Most people have to make adjustments to pay for therapy, and that can be uncomfortable, at least in the beginning. After the initial shock, people usually find that the money is a worthwhile investment in their happiness, peace, relationships, self-esteem, success, parenting, etc. The fee we agree on shouldn’t cause serious hardship in your life, but probably won’t be covered by extra spending money either.
I want to explain your options, so you can choose what works best for you.
My fee for 50-minute sessions is $175. When people want to come to therapy more than a few times, and can't afford to continue for $175/session, we talk about what they can afford without endangering their (or their dependents') basic needs, like home, food, and health. I like to see people settle on a fee they can afford as a regular budget item, so that they can leave therapy when they are ready, rather than because they run out of money.
When my fee is out of reach for someone, I offer one or more of four options:
- A lowered per session fee ($125 for students and unemployed or low income or $150 for most working people who can't afford $175),
- A monthly fee between $500 and $700, regardless of the number of sessions we meet, up to five. (Most months it will be four, with an occasional extra session, but when either of us cancels due to vacation or illness etc, it may be less than four).*
- A referral to my WomensPsychotherapy colleague, Pamela Kimmel, MFT, whose fees is $110, and may slide as low as $85.
- A referral to an outside colleague, good clinic or other therapist whose fees are lower than ours at WomensPsychotherapy.
Whatever we decide may require re-negotiating if your financial resources change significantly.
Fees are payable by cash, check, Paypal, or I can swipe your credit card in the office.
*The monthly fee added up over a year’s time is a discount from what you would pay for 52 sessions at my full fee. So it is based on the assumption that you and I collectively will cancel some sessions (a total average of 12 times per year is statistically what generally happens when people pay per session). This way, you know exactly what to budget for therapy each month; and you get a discount if you rarely cancel, which also motivates consistent commitment to therapy. This option won’t be a good choice for you, if you will be uncomfortable paying the same amount on months we only meet 1-3 times due to your canceling or my canceling, as you pay in months we meet 4 times (or 5).
Naturally if you have insurance that covers therapy, it’s tempting to use it, and may even be your only option. So let me say a few words about insurance. If your insurance covers “out-of-network providers,” I will give you a statement about what you've paid me (weekly, monthly, or however often you want). You can submit the statement to your insurance company and they will very likely reimburse you. They do require a diagnosis, but no other personal information about you.
If you have certain PPOs or HMOs or something that only pays for therapists “in network,” they will not reimburse you for my fees. I don't work with these companies, and you will find most good, established therapists don't, because:
1. The company controls the therapy, based on cost, not on patient benefit;
2. They compromise your privacy by collecting personal information about you and about your work in therapy;
3. They require significant paperwork; and
4. They pay a small fraction of the going rate.
Be wary of therapists who are willing to make all of these sacrifices to your treatment and to their own work. I would rather lower my fee somewhat so you can pay it without insurance than see you compromise your privacy, and the quality of your therapy.
That said, if you want to use your in-network insurance, your insurance company should have a list of in-network providers. I would recommend asking them for at least three names, so you can “shop” for the therapist who works best with you.
Please let me know if you have any questions.