How To Find A Psychologist That's Affordable

Updated August 23, 2023by Regain Editorial Team

If you're interested in attending therapy and concerned about the cost, you're not alone. Many people are wondering how to find an affordable psychologist. In a survey of people with mood disorders done by the National Alliance on Mental Illness, about 50% of respondents reported that cost prohibited them from seeking a treatment they were interested in; among those without insurance, this figure was closer to 75%. 

Cost is a prohibiting factor when it comes to getting treatment for mental health issues. Here are some things you should know and some affordable treatment options you may not have considered.

What Are The Obstacles To Affordable Mental Health Services?

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Online Mental Health Services Are Affordable And Effective

The cost of meeting with a psychologist can run anywhere from $75 to $200 per session. While that might not seem so bad, the costs add up quickly for people who attend therapy every week for months or even years.

Here are some reasons why mental health service isn't always affordable.

Health Insurance Companies And Psychologists Aren't Working Together

Most people think it's affordable to go to the doctor if they have a sinus infection or earache because they have health insurance. Your insurance company may cover the entire cost, or it may only cover some of the costs, leaving you to pay the rest out of pocket.

But this isn’t necessarily how insurance coverage works for mental health services. While the Affordable Care Act (ACA) did address some of the problems with the availability and coverage of therapy, it didn't solve the problem completely. Many people have poor coverage for all health services.

Health insurance providers aren't willing to pay therapists what they're looking for, which means fewer psychologists are willing to work with your insurance company. Even if you have health insurance, you may be unable to use it with a psychologist.

Location

A few ways that the area you live in can impact your ability to find affordable healthcare. For example, a recent report found that therapy rates vary from state to state, from $100 to $200 per session. That means if you live in one of the states on the higher end, it will take a lot of work to find a more affordable psychologist. Even in the states on the lower end of the rate spectrum, it could be challenging to find something more affordable than the average.

Understand Your Health Insurance

If you have health insurance, it most likely offers some coverage for mental health services. As mentioned above, the ACA gives mental health services the same coverage as surgery and general health care. If you have good coverage with things like a doctor's appointment, you will have the same mental health services coverage.

Ensuring that you understand your health insurance coverage can go a long way in reducing your care cost. If you have coverage but accidentally work with a psychologist that isn't in your network, you'll pay out of pocket.

Look For A Psychologist With A Sliding Scale Fee

Psychologists help to make their services more affordable for patients by offering a fee on a sliding scale. They can adjust the price based on your income if you can't afford the per-session cost. This can help lower the session price, so it's easier for you to afford.

When looking for a psychologist, this should be just one thing you consider before choosing to work together. Just because a psychologist is affordable with a sliding scale fee does not mean they are a good fit for you. Sometimes it could benefit you to pay a higher price to work with a psychologist who's a good fit.

Some Psychologists Lead Support Groups

Depending on what mental health challenges or disorders you're dealing with, there could be a support group that would work for you. When looking for a support group, it's essential to determine who leads the group and how it runs. Not all groups are run by psychologists, but some groups are.

Meeting with a psychologist-led support group gives you the benefit of having professional advice and interacting with others going through the same thing. It can be reassuring to find out that you're not alone. It can also help bounce ideas off others and hear how the strategies work in their lives.

Find A Mental Health Clinic

Most areas have mental health clinics that offer low-cost services. If you're going to use a clinic, it's crucial to understand how they work. Some will allow you to make appointments, but they may not be open at the same hours a psychologist would. You can find a mental health clinic near you with a simple online search.

Look For A Specific Answer For The Issue You're Dealing With

Depending on why you need treatment, you might not need to see a psychologist. Often, this is the professional we think of first when we think of going to therapy, but there are other options. And some of these options can be more affordable.

Your first step is determining why you want to meet with a psychologist. Then you can look at all the alternatives for your specific situation. For example, if you struggle with a substance abuse disorder, there may be a support group you can join that can help lead you to recovery, even if a psychologist does not lead it. There may be a call center for your specific challenge that can point you toward the right resources that could help you.

Work With A New Professional

Another option for an affordable psychologist is to find someone just finishing school. Just because someone is new does not mean that they aren't going to help you just as well as a seasoned professional. They may even be a better fit for you because they're new to the career and excited to get started.

These psychologists are generally working under the direction of an experienced psychologist. That means even though you're meeting someone who is just starting, they can get the advice and guidance of someone with more experience. The best part for you is that the cost of working with them is usually less than working with someone with years of experience.

Try Online Therapy

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Online Mental Health Services Are Affordable And Effective

Online therapy allows you to work with a therapist from the comfort of your own home. You don't have to take time out of your day to drive back and forth from appointments, and it can be a great way to save money while still getting the support you need.

You must look into the cost options to ensure you understand how much you're paying and if it's a monthly fee or a fee every time you have an appointment. When you understand the fee structure, you will compare the costs to in-person therapy. Then you'll know if and how much you'll be saving.

Remember that online therapy can save you money in other ways as well. For example, the cost can add up if you have children and must pay for a babysitter to go to your counseling sessions. If you have to take time off of work, it can cost you in used personal time or lower your day's amount. You don’t have to worry about these costs when you attend sessions from home.

Research shows that online therapy is just as effective as in-person treatment, and signing up is easy. To learn more, connect with a qualified, vetted professional at Regain.

Takeaway

It's easy to get hung up on the cost of meeting with a psychologist, but the benefits of counseling can far outweigh how much you spend on your sessions. Instead of thinking about how much therapy will cost you, think about what not going to therapy will cost you. If you have a mental health challenge getting in the way of your daily life activities or relationships or impacting your feelings and behaviors, getting help will allow you to overcome it. Choosing to continue struggling to get by to save a few dollars will cost you, in the long run, both your health and happiness.

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