If you don’t have insurance and are looking for affordable ways to get therapy, you’ve come to the right place.
Usually, a therapy session that lasts about an hour might cost you up to $200 without insurance. You could pay even more (over $250), depending on the therapist’s specialty, location, and type of therapy session. This can be costly and many people may avoid getting therapy because of the high costs per session.
Luckily, there are other ways to get the care you need. Below are seven affordable therapy options you can consider to get therapy for less than $100 – sometimes even free. Our goal is to help you find the mental support you need anytime, without breaking the bank.
7 Affordable Therapy Options To Consider If You Don’t Have Insurance
The law doesn’t require insurance providers to offer mental health benefits. Therefore, some insurance plans fail to cover mental health care.
So if your insurance plan doesn’t cover therapy or if you don’t have insurance, here are a few ways you can access therapy affordably:
Sliding scale refers to variable fees based on a customer’s ability to pay. Most therapists, from private practice and community health organizations, use sliding scale fees. You might qualify for sliding scale therapy if your annual income is low.
How does the sliding scale fee system work? Say the average cost of an hourly session is $100. A therapist might require low-income earners to pay $50 while those with a higher income might pay more.
You can find out if you qualify for a sliding scale payment by calling the clinic you plan on attending.
Another way you can access affordable therapy sessions is through teletherapy. This is online therapy that allows people to find help virtually. Research shows that some forms of therapy, such as cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), provided in teletherapy sessions are as effective as when provided during in-person sessions.
Most people find teletherapy more comfortable and convenient than in-person therapy, although some still prefer in-person sessions with their therapists.
How does teletherapy work? Depending on the platform, this kind of therapy might be delivered through:
- Live video sessions on a secure video platform
- Live audio-only calls
- Synchronous messaging through live chat
- Asynchronous messaging where replies aren’t instant
Most teletherapy websites offer different types of payment methods so you can choose whether to pay per session or a bundle of sessions or opt for a monthly membership plan where you pay a fee every month to access a set number of services/sessions.
You’ll find several therapists on these sites. Most handle the full spectrum of depression and anxiety, including disorders such as Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), insomnia, and bipolar.
Let’s look at some online therapy platforms and what they charge per month without insurance.
Mental Healthcare Apps
Mental healthcare apps are a free way to nurture your mental health. These apps have activities, tools, and support to help manage stress.
Most apps are designed for specific mental health problems while some help with general mental wellness. Ensure you find the best app for your mental health needs. Look at the ratings and reviews and compare several apps before you choose one. This is the best way to ensure you get the type of help you need.
Community Mental Health Clinics
There were approximately 2,700 community mental health centers in operation as of 2019. The staff of these clinics includes social workers, counselors, psychiatrists, peer support specialists, and psychologists who offer services at little or no cost.
Community health centers cater to a wide range of mental health issues, including:
- Substance abuse treatment
- Psycho-social rehabilitation
- Medical management
- Support and treatment for individuals with psychological conditions
Visit MentalHealth.gov or call the National Mental Illness hotline to find out if there’s a community mental health clinic near you.
Another way to access affordable mental health care is by attending free or low-cost support groups. A support group gathers people with similar issues to share their problems. Most support groups are organized and facilitated by mental health professionals who provide therapy to the members in a safe space.
Support groups typically focus on specific issues, such as depression, substance use, stress management, relationships, and parenting. Each group member offers emotional support to the others as they find solutions for their troubles.
Support groups are ideal for anyone who needs social and emotional support. They promote a sense of belonging and help people find the information they need to handle various challenges such as addiction and mental illness.
Some types of support groups you’ll come across when looking for affordable therapy include:
- 12-Step Programs: These groups deal with addiction issues. Common 12-step programs include Alcoholics Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous, and Gamblers Anonymous.
- Peer Support Groups: They provide a safe space for members facing similar struggles to talk about their issues. All group members in peer support groups share their stories and encourage each other to do the same.
