Print Posted on 11/06/2017 in How-To

OpenCounseling Viewpoint: Working Together to Making Counseling Affordable

OpenCounseling Viewpoint: Working Together to Making Counseling Affordable

Why did you decide to become a counselor?

It’s a question that many of us have considered at one point or another in our careers. For new practitioners, this may be something they gave an answer to frequently in classes and coursework, with an answer often intertwined with their desire to give back to others and personal experiences regarding mental health. For more veteran therapists, this question may be asked in moments of doubt, especially when the stresses of operating a practice and finding new clients becomes overwhelming.

The answers to this are as varied as there are practitioners, but what we often see is a theme around the following: A desire to help others. A need to help those who are in need of treatment and do our part in elevating them to a place of contentment, or at least one of successful daily functioning. Once we’ve worked in this arena for long enough, we learn the humbling fact that for many of our clients, our services and support are a lifeline and sometimes the only source of grounding that our clients receive on a consistent basis. There is so much good in what we do, but the responsibility that comes with providing effective and affordable services to such a vulnerable group can be something we never quite expected.

At OpenCounseling, we’ve created a space that is dedicated to addressing one of the biggest issues faced by clients today, regardless of age, gender, background, and even diagnosis. And that is the common thread of counseling affordability. No matter whether a client is insured or uninsured, low or moderate income, or in a rural or urban area, the ability to locate and engage in counseling that meets both their budget and their needs is a source of stress.

Obviously, there are many things that should be done in the scope of broader, policy-level changes, specifically regarding insurance coverage in general and the role of mental health parity in that. The general population’s knowledge of and the values we place on effective mental health treatment must also be addressed. But these changes take time and are often outside of our immediate control. So what can we really do, as providers, to start changing the tide of mental health treatment access?

The answer is affordable counseling. It means re-evaluating fee structures and the use of sliding scale to accommodate a small portion of clients in your own schedule. It means working diligently on behalf of insured clients to help ensure their claims are covered. It means taking care to support those who you cannot provide treatment to by linking them with other resources or therapists who can accept what they are able to pay.

At OpenCounseling, we aren’t just giving you the space to advertise your practice. We are building a community of like-minded mental health practitioners who see the power we have as counselors to start addressing the issue of the high cost of mental health services. We aren’t just focused on supporting clients though – we’re also determined to support therapists as well. Part of that lies in the resources and research our team conducts to keep you informed of the issues that matter most to you.

In the comment section below, let us know what topics pique your interest. How can we better support you in addressing the issue of affordable counseling? What are some things in this arena that you feel you need the most education in? How can we help prepare all the members of our community to work together to help meet this need while ensuring that your practices are able to thrive? Consider taking a look at some of our past blog posts – which are the most helpful? What are areas that we could do the research in to get you more information about these topics?

We welcome your feedback and deeply appreciate your willingness to share. If you’d like to leave private feedback, please visit our “Contact Us” page. Thank you for your dedication to this work and all that you do for your clients every day.