorders.

This article is not meant to be a replacement for medical advice. We recommend speaking with a therapist for personalized information about your mental health. If you don’t currently have a therapist, we can connect you with one who can offer support and address any questions or concerns. If you or your child is experiencing a medical emergency, is considering harming themselves or others, or is otherwise in imminent danger, you should dial 9-1-1 and/or go to the nearest emergency room.

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