- Therapy groups: Unlike 12-step and peer support groups, therapy groups are not peer-led. They’re led by a professional therapist who provides skills and strategies to help members manage their mental health.
While 12-step and peer support groups are free, you might pay a small fee to attend therapy groups.
Local Colleges And Universities
Some local colleges and universities offer free or low-cost counseling services. College students can access these services as part of their tuition fees.
Additionally, some universities hire graduate students to provide mental health services. Often, these students work under the supervision of licensed therapists. Facilities with graduate student therapists are low-cost and most offer sliding scale fees for those on a low income.
Generally, these services are limited to students of that university but some universities may offer counseling services to the general public. You can find out if counseling services are available at your institution from your student health center.
Crisis And Suicide Prevention Hotlines
The 988 National Suicide Prevention Lifeline provides 24/7 support to people in distress. Callers can talk to a trained crisis counselor and find help with mental health issues or suicidal crises.
The 988 hotline is free and available to anyone who needs help. It’s also confidential, so no one will know that you made the call unless you tell them.
Frequently Asked Questions
How do I know if I need therapy?
If you feel that you need clarity to help you deal with personal issues or change behavior or old patterns, therapy can help you.
What sort of issues can therapy help with?
Therapy can help improve many issues, such as depression, fears and phobias, eating and body image issues, anger issues, relationship issues, and self-harm.
What is the difference between a therapist, psychologist, and psychiatrist?
- Therapists/counselors use talk therapy and hold at least a master’s degree. They also undergo continuous education annually.
- Psychologists provide psychological tests for courts, schools, and entities, but they also provide counseling services.
- Psychiatrists only deal with the medical management of mental health and rarely provide talk therapy.
What are the different types of therapy?
- Individual therapy: A person has one-on-one sessions with their therapist.
- Group therapy: Several people come together to discuss the same issue and interact with each other. Some group therapies are peer-led while others are led by professionals.
- Family therapy: Several family members attend sessions together, allowing them to all work on communication, relationship, and control issues.
- Couples therapy: Couples attend sessions together to improve their relationship.
Can I try more than one type of therapy?
Most therapists are trained to use multiple approaches to get the best results for their clients. If you feel that you need more than the current approach that your therapist is using, let them know so they can find other suitable techniques for you.
What happens during a therapy session?
Therapy offers people a safe environment to discuss issues that might be impeding their self-development. During a session, you can discuss anything from feelings and thoughts to memories and regrets.
That said, some forms of therapy, such as CBT, tend to be more structured. The therapist will lead the discussion and might ask you to do some practical exercises to help you work through your feelings and actions.
How long should I expect to go for counseling?
Your therapist will look at your unique circumstances to determine how many sessions of therapy you need.
Besides, the approaches your therapist uses can also contribute to the number of sessions you need. For instance, CBT tends to be more short-term, and you might need only 6-20 sessions to achieve your goals.
Psychodynamic therapies, on the other hand, tend to last longer and might take years.
How many weekly sessions do I need to attend?
The standard practice is having one session per week. This allows you to make gradual but steady progress. However, your therapist might allow two or more sessions per week if they are available and you both agree that the additional sessions are beneficial.
Are counseling sessions confidential?
Every registered therapist is ethically bound to keep what you discuss with them confidential. Also, most therapists have a supervisor who helps ensure that they assist their clients in the best way possible and maintain a high level of confidentiality.
Sometimes, a therapist is required to discuss general things about your case with their supervisor. However, they’re not allowed to reveal your identity. Supervisors also take an oath of confidentiality and are ethically bound to protect information.
If you’re struggling with your mental health, consider seeking professional help and support. While you can get support from your loved ones, seeing a professional helps you understand your mind better and prevents mental health deterioration.
One thing that prevents people from seeking help is the lack of insurance plans for various types of therapy. However, you can now access easy and affordable insurance coverage thanks to Enhance Health. Depending on your needs and income, we’ll help you find insurance plans with lower deductibles, lower co-payments, and low or $0 monthly payments. Contact us today.