How to pay for therapy if you can’t afford out of pocket fees

How many do you know who can pay for therapy out of pocket — as in, who can pay $100-140 dollars a week (so $400-600 per month!) without batting an eye?

Right, me too – just a handful.

Luckily, not being able to afford out of pocket fees doesn’t have to exclude you from therapy or counseling! There are more ways to pay than just out of pocket, and in fact more ways to pay than using insurance.

1. Obviously insurance

Of course insurance is first, because it’s the most obvious and most used way to fund therapy aside from paying out of pocket. But not everyone has insurance, or insurance with mental health coverage. So what’s next?

2. Open Path Psychotherapy Collective

I love Open Path because they fully embody the idea that *everyone* should have access to therapy. Therapists (including me) listed on their site offer a sliding scale for individuals from $30-60. This is the first place I tell people to look when they say they can’t afford therapy or don’t have insurance!

Secret: I have many clients from Open Path, and they’re frequently the most fun and engaging to work with, because they really want to be in therapy and they understand the value and investment in themselves.

3. Local mental health centers and non-profits

Your community may have local mental health centers to provide much needed support to individuals and families. If you don’t qualify for care there, look for local non-profits that provide services at a discounted cost.

4. Local universities

If you live near a university with a psychology or counseling training program, they often have on-campus counseling center at which you can see a student therapist-in-training at a discounted cost. These therapists-in-training are supervised by experienced faculty and licensed therapists, so you not only get a therapist, you get a committee of support! Session cost varies but is typically more affordable than a private practice.

5. Employee assistance programs

Depending on your employer, you may be eligible for employee assistance plan for services in addition to or aside from what your insurance covers. Inquire with your HR department or manager about potential benefits.

6. Your School (if you’re a student)

If you are a student, your school may offer free or reduced fee counseling services. This goes for high schools, colleges, and universities. If you are a parent or guardian seeking therapy for a child, their school may offer mental health counseling.

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