How Much Does Psychotherapy Cost? (+6 Factors That Impact It)
Figuring out how much therapy costs can be frustrating. The difference in professional costs is confusing, and it can be difficult to determine:
- Why different services vary so much in cost
- How much you can expect to pay throughout the entire process
- If your insurance provider covers services
As an intake specialist at KMA Therapy who is completing my Master’s in Counselling Psychology, I know how much mental health professionals cost. I also know the factors that affect these costs. Let’s break down some of your most pressing therapy cost questions, so you know what you can expect to pay throughout your therapeutic journey!
How much do therapy sessions cost?
Let’s cut to the chase; how much do mental health services cost? Fees for therapeutic services range anywhere from $50 to $300 per session. This is based on multiple factors, including:
- Educational background of your therapist
- Experience of your therapist
- Type of therapy you’re receiving
- Psychologist supervision
- Office costs
- The number of sessions you attend
Let’s dive into each factor to give you a better understanding of why it impacts costs, starting with the educational background of your therapist.
- Educational Background
A therapist’s professional degree will affect their cost per session. Social workers, psychotherapists, and psychologists all need different degrees of education.
Social work and psychotherapeutic services tend to be more affordable than psychological services. A psychotherapist and social worker’s costs range from $50 to $200 per hourly session. A psychologist may charge anywhere between $100 and $300 per hourly session.
The number of certifications a therapist has may also affect their cost per session. Maintaining different certifications often requires paid training and yearly fees to access relevant resources, and their prices may reflect that.
A therapist may charge more money per session if they:
- Receive training in different therapeutic approaches
- Hold multiple degrees
- Takes supplementary courses/workshops
When looking for a therapist for the first time, it is important to ensure that they have the qualifications to practice.
Check out the article What Are the Different Types of Therapists? to figure out which professional is the right fit for you.
Your therapist’s level of experience will influence the cost of sessions. As per the Canadian Counselling and Psychotherapy Association, therapists should constantly further their scope of knowledge. As their career progresses, a therapist will:
- Earn more certifications
- Attend more workshops
- Read more literature
- Work with a more diverse array of people
This results in a better, more informed therapeutic experience for their client. This will also expand their understanding of different clinical issues, backgrounds, and the use of therapeutic techniques.
As therapists become more skilled, their costs may increase to reflect their qualifications. While new therapists are skillful, many people will opt to pay for more seasoned therapists to receive more experienced care. Those who need therapists with specialized experience in a particular area of mental health will usually need a therapist whose professional background is well-cultivated.
- Type of Therapy
The type of therapy a mental health professional provides will also influence their cost per session. A therapist who treats more specialized conditions or has experience in a specific field of psychology may be more expensive than one with more generalized knowledge.
Popular types of therapy include:
- Cognitive-behavioral therapy
- Client-centered therapy
These therapies treat a variety of issues and are provided by many therapists.
More specialized forms of therapy include:
- Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing therapy
- Dialectical Behavior Therapy
These therapies are suited to clients with more specific needs and are not provided by as many therapists. Clients looking for specialized therapy should be aware that therapies that are not widely provided may be more costly.
Additionally, a therapist with experience using multiple therapeutic approaches and techniques may increase charges to reflect their range of knowledge.
- Psychologist Supervision
A therapist who attends supervision receives training, advice, and feedback from a psychologist. During these supervisions, they learn how to incorporate new approaches into their sessions. They also broaden their therapeutic knowledge. It is well-documented that therapists who attend regular supervision provide better services to their clients.
It takes time and money to attend psychological supervision, but it provides real benefits. As such, social workers and psychotherapists supervised by psychologists may have more expensive rates, ranging from $100 to $250. Most insurance providers cover therapists who attend psychological supervision under psychological services.
- Office Costs
Office costs also factor into the price of therapy. Therapy practices located in cities with high costs of living will generally charge more to cover practice costs. The number of offices and the areas in which they’re located will also weigh in.
A client looking for an office in a central, convenient location needs to consider that these offices may affect session costs.
- How many sessions of therapy you attend
The number of sessions you attend depends on:
- The philosophy of your therapist
- The type and degree of mental health issues
- The treatment approach selected for you
- The nature of therapy (family therapy, couples therapy, group therapy, or individual therapy)
The style of therapy will affect the number of sessions needed to make meaningful change, and thus the cost of your journey. Cognitive-behavioral therapy, for example, is time-limited and takes between 6 to 12 sessions to complete. More in-depth therapy styles, like psychoanalytic therapy, could take months or even years to complete.
During your first sessions, your therapist should discuss your therapy plan. Keep in mind that the length of treatment may change based on unexpected circumstances and developing events. It is a part of your therapist’s job to give you regular updates about the length and type of treatment they provide.
Therapy ranges a lot in costs depending on all these factors. The quality of therapy isn't defined by the cost, but it is useful to understand why services differ, and which price point and service may be right for you!
If you feel that therapy is the right move for you, fill out our registration form below. You'll hear back from one of our dedicated client coordinators within 24 hours!