Is Psychotherapy Worth The Cost?
Therapy comes in many different forms, but the most common form of therapy is called psychotherapy, also referred to as talk therapy. We know that figuring out if therapy is worth the cost can be a little tough, so let’s discuss some of the pain points that have led you here.
With over 20 years in this industry, we’ve learned that it’s not just the financial cost, but also the time it costs you to be a part of therapy. It can get pretty pricey, and consume a whole lot of time especially if you’re in weekly, hour long sessions. So, do the pros outweigh the cons?
Let's talk through some of the benefits as well as obstacles of psychotherapy to help YOU decide if therapy is worth the cost.
How much does psychotherapy cost?
First things first, how much does psychotherapy cost? The cost of therapy can be different depending on where you are in the world.
In North America, most private practices charge anywhere from $60-$300 per hour to work with a registered psychotherapist.
Different insurance plans often cover this, but many people end up paying out of pocket. There are some sliding scale options as well as more affordable practices you can find if you do some digging, but generally, you can expect that $60-$300 price point.
Why so pricey?
So what makes therapy so expensive? Here are a few reasons therapy costs so much:
- Type of therapy: different therapists specialize in different forms of therapy. Certain types of therapy require different techniques and treatment options that regular talk therapy can’t provide.
- Qualifications: the more qualified a therapist is, the more expensive they tend to be. Seeing a registered psychotherapist is also usually more expensive, but it means their service are being supervised by a regulatory body that will help strengthen standards and ensure consistent compliance.
- Session length: typically a therapy session runs for about 50-60 minutes and that can change depending on your needs. Keep in mind, however, that your therapist's work doesn’t stop there! Post-session, they do a lot of documentation and processing. They also do a LOT of research to make sure they are ready with the best tools and resources for your next session!
What can I expect to gain from therapy?
While everyone's journey is different, therapy can provide you the tools and resources you need to deal with life’s challenges. Whether you are dealing with issues surrounding anxiety, depression, trauma, or just day-to-day stressors, therapy has the potential to change your life.
Here are a few benefits of therapy:
- Treat existing mental health conditions
First and foremost, psychotherapy can help treat mental health conditions you might be suffering from. For many, mental health is a newer concept that’s only come to the forefront of discussion over these last 5 or so years.
Currently, it’s estimated that about 450 million people worldwide are suffering from mental illness, with less than half actively seeking help.
Psychotherapy is your first line of defense against most mental health conditions.
- Provides a safe, non-judgemental space
Most of us don’t have enough safe spaces in our lives or people we can confide in when we are going through things. The people we do confide in are our friends or family members who, although they might be a supportive ear, ultimately will be biased and won’t be able to provide you with the right lens to view and navigate your circumstance.
Therapists are qualified professionals with the right knowledge to help you navigate your experiences!
- Develop healthy coping skills
Many of us weren’t taught healthy coping mechanisms at young ages, and often develop unhealthy habits in our adult life because of this. These might develop as different addictive behaviors, self-harm, or negative thought patterns.
Therapy teaches you healthy ways to cope with different experiences.
- Change bad thoughts into good ones
Have you heard of thinking traps? Negative thought patterns are common and easy to develop when you don’t have the right tools to stay positive. They tend to develop pretty early on in life and manifest as that voice in our heads that stop us from taking risks and trying new things.
Therapy provides you with the means to free yourself from those negative thought traps.
- Teaches conflict resolution
This is one of the best tools therapy can teach you. We often deal with problems the way our parents taught us. When you get into a conflict, it might be common to do things like shout at one another, cut people off, forget to listen, or even at times get physically violent. Don’t get me wrong, some of our parents were great at teaching conflict resolution, but even the best problem solvers can learn different ways to manage conflict.
- Therapy empowers you
Therapy can be extremely empowering. When you realize that you don’t have to be a backseat driver in your own life, you start to take accountability for your mental health and the steps you need to take to improve it.
It helps to have your therapist cheer you on as you move through your therapy journey.
Time to talk about obstacles
As awesome as therapy is, there are still some obstacles that could make therapy challenging, or even limit your access altogether. We’ve discussed some of the benefits of psychotherapy, so now we’ll discuss these potential obstacles:
- The Cost
The cost of psychotherapy is probably the most obvious obstacle when it comes to therapy. It can be scary to pay such a big bill on something that seems intangible. For some, the price tag can push people away from starting their therapy journey. If this is your obstacle, look into alternatives like therapy apps, or even virtual therapy! To learn more about the cost of therapy, check out this article that answers Why Therapy Costs So Much.
- Feelings of intimidation
Let’s face it, putting your thoughts and feelings on the table in front of a stranger can be super scary. Scary enough that plenty of people just aren’t comfortable with it, and that’s okay! The good news is - these “strangers” are qualified professionals talking to you in judgment-free spaces. Let them know you are feeling intimidated and they will work with you in whatever capacity feels comfortable.
Just remember, it’s totally normal to be intimidated at first.
- Finding the right fit
Finding the right fit can be a really tough part of the therapy process. There are plenty of amazing, qualified therapists ready to take you through the journey. That being said, not every therapist's style is the same. You might not love your first therapist, sometimes not even your second. But don't let one or two bad attempts be the only time you try. Do some research, make some calls, and even ask your friends.
The right therapist for you is right around the corner!
- It’s not a quick fix
For most people, therapy can last anywhere upwards of 6 months. Many people go in and out of psychotherapy throughout their lifetime. It’s not always consistent, mostly just at times where life has gotten a little harder and they need extra support. There are options like “solution-focused therapy” which is often targeted at a specific issue, and concludes when the solution is resolved. But most forms of talk therapy are ongoing, and for some people, that’s not what they are looking for. If you’re looking for a quick fix, psychotherapy might not be the best route for you.
Let's be realistic
Therapy isn’t all sunshine and rainbows. You don’t walk in for a session or two and come out with all the answers to life's problems. One of the biggest misconceptions about therapy is that it’s an end-all-be-all process. That’s just not the case. Therapy is a commitment that takes time and energy. It takes a lot of emotional strength to process trauma you thought you forgot about, or talk out your biggest fears.
But ultimately, therapy is one of the best ways to combat mental health conditions.
Many people start and stop therapy throughout life, but some of the best results come from seeing your therapist regularly. Even after dealing with your old issues, new ones are bound to occur. Having someone hold your hand on your journey and support you makes it a lot easier to remember the tools you have in your toolbelt.
That doesn’t mean you’ll have to see them weekly forever either! It’s pretty common to see your therapist weekly at the start of your journey, then move into bi-weekly or even monthly check-in sessions when your therapist feels like you’ve made it through the brunt of your symptoms.
So is it really worth the cost?
If there is one thing you take away from reading this, let it be the understanding that therapy can be an extremely useful tool in combating mental illness. That being said, only you can decide if psychotherapy is worth the cost. At KMA Therapy, we understand that not everyone is ready to make the jump just yet! If you are still trying to figure out what’s right for you, check out a few more articles that will hopefully answer some other questions you have:
If you want to skip the articles and get some more info, take a minute to register with us and get all the information you need to help you decide if therapy is right for you.