Sliding Scale Therapy Near Me And Other Affordable Options

Medically reviewed by Julie Dodson
Updated November 9, 2023by Regain Editorial Team

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 often consider is sliding scale fees. Other affordable alternatives can include mental health clinics, working with recent psychology graduates, engaging in self-care, trying aromatherapy, spending time with pets or support animals, joining support groups, and participating in online therapy sessions.

Explore Affordable Online Therapy Options

The Cost Of Therapy

The average cost of a therapy session has generally been trending upward in recent years. Depending on what state you live in, the average session usually ranges from $100 to $200. This can add up fast when you're working on gaining control of or overcoming a mental health challenge.

While the Affordable Care Act (ACA) was supposed to address the problem of therapy being so expensive, it didn't necessarily solve it entirely. More health insurance companies now provide some coverage for services like therapy visits, but there may still be many people that have no coverage or limited coverage for these services.

In fact, the cost of therapy tends to be one of the major hurdles stopping people from getting the help they deserve. This may be why it can be important to understand what your options are for affordable mental health services. Alternative options and sliding scale therapy can help you get the help you deserve without emptying your wallet.

What Is Sliding Scale Therapy?

Sliding scale therapy typically refers to therapy sessions with variable pricing based on your income level. In general, a therapist usually has a set price that they charge for their sessions. However, that price may be adjusted for you based on your annual income if that therapist offers a sliding scale option.

That usually means people who make less money will have a lower fee than those who make more. This can provide 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 usually 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. The lowest amount they charge is $70 per session. For every additional $10,000 that you make over $50,000 annually, your fee increases by $10. Only those making $130K or more may pay $150 per session. This is just an example, so be sure to 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 may be 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 potential methods of finding more affordable therapy if you're looking for one-on-one sessions with a therapist.


Mental Health Clinics

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

Those Just Starting Out

It can be more affordable to work with a recent graduate instead of a therapist with years of experience. Often, these recent graduates work under the direction of a more experienced psychologist, so you're still able to get quality care. This typically comes at 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 have a list of professionals they can refer you to. Sometimes these are no-cost or reduced-cost professionals.

Alternatives To Therapy

The following options generally come at a very low cost and can even be free.


Self-care isn't necessarily an alternative therapy option; it's something that everyone should generally 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 relationship issues.

The best part of self-care may be that it's free. Self-care can refer to simply taking care of yourself. It can be 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 often means eating the right amount of food each day instead of too much or too little.

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

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


Aromatherapy can be an affordable alternative option to therapy. For many people, aromatherapy alone may not be enough to address the life challenges they're facing. Still, it can be a useful tool to use in addition to other forms of therapy.

Certain scents can boost your mood, relieve anxiety and stress, and help you relax.

Support Animals

Some people find relief from mental health challenges with the help of a support animal. People often think of dogs as emotional support pets, but some people benefit from interactions with other kinds of animals, such as horses.

Spending time with and caring for an animal can take your mind off the challenges you're facing while also allowing you to relax and lower your anxiety levels. A pet can also be a responsibility that requires regular care and financial investment. It can be important to 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. When looking for a support group, the important thing is generally that you find one that has people experiencing similar situations. Many support groups, both in-person and online, treat many kinds of mental health challenges.

These groups can be helpful because they often make getting help more affordable, and they may allow you to learn from others who are experiencing the same symptoms as you.

Online Therapy

Online therapy may be another option that could be more affordable than meeting in person with a psychologist. One of the benefits may be that you can schedule appointments at times that aren’t typically offered at a traditional therapist’s office. 

As this study explains, online therapy can be as effective as (or even more effective than) traditional in-office therapy. If you believe you’d benefit from working with a licensed mental health professional, we encourage you to reach out for the support you deserve.

Explore Affordable Online Therapy Options


Working with a therapist who offers a sliding scale fee system can be an excellent way to get the help you deserve at an affordable rate. Other options can include visiting mental health clinics, working with university or school counselors, practicing regular self-care, seeking out therapists who have recently graduated and are just starting their careers, trying aromatherapy, joining support groups, spending time with support animals, and trying online therapy.

For Additional Help & Support With Your Concerns

This website is owned and operated by BetterHelp, who receives all fees associated with the platform.
The information on this page is not intended to be a substitution for diagnosis, treatment, or informed professional advice. You should not take any action or avoid taking any action without consulting with a qualified mental health professional. For more information, please read our terms of use.
Get the support you need from one of our therapistsGet Started
This website is owned and operated by BetterHelp, who receives all fees associated with the platform.