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Creating a Budget for Therapy: 3 Things You Need to Know

Creating a Budget for Therapy: 3 Things You Need to Know

If you are planning on starting therapy, the last thing you might worry about is making sure you are able to pay for this. Unfortunately, not thinking about your ability to pay before starting treatment can lead to set-backs down the road. Let’s take a look at some things to consider financially before you start therapy to prevent issues later on your counseling path.

  • Is what I’m paying reasonable for my budget? Regardless of whether or not you are covering a co-pay or paying for service fully out-of-pocket, is the amount you will owe reasonable for your budget? One way to estimate this is to use a budgeting tool like Mint to take an overall look at your finances and determine what income you’ll have each week to dedicate to treatment. Seek care that falls under the number you come up with.

  • Can I afford weekly treatment? Once you determine what your budget for counseling is, apply that to a weekly treatment model. Is this amount something you can afford over time each week? Remember – assuming four sessions per month is inaccurate, as weekly treatment should include 52 weeks each year, not 48.

  • How long can I pay for treatment? Let’s assume you determine your treatment budget, but find a provider you really think will work best for you – however, their cost of service is higher than what you can afford. Is it worth it to start treatment with a more expensive provider and hope your problems are resolved before you run out of funds? We would STRONGLY encourage not doing this. The reason is that mental health treatment takes time, and your relationship with your therapist is essential in making effective and steady progress. If you find yourself in these circumstances, you have two choices: Negotiating the therapist’s rate down, or starting with lower-cost care that better meets your financial circumstances.

As with all things we budget for, planning to pay for counseling takes time, thought, and a willingness to give up other things to make it work. By considering your budget first, your journey into therapy is far more likely to be successful and meaningful.

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Jennifer Novack
Posted on 07/16/2017 by Jennifer Novack

Jennifer is a writer for OpenCounseling. She has worked at a number of state and non-profit organizations, providing counseling, training, and policy development