How To Find Effective, Affordable Counseling For You And Your Partner
By: Hailey Neu
Updated March 03, 2020
Medically Reviewed By: Karen Devlin, LPC
Even the happiest of couples can face issues that seem impossible to resolve or move on from. Relationship counseling is a great resource for couples who are going through challenging times and want to mend their relationship. Regular counseling appointments can lead to positive changes that can help relationships improve. Unfortunately, many people don't try counseling because of the high prices for effective services. Many couples find themselves wondering, "Is it possible to find effective and affordable counseling today?"
How Does Couples Counseling Work?
Many people are aware of what individual counseling consists of of-an individual meeting with a counselor regularly to talk about their mental health and issues they are facing. Couple counseling is a bit different as two people meet with a counselor and discuss the problems with their relationship. The goal of couples counseling is to repair and mend the couple's relationship and help the couple work together against negative behaviors in the future.
The couple will be given advice, exercises, and resources from their counselor to better their relationship. Most couples counseling spans over a few months, or at least until the issue is completely resolved and the couple can work out their problems in a healthy manner. At first, relationship counseling can be very difficult for couples as they are discussing personal details with a stranger. Thankfully, it does get easier, as most counselors are great at making their clients feel welcome and comfortable in their sessions.
Relationship counseling is often very effective for people. It is a great option to work through the hardships that all relationships face. Even if a couple can move on from their current issue by themselves, it is still a great idea to work through their emotions with a counselor. They can tell their patients how to properly communicate with each other and help them understand how to navigate a healthy relationship. For couples to make significant progress with their relationship, their counseling sessions must be effective.
What Makes Counseling Effective?
The attributes that make counseling effective will depend on the goals of you and your partner. Every couple goes to counseling for different reasons, so you will have to identify your goal when looking for a counselor. This will help them provide you with effective counseling and help you resolve the issue that made you seek help. The following attributes are some common indicators of effectiveness when looking at a counselor.
The Counselor's Experience
Most of the time, people choose to see a licensed counselor who specializes in the area they are struggling with. This is an excellent idea, as it ensures the counselor will know how to help their clients effectively. Their experience of working with similar cases can greatly benefit their new clients and can even lead to faster healing.
There are many different techniques used in the counseling and therapy field. Not every treatment will be effective for every case. For example, counseling sessions for a child with ADHD will look very different than a relationship counseling session. While a counselor can have experience in many different areas, it is most effective to find a counselor who specializes in providing solutions for your needs.
An experienced counselor will know which exercises and practices will help a specific issue a couple is having. They will also be able to pinpoint better the root cause of whatever issue their clients are facing and provide better services. If a counselor knows which treatment methods to provide the couple, counseling can be as effective as 75%. This is why it is very important to see a licensed counselor who has experience in couples counseling.
Feeling Comfortable With The Counselor
Every patient needs to feel comfortable with their counselor. With relationship counseling, it is even more important, so both people feel open to the counseling sessions. Making sure one person does not feel negativity or resentment towards the sessions will help the couple see success from the therapy. Going to relationship counseling as an individual without the other partner can lead to even more problems, so it is recommended both partners attend the sessions.
Many people feel uncomfortable sharing intimate details about their relationship with a stranger. This is completely understandable, but sharing these details with a licensed professional can bring great results. Start a conversation with your partner about what they prefer in a counselor and what it would take for them to go. Try to accommodate any realistic expectations they have when it comes to seeing a therapist. This will help them feel more comfortable and can help your relationship in the future.
Easy To Access
Neither you nor your partner will want to drive long distances to your counseling appointments after a long workday. Try to find someone with an office in a convenient location for both of you. Location may not seem like a big deal now, but it can get tedious after an emotional counseling appointment.
If you do not have any counselors you are interested in using nearby, there are online couples counseling options available. These online counseling centers have licensed and professional counselors who are just as experienced and qualified as in-person counselors. Don't let a shortage of counselors in your area discourage you because there are other great options.
Being Able To Afford Your Counselor
Counselors' prices can vary by hundreds of dollars per month. The average rates are between $75 and $200 per counseling session. These numbers are why 45 percent of people who need counseling say the treatment is too expensive to partake in. Many people feel it is impossible to receive affordable counseling, so they don't look at their options.
It is not effective to go to counseling if you cannot afford to attend regularly. Counseling is the most effective when the couple can attend sessions as often as recommended by the counselor. This is why it's important to look at your budget and see what you can afford to spend every month. That way, you don't have to quit because the counseling gets to be too expensive. Getting affordable counseling you need is possible if you know how to find it.
How To Find Affordable Counseling
There are many different avenues you can take to find effective and affordable counseling. Depending on your budget and situation, you will need to find out which of the options below is the best for you and your partner.
Through Your Insurance Provider's Website
If you have medical insurance, see if your provider covers any relationship counselors in your area. Chances are, your provider covers a handful of licensed counselors nearby who specialize in relationship counseling. To see if a counselor is covered, you can check your insurance's website or contact a counselor to see if they cover them.
Sometimes, even though your insurance provider covers a portion of the bill, the cost of counseling can still be very expensive. It is recommended that you see how much your provider is willing to cover before committing to counseling services with someone. As mentioned above, you don't want to start making progress and then have to quit because counseling prices are higher than expected.
If you know anyone who has attended relationship counseling before, you can ask them for a referral. If the other couple recommends the counselor, it may be a good idea to try the counselor out. Be sure you are close enough with the couple you are seeking a referral from, as you don't want to overstep boundaries with them. Relationship counseling is a very personal topic for many people, so be sure they are comfortable talking about it with you.
When asking for a referral to a relationship counselor, ask about the location of their office and their prices. As mentioned before, you must get affordable counseling services in a convenient location. Hopefully, the counselor's office is close by and is in your price range so you and your partner can see them.
Check Local Universities
Many universities offer free or low-cost counseling to people in the local area. The counselors are usually graduate students who are studying to get a degree in counseling, psychology, or psychiatry. The students are usually monitored by a licensed counselor or by one of their professors to ensure their sessions are effective. Do remember that the students are not licensed counselors, but they can still offer good advice in sessions.
If you are fortunate enough to live by a university that offers degrees in the mental health treatment field, this can be a great option to receive affordable counseling. Although the students may not have years of experience working with couples, it may be worth trying it out if the sessions are free. If you do not live near a university, the option is unfortunately not applicable for you but, there are other ways to find affordable counseling.
Online Counseling Services
Online counseling services like BetterHelp and ReGain are often much more affordable than in-person counselors. They offer affordable counseling with a licensed counselor over a phone call, text message, or video chat. They also have dozens of counselors who specialize in different areas, so you are sure to get effective treatment.
Another great thing about online counseling services is that location is not a factor. As long as you have a device to connect with them, you can receive online counseling. It may feel more comforting knowing your counselor does not live in your area if you or your partner have any fears about privacy. You are also able to list your preferences in a counselor, so you are sure to get matched with one who is perfect for you.
Most online counseling services cost between $40 and $70 per week. This is very affordable compared to in-person services-even with insurance! If you are seeking affordable counseling services, an online counselor may be the best option for you and your partner.
Finding Effective And Affordable Counseling
Thankfully, couples can find both effective and affordable counseling to help repair their relationship and have better communication skills. Today, there are many ways for couples to get effective counseling they need without breaking the bank. Remember, the most effective counseling is always the services the couple can afford from a counselor both people agree on.
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