Lots of people don’t have the insurance or the income to afford counseling, which can easily cost above $130 a session without insurance. As a result, here’s some insider information on finding the loopholes to affordable counseling.
1. See a pre-licensed counselor
If you don’t have insurance, seeing a counselor who isn’t licensed yet might be your best bet. As part of the licensure process, counselors must work up to several years without billing insurance. In the meantime, they often charge a rate similar to a co-pay like $40 – $60. Go on Psychology Today and look for a counselor with the subtitle “Pre-licensed Professional” under their name. You’ll notice they charge significantly lower rates.
2. Ask a counseling center about group counseling
Group counseling is significantly cheaper than individual counseling. It’s not cheaper-in-bulk counseling but rather a different approach. Specialists carefully assemble and facilitate counseling groups, and many people prefer them to individual counseling. Google searches won’t find you many groups. Instead, call counseling centers near you. Many offer groups without advertising them online. See if one fits what you’re looking for.
3. Download a counseling mobile app
Counseling through mobile apps are beginning to take more ground in the counseling field. Companies like Talkspace and BetterHelp allow you to choose from thousands of licensed counselors. You can talk to them on your computer or through their mobile app. It’s not for everyone. But interestingly enough, a study from the University of Michigan revealed that people are more likely to speak honestly about themselves via text than in person.
4. See your college counselor
From community colleges to Ivy League universities, most colleges offer some form of free counseling. They usually offer short-term counseling, but some will offer long-term counseling like a private practice. Many students don’t even know they pay for it in their tuition. If you’re a student struggling to pay books and tuition, check with Student Affairs before calling an expensive private practice.
5. Ask about sliding scales
If you can’t afford a counselor’s rate, many counselors will offer you a significantly lower price through their sliding scale. Many will cut their rates in half or even charge their average co-pay like $40. Another tip for students: Every counselor has been a student once. Whether it’s from pure sympathy or over-active mirror neurons, students often get cheaper rates. However, no matter what your situation is, the best course of action is to simply ask the counselor. You’ll be surprised what you get if you simply ask.
Photo Credit: Danielle MacInnes