Sliding Scale Therapy Near Me And Other Affordable Alternative Options

By: Joy Youell

Updated June 02, 2021

Medically Reviewed By: Melinda Santa

If "sliding scale therapy near me" is on your recent search history it's probably because you're looking for affordable therapy options. With the cost of mental health services rising around the country, many people are searching for alternative options that won't break the bank. A common option that people turn to is sliding scale fees. This can be a great option, but there are plenty of other options out there to consider as well when you know what to look for.

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Cost of Therapy

According to a recent study, between the years 2017 and 2018, the average cost of a therapy session with a psychologist increased. Depending on what state you live in the average session now ranges from $100 to $200. This can add up fast when you're working on gaining control of or overcoming a mental health challenge.

There are many things that are getting in the way of more affordable health care. While the Affordable Care Act (ACA) was supposed to address the problem, it didn't solve it completely. There are more health insurance companies now that provide some type of coverage for services such as therapy visits. But there are still many people that have no coverage or limited coverage to these services.

In fact, the cost of therapy is one of the major hurdles stopping people from getting the help that they need. This is why it's important to understand what your options are for affordable mental health services. Alternative options and sliding scale therapy can help you get the help that you need without hitting your budget too hard.

What is Sliding Scale Therapy?

Sliding scale therapy is simply therapy sessions priced based on your income level. Typically, a therapist has a set price that they charge for their sessions. However, that price will be adjusted for you based on your annual income.

That means people who make less money have a lower fee than those who make more. This provides an opportunity for people who might not be able to afford a therapy session otherwise. By offering a sliding scale, therapists can help more people.

Keep in mind that sliding scale fees are usually established for patients that do not have health insurance coverage. These are people that are self-paying clients. Here's an example of how a sliding scale fee would work:

Imagine that a therapy session is $150. However, you have no health insurance coverage and the therapist offers a sliding scale for your session. So, the lowest amount they charge is $70. For every additional $10,000 that you make over $50,000 annually, your fee adds on an additional $10. So only those making $130K or more are paying $150/session. This is just an example, so you need to make sure that you ask your therapist how their sliding scale works and what the limits are.

How to Find Affordable Therapy

With the cost of therapy rising, you might be looking for a way to find affordable therapy. Thankfully, there are many different types of therapy available and you may be able to find relief from your symptoms without needing to pay more than you want. Here are some ways that you can find more affordable therapy if you're really looking for one-on-one sessions with a therapist.

Mental Health Clinics

Many counties throughout the country offer mental health clinics for residents. This allows you to meet with a psychologist at an extremely reduced cost. One thing to keep in mind is mental health clinics can be very busy because there are many people trying to get in for affordable care. If you want to go to a mental health clinic, call ahead of time and understand their office hours and the way that the system works.


Those Just Starting Out

It can be more affordable to work with a recent graduate instead of a therapist that has years of experience. Often, they are working under the direction of a more experienced psychologist, so you're still able to get quality care. It also usually comes with a reduced rate.

University or School Counselors

If you are attending a university or are looking for affordable therapy for one of your children, school counselors can be a great alternative. Most schools have someone on staff or at least have a list of professionals that they can refer you to. Sometimes these are no cost professionals because your child is in the school, or it will be a very reduced rate.

Alternative Options to Therapy


Self-care isn't necessarily an alternative therapy option; it's something that everyone should be doing. Proper self-care can go a long way in helping you to maintain control of your mental health disorder or overcome things like anxiety, depression, and even help with relationship issues.

The best part of self-care is that it's free. Self-care is simply taking care of yourself. It's making sure that you eat foods that nourish your body instead of feeding yourself with things like fast food and sweets all the time. Caring for your body means eating the right amount of food each day instead of too much or too little.

Self-care is also making sure that you get the proper sleep that you need at night so you can be rested during the day and getting physical activity. Exercise helps boost your mood and can help you control things like anxiety and depression. It doesn't have to be a hard workout session that you do, it could be going for a walk.

Self-care can also include things like journaling, meditation, mindfulness, and spending time with family and friends.


Aromatherapy can be an affordable alternative option to therapy. For many people aromatherapy alone is not going to be enough to address life challenges that they're facing, but it can be a useful thing to use in addition to other forms of therapy.

Certain scents have been known to help boost mood, relieve anxiety and stress, and help people relax.

Support Animals

Some people find relief for mental health challenges with the help of a support animal. Many times people think of dogs as emotional support pets, but there are also people that benefit from interactions with other kinds of animals, such as horse therapy.

Spending time with and caring for an animal can help to take your mind off of the challenges that you're facing while also allowing you to relax and lower your anxiety levels. A pet is also a responsibility that requires regular care and financial investment. It is important to accurately judge whether you have the right resources to care for a pet.

Support Groups

If one-on-one therapy is out of your price range, you may be able to find a support group that is more affordable or even free. The important thing when looking for a support group is that you find one that has people dealing with similar situations. There are many support groups, both in person and online, that treat many different kinds of mental health challenges.

These groups can be helpful because they make getting help more affordable and it also allows you to learn from others who are experiencing the same symptoms as you.

Online Therapy

Online therapy is another option that could be more affordable than meeting in person with a psychologist. One of the benefits is that you have faster access and can communicate in between sessions with your therapist. And, for many people, this option is going to be more affordable.

It's important to keep in mind that not all mental health disorders should be treated with online therapy. While it can be a good supplement to traditional treatment, there are some conditions that will have better results with in-person therapy. There are also some forms of therapy that cannot be done without being in person. But, for those that can be treated through online services, it can be a more affordable form of therapy that still gets you great results.

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Online counseling can make therapy accessible to many people who would not otherwise use it. You may be one of those people. Having a virtual therapist can be a powerful way to get the mental health support that you need. According to recent news articles, online therapy can cost less than half what traditional therapy costs. Some online therapists also accept insurance.

Online therapy has numerous benefits that include:

  • Access from the safety and comfort of your own home
  • No traffic or transportation to consider
  • No sitting in a waiting room
  • Complete privacy
  • Unlimited messaging
  • Scheduling convenience
  • Lower fees

Below are some reviews of ReGain counselors for you to review, from people who have benefitted from online therapy.

Counselor Reviews

"I worked with Emily Stevenson for a while and she was insightful and helpful. She was very responsive and offered great points to ponder. After a while I felt I didn't need counseling anymore and she was supportive while also reminding me I could reach out at any time in the future. I am now working with her again and I am so glad to be back. I would be very unlikely to go in to the clinic and see a therapist in person and frankly I couldn't afford to do that anyway. I love that I can write whenever I want and she responds quickly. I'm so glad I found this online counseling and especially someone who I think understands me. Thank you so much Emily! I appreciate you."

"Dr. Farago is very kind and works hard to get to the heart of the matter. It only occurred to me recently that online counseling was a thing. I could not find couples counseling locally that we could afford or even get to during the work day. I am happy to have found this option and I really like who we were paired with."

Affordable Care is Possible

Don't be afraid to ask a mental health professional if they have options to make their services more affordable for you. If they don't offer sliding scales themselves or if you still can't afford it, they may be able to refer you to another option. And, if you want to give online counseling a try, there are ReGain counselors that are able to work with you from the comfort of your own home. With all of the technology that we have now, it's never been easier to get the help that you need for your mental health. Remember that if you are interested in talking with a therapist you shouldn't let anything stand in your way. There are options for affordable therapy out there. Knowing what your options are as well as the things that you can do at home to help improve your situation will go a long way in you getting the help that you need.

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