When the topic of therapy comes up it’s always followed by “but it’s sooo expensive…. But the cost…. I don’t have that kind of money…. Therapy is only for rich people….” and so many more things.
Honestly, I often feel deflated when these topics come up. Even around my own friends and family. But I remind myself, it’s not about me.
More honestly, I used to think that way too! **embarrassing moment** I did not value myself enough to invest in myself. I realized I unconsciously took on the same views and beliefs of my social influences without really looking into if for myself and developing my own thoughts and opinions around it!
The purpose to this blog post is to shed a different view on things… on investing in your health. I think information on this would have been valuable to me personally and wish I had realized it much sooner! So hope this helps others!
My rate is not cheap. Sitting at $125 a session that is $500 a month. Fuck. I might as well buy a new car. Well I suppose you could, but you definitely will be paying the car loan a LOT long than you will be attending weekly therapy. Most of my clients move to biweekly sessions after 3-6 months. Maybe a year if you’re super serious and got a lot of stuff you want to work on. But regardless, what I’m saying is, I see marked improvement in my clients after a few months…. Let that sink in.
Lets do some math.
Lets say you come weekly for the first 6 months = $3,000
Then lets say you move to biweekly for the next six months = $1,500
So that’s $4,500 for the first year of therapy and you are feeling remarkably better. And you likely got a raise at your job during this time too. This turns out to be a little but more expensive than a membership at midtown for a year. But there you’re going to go year after year. Therapy will drop off.
I provide psychotherapy in the Rochester metropolitan area. Most of my clients are from Monroe county but I have some that live in Wayne, Orleans, and Ontario county as well. The median household income for the zip code I’m located in (14610) is about $59,000 a year with surrounding zip codes sitting at $89,000, $72,000 $78,000 and more.
Using the projected $4,500 investment if you make $59,000 that’s almost 8% of your yearly salary. At $89,000 a year that’s 5% of your salary.
When I finally put some of these numbers into perspective, it helped me to be able to invest in myself. I know we all have monthly bills of all sorts of kinds and some we can’t give up, but I noticed things changed for me when I invested less into things I that didn’t help my well-being and personal growth and started investing into things that did help my well-being and personal growth.
Granted, therapy isn’t the only well-being investment out there. I invest in other things too like workout classes, yoga, massage, pedicures, fresh vegetables…. etc….. But really those investments are ongoing every year! Therapy is often intensive (weekly – bi-weekly) during rough times and transitions and less intensive during stable times (monthly, quarterly, not at all). So one year therapy might cost you $5,000 and the next year it might cost you $500! (so on and so forth with a variety of combinations from a lot of money to no money at all).
That investment in yourself is priceless (in my opinion) as what you learn in therapy stays with you forever. Granted you change as you grow so tune ups are often desired by clients, but usually the core work has been managed and your life is much more enjoyable due to that initial intensive investment! So really, therapy is the gift that keeps on giving 😛
What if I told you, you might even make that money back financially?!
Everyone has different struggles and goals in therapy, but I’ve seen a good portion of my clients grow into higher paying jobs, or more financially fulfilling businesses. How so? For one, increased confidence goes a long way when it comes to jobs as well as being more productive due to managing your emotions and life more effectively. Think about how time an energy consuming it is to have relationships, or experience the death of a loved one, or to be struggling with depression or anxiety. A LOT of time and energy. Managing that well can lead to a more productive life in many ways. Some clients end up saving money in other ways because they are no longer trying to buy their happiness and spend money wisely. So in many ways, my clients earn back their investment in therapy. How cool is that?!
Stacey, I make less than $59,000 a year and my percentage is much higher than these numbers you’re throwing out there. What does that mean for me?
Well, some therapists work on a sliding scale. Meaning if you are making less than the average income the therapist set the fees in line with your income. So it doesn’t hurt to inquire about a sliding scale that you might benefit from, otherwise finding another therapist or a therapist on your insurance panel might be a good option. Not all therapists charge $125, you might find one that charges $70 and that is more in line with your income.
Funny you mention insurance Stacey. I pay a monthly premium for my insurance company. Aren’t I entitled to use my insurance? I’m already spending the money.
Sure, go for it.
Here are some problems that people run into:
Your insurance company sees mental health as an illness. A mental illness if you will. They want to see you NOT sick, and functioning. Not necessarily functioning well, but functioning. Working under the insurance model doesn’t accept working on self-esteem to be a real goal
(side story: I was told that once in my early years as a therapist “Stacey, self-esteem is not an acceptable treatment plan objective” I was lost and confused as to what job I signed up for)
or working on steps toward landing your dream job, or developing deeper meaning in life, or establishing meaningful, connecting relationships and all those wonderful things that people want to get out of therapy.
What insurance companies look for is if you are eating, sleeping, getting out of bed in the morning, taking a shower, not attempting to kill yourself resulting in ED visits, and not being a threat to others and so forth…
You might be struggling with some of the things insurance companies cover, but once those are improved, insurance no longer covers the services. Working on fulfillment in life will not be covered by your insurance company. I am glad that insurance covers these services, as they are necessary for people, but then it comes to an end when you’re managing and honestly, that’s not why I became a therapist. I’m not about managing; I’m about enjoying!!
You definitely can find a therapist that takes your insurance and benefit from therapy if you are in need of someone who takes your insurance panel, I’d be happy to help point you in the right direction!
Also, if you do qualify for a mental health diagnosis and still want me to be your therapist, please find out if you have out of network coverage by your insurance. That is often a win-win for me and my clients.
I’m willing to pay fee for service therapy but I’m finding therapist charging anywhere from $70 a session to $200 a session. Why such a difference?
There are so many factors that go into pricing for therapists. Often newer therapists charge less and experienced clinicians charge more, but I’ve seen less experienced clinicians charge more and very experienced clinicians charge less so if you are looking to pay for experience, it is important to look not just into years experience but advanced training and ongoing education you therapist is getting. Remember all these licenses and ongoing training are quite costly and factors into pricing.
Some therapists rates differ pending on their own personal needs and lifestyle. Some people are supporting themselves, some are supporting a family. Some are doing it on the side for extra money, some it’s the only source of income.
Some therapists have a lot of overhead, some don’t have as much. Some offer more amenities, some don’t offer any.
For whatever reason you will find a rage of fees from therapist to therapist. It is important that you do your research on finding the best therapist for you and feel you are getting you money’s worth in regard to investment. Obviously the more you make, the bigger pool of therapists you have to choose from.
In closing, I encourage you to think about therapy as an investment in yourself. Look at your income and what a reasonable cost is for you, considering the benefits that you gain from therapy, and find a good match for a therapist within your price range.