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Where terms like premium, copayment, deductible and out-of-pocket maximum can make what should be a simple process even more cumbersome and that's if you have insurance. For those who do not, regular doctor's appointments or a sudden illness can lead to extreme financial hardship, making treatment, let alone a service such as therapy, seem inaccessible. Fortunately, there are free and low-cost options available to anyone who needs treatment. Receive personalized treatment from the comfort of your home with Cerebral.
Take Your Free Mental Health Assessment Today. Therapy is “a way to help people with a wide variety of mental illnesses and emotional difficulties,” according to the American Psychiatric Association (APA). There are several types of therapy that vary by diagnosis and treatment modalities, but in essence, therapy is treatment for the types of mental illnesses, from anxiety and depression to post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) to help the person improve their daily functioning that can be seen hampered by his illness. If you have health insurance, you may have a copay for visits to the therapist.
If your therapist is considered “out of network,” you may have to pay out of pocket, which means you will have to pay the full fee. Some therapists also allow their patients to pay on a sliding scale, with or without insurance. If you find a therapist who has a sliding scale payment plan, you will often use your income information to determine the cost of your sessions. Ultimately, your hourly rate may vary from therapist to therapist, but the cost is calculated taking into account your financial means and needs.
While the cost of therapy cannot be fixed with a single figure, know that the price does not have to prohibit you from seeking support. Organizations such as the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) offer free helplines that provide mental health support from volunteers. Free and low-income services also exist, and federally funded health care facilities often have income-based therapy options, and college students specifically can access free mental health and counseling services at their college or university, according to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA). Insurance companies aren't required to provide mental health benefits, but many large group plans do provide some coverage, according to the APA.
In the meantime, if you have health coverage through the Affordable Care Act (ACA), plans must include mental health benefits. Medicaid also includes mental health coverage. See your specific plan's description of covered services to determine if it includes mental health benefits, as well as to understand their in-network and out-of-network costs. While seeking therapy is a personal decision, certain factors may indicate that you need help.
For example, if your problems or thoughts are negatively affecting relationships, work or school, or are leading to unhealthy coping behaviors, you should consider therapy, says Sanam Hafeez, neuropsychologist and director of Comprehensive Consultation Psychological Services, P, C. Factors that may inform your choice of therapist include cost, experience, service offerings, and accessibility. But the most important consideration is your comfort level, says Teralyn Sell, PhD. Make sure a therapist is right for you by reviewing your specializations, having a trial session, and relying on your gut instinct, she adds.
If you don't know where to start, Hafeez recommends seeking a referral from your primary care doctor or from a trusted friend or family member who may have had success with a therapist in the past. Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is one of the most common types of psychotherapy and the one that usually comes to mind when a person thinks about mental health treatment. Within CBT, therapists often specialize in several areas of treatment, such as depression, anxiety, and substance abuse. Other types of therapy include eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) therapy, which is often used to treat post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) by rewiring the brain with a sequence of rapid eye movements, group therapy, and more.
The frequency of sessions varies depending on individual needs and sometimes insurance coverage (your insurance company may limit the number of visits per year if it is not considered medically necessary). Your therapist will likely recommend a session frequency based on your particular concerns and goals. If you have health insurance, Hafeez recommends starting with your provider's website, as they can provide a directory of therapists who accept your insurance. In addition, resources such as the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) helpline can help you target local centers, groups and organizations that offer therapy based on your specific needs.
On the secure Healthsapiens website, online therapy platforms connect you to licensed providers, which may include psychiatrists, psychologists, licensed marriage and family therapists, licensed clinical social workers, and licensed professional counselors. Discover here our best options and the best online therapy that suits your needs and preferences. The information provided in Forbes Health is for educational purposes only. Your health and well-being is unique to you, and the products and services we review may not be appropriate for your circumstances.
We do not offer individual medical advice, diagnosis or treatment plans. For personal advice, consult a medical professional. Forbes Health adheres to strict standards of editorial integrity. As far as we know, all content is accurate on the date of publication, although it is possible that the offers contained herein will no longer be available.
The opinions expressed are solely those of the author and have not been provided, approved or otherwise endorsed by our advertisers. Ashley Lauretta is a journalist and lives in Austin, Texas. His signatures can be found in WIRED, the Atlantic, SELF, ELLE, elemental, ESPNW, Men's Journal and more. Sliding scale therapists are psychotherapists, psychologists, and social workers who adjust their hourly rate to help make therapy more affordable for the client.
Therapy apps, such as Talkspace and Betterhelp, allow you to connect with a therapist online or via text message. Busy health and business professionals, first-time mothers, and students often find teletherapy attractive because they can talk to their therapists from anywhere. In addition to online therapy, mental health apps, such as Calm, Headspace, and Expectful, can teach meditation, relaxation, and breathing exercises. Not only do these apps help people create a daily habit of self-care, but research shows that meditation can reduce stress and increase well-being.
There are local and online options depending on your needs. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, online support groups have gained popularity for keeping patients safe. Mental Health America lists resources from specialized support groups on its website. If you or a loved one has recently been diagnosed with a medical condition, such as cancer or diabetes, hospital social workers can also provide a list of support groups in the community.
Finally, support group costs may vary. Addiction support groups, such as Alcoholics Anonymous, are free, while other groups may charge a small fee. Part of the reason is because online therapists don't have as much overhead as therapists who only work in an office. However, the reimbursement may allow a client to see a preferred therapist who does not accept the client's insurance without having to cover the full cost.
While the profession requires at least a master's degree, many therapists earn doctorates, medical degrees, and other specialