Affordable Ways To Get Therapy
Just like it seems like health care should be available to everyone—no matter their financial status—doesn’t it seem like mental health care should be accessible by the masses, too? It’s something you may not have thought much about, until you needed it. Many individuals have this frustrating, funny and ironic situation: they slowly come to terms with the fact that they could use a little help in the mental health department, and they finally put their pride aside enough to seek out help only to find out they cannot afford it. Talk about a kick to that pride they were just trying to ignore. Taking care of your mental wellbeing is just as important as taking care of your physical body. In fact, some would say taking care of your mental health is an important part of taking care of your physical body since things like eating disorders and high blood pressure can stem from mental conditions. If you feel like you need someone to talk to but can’t pay for a private clinic, here are affordable ways to get therapy.
Reach out to your religious leader
Almost every religious center—regardless of your faith—offers free counseling. Considering that places like churches and synagogues are, in the big picture, places where groups of people seek counseling on life, it is a part of the rabbi/priest/pastor’s job to offer private counseling to members of the center.
See what your insurance covers
You may be surprised to find that your insurance covers part or all of therapy, so long as you go to one of their providers. Call them to discuss your options before looking into uncovered providers.
Add mental health benefits
If your insurance does not cover mental health providers, ask what it would cost to add those benefits. You may be able to increase your monthly premium by as little as $20 or $30. Considering that a private therapist can cost $180 a session, hiking up your premium slightly is well worth it.
Ask about a sliding scale
Many therapists offer a sliding pay scale through which they charge you based on what you make. Don’t forget to ask about this. Some may even offer pro-rated sessions if you request them. So even if they typically only offer hour-long sessions for $160, they may offer you half-hour sessions for $80.
Be a subject
Students receiving their Ph.D. in psychology or marriage and family therapist degree are constantly conducting studies on common conditions like bipolar disorder, depression, anxiety, insomnia and more. Call your local universities to see if you can participate in a study. You may even be paid to receive therapy.
Cut back on your “other therapy”
If you need therapy, there is a good chance you’ve been seeking it in other ways like through alcohol, shopping, travel, interior decorating, eating at restaurants and entertainment. If you cut back on those expenses, you may be able to afford therapy. Once you’ve worked on your issues, you may not even crave those shopping trips anymore. When you think about it that way, therapy could save you money in the long run.
Ask about pro bono work
Many therapists offer pro bono work. It’s an important part of being a member of the mental health community—helping those who cannot afford therapy. They may not advertise it, but you can ask.
Call a hotline
You do not need to be suicidal or facing an immediate crisis to call a hotline. Hotlines are available to anyone who needs somebody to talk to and cannot, for whatever reason, see a therapist in person. And some hotlines are manned by trained therapists, putting in volunteer work.
Download an app
There are dozens of great mental health apps available. Through some apps, you can directly ask a question of a real mental health professional. Some therapists make money on the side by providing their services to these apps and receiving a portion of the app sales revenue.
Try the local clinic
Your local health care clinic likely offers some mental health services at a discounted price, if not for free. Even if they don’t, they are rich sources of information on how to find low-cost mental health providers in your town. Find a local health center here.
Go to the graduates
Graduates who are studying to be psychologists must complete hundreds of hours of free therapy in order to be certified. They may not have the years under their belt that a professional therapist does, but they do have the same training and can be wonderful resources.
Visit teaching hospitals
Psychologists need somewhere to practice, just like surgeons, nurses and any other medical professional. Look up teaching hospitals in your city and ask if you can make an appointment with one of their therapists-in-training.
Look into group sessions
Many therapists offer group sessions so that several of their clients can get a cost break. Ask your therapist if she offers these. You could also look into support groups at your local health center, church or university.
Look into disability payments
If your mental health issues take away from your ability to do your work, you could apply for disability payments. These can help subsidize the cost of your therapy.
Use your student discount
If you are taking night classes, are in a graduate program, or are a student of any capacity, then you likely have a student ID. Many psychologists offer student discounts. Furthermore, your school probably has an on-campus counselor.