How much would you pay for counseling from a psychologist/psychotherapist?

I am going to a therapist for the first time in decades tomorrow for grief counseling. She was recommended by my late wife’s sister (actually by her therapist). From what I can gather on the net, she is a psychologist.

I told her I would be paying cash, as I have no health insurance. She said her rate was $120 for 45 minutes. So, if I see her once a week, that’s over $480 a month for 3 hours of sessions.

Does this sound right for the market? It is in southern New Hampshire. I told her I couldn’t afford to see her on a continuing basis at that rate. She said we would talk about it tomorrow, and to have a figure in mind that I could afford. Remember, this is a cash price, not billed to insurance.

I am thinking, $70-80 per 45 minute session. Am I way out of line, or can I do better? Also, the last time I was in therapy, it was 50 minutes per session. Is 45 minutes the new standard?

You might be able to do better. I would call around. Offices should be willing to give you a price. FWIW, she is almost definitely getting around $100 for the first session and $60 to $80 a session thereafter when she is paid by insurance. Most therapists charge more for cash pay, just because they can. I think that’s wrong, so I don’t, but many of my colleagues do. Insurance sets the therapy time limit as 45 or more. Most of us do 50 minute hours, though.

Because people who can’t afford insurance have more money? Does not compute.

I’ve actually seen it at a much higher rate.

I guess it depends how the therapist is degreed (Ph.D versus LSW) and whether they have a private practice. Also, experience probably is an issue. People who have built in some years and clientele charge more than newbies right out of school.

I would search some more. I’ve seen therapists in the $90/session ballpark. That
is still a lot, but maybe this is more affordable for you. I would not be able to afford $120 every week. Maybe once a month, but then I’d have to wonder if once-a-month is really that helpful.

No wonder so many people are so fucked up. I cannot afford to seek help.

When I was widowed, I had good success with an LSW. He agreed to treat me on a sliding scale and I ended up paying almost nothing. Or you might call around and see if there are some county services available at reduced cost.

Good Luck, Fear Itself. I know it doesn’t feel like it, but it will get easier. It’s gonna hurt like hell in the meantime though.

The option I would pick is not listed. Personally, I would not go to someone to talk about my problems.

I would not go or pay anything as I think they are all nuts.

I’ve paid anywhere from $80 to $130 an hour for P-docs. I have never, ever had an insurance that paid for it so we always had to pay the cash price.

Fear Itself, it’s worse than not being able to pay for it. Like a dutiful mother, I took my son to a psychiatrist when he was 16 years old. He has since seen two or three others (none were of much help to him). Because of that history he is now uninsurable (aged 23). Yes, I know that soon they will have to take him, but I can guarantee you that I won’t be able to afford the premiums, since they can charge whatever they like.

I was recently sent to a therapist for a specific post-trauma issue, and the cost was $110 per 40 minutes. She did not take insurance. I actually had a local non-profit pay for my sessions, but I only went twice as the therapist said I didn’t really need to be there. So if you can’t find someone more affordable or willing to do a sliding scale fee, you may wish to see if there are any local organizations that will help you out.

How do I locate such local organizations?

I pay my (B.A. psychologist) therapist just over $62 per weekly session (~$314/month max, usually less as we skip an average of 1 session every month for various reasons.).

I pay my (MMed) psychiatrist, who I see every 2 months, just over $75 for a session, where he reviews my general situation and renews my script. He’s also in intermittent contact with my therapist. That rate is a discount for cash payment vs what the Medical Aid rate is.

I’m not in the US, though…

Could your sister ask her therapist if she knows of any organizations that would help? Or could you ask your therapist directly when you talk to her about price?

You might also try contacting local grief support groups to see if they could recommend anyone that help with the bill (you might be able to find a list in a local newspaper or online).

If there is a university near you (or if there isn’t, just search out the best university in your state), you can also try contacting their psychology/counseling/child and family development/cooperative extension department, as it was my experience that a lot of the people in the non-profit that helped me out were graduate students from our state university.

I tried a google search for grief hotlines, but did not turn up much that didn’t seem suicide-oriented. If you could find one, they might help. Even calling the local hospital might help you turn something up.

Sorry I can’t be more specific (I was referred directly to mine by the police), but I hope you can work something out to make your therapy more affordable. I was floored when I found out how much it actually costs, and like you I wondered how anyone ever managed to get professional help. If you can only afford it once or twice a month, maybe you could balance it out with a free support group on the off weeks (if there is one in your area). Anyway, I’m sorry for your loss, and I hope you get the help you want.

Zero, because I cannot afford them.

I also have no insurance and pay cash. Recently I needed to make an appointment for my daughter - $200 for the initial visit, $100 for the 45 minute visits after that.

I declined.

Also, think about group therapy. The rates are considerably lower and I’m told that it’s particularly useful for grief issues.

I’m in a higher cost-of-living area than New Hampshire, and I pay my CLSW $100/hour, weekly. He really gives an hour’s time in an hour session, sometimes more if something needs to be worked though. I didn’t expect much help going in, but the man has been worth every penny.

Do you really have no health insurance, or were you told that your insurance doesn’t cover this? I was told I didn’t have coverage for this issue, but low and behold, when I file the claim form for out-of-network service, they reimburse me for half the costs.

I have no health insurance, for any medical expenses, at all. Catastrophic coverage with a $9,000 deductible and 60% co-insurance is $700 a month. Don’t get old.

Sorry to hear that. I plan on getting old eventually, and I sincerely hope that I’m never in that boat.


In the first Psychology class I took in college, the assistant professor in charge said “this profession has a tremendous attraction for people with problems of their own.”

He was so right.

You’ll get similar results talking with a bartender or whomever.

I’m sure the therapists on this board appreciate very much being insulted in that way.