by Lauren Helm and Lucas Myers
Are you thinking about beginning therapy? This can be an excellent step forward in creating the life that you want, but sometimes financial strain may act as a barrier to receiving the treatment that is right for you. Despite the potential challenges that you may encounter, read on for some helpful tips about how to find a therapist that you would like to work with and can afford to see.
- Make sure that you are aware of your mindset while you are researching the available therapists in your area. While cost may be a major determining factor in your decision-making process, try to keep in mind that it may be better to commit to treatment with a therapist whom you feel comfortable with and is skilled in what they do. You may want to consider seeing a therapist that offers evidence-based treatments (EBTs), which are psychological treatments that have been found to be effective in treating a particular type of disorder. This may reduce the risk of spending time and money on ineffective therapy. EBTs are often shorter-term treatments and thus the overall investment may be lower than you initially anticipated.
- It might be beneficial to think about whether a therapist’s level of training and expertise with a certain type of disorder or treatment is important to you. A therapist who is an expert in a particular type of evidence-based treatment may provide therapy for a higher fee, but also may offer you more skillfully-delivered treatment. However, there are also many graduate-level therapists who provide therapy under the supervision of experienced, licensed psychologists and offer low fees.
- Regardless, it is likely more helpful (and cost-effective) to make your psychological health a priority. A therapist can help you to reduce distress that may be leading to problems with work, relationships, and physical health.
Here are a few more tips for selecting an affordable therapist:
- Before your first appointment, ask your therapist about their fee.
- Discuss whether you are planning to use insurance and how that will be handled.
- If needed, ask if you qualify for a sliding scale. If they seem like an otherwise perfect fit but you cannot afford their fee don't be afraid to say so.
- Ask if the therapist might be willing to see you on an every-other-week basis. The overall cost of your treatment will remain the same, but twice monthly visits may be easier to fit into your budget than weekly visits.
- If they can't meet your budget, ask for a referral. They likely know someone that has a similar style and approach who may have a more flexible fee.
- If you don't have insurance, or have chosen not to use it, consider seeing an intern at a clinic. Although they are still relatively less experienced, many interns have years of excellent education. The best part about working with an intern is that you get their expertise, as well as that of the supervisor with whom they are working. Many cities or colleges have training institutes with interns on staff that can accept very low rates.
Remember, the time and money that is spent on therapy is an investment, and requires wise decision-making. Therapy is an important investment and may be a significant and cost-worthy step towards enhancing your health and well-being.
If you'd like to speak with a therapist at the Center for Stress and Anxiety Management, please click here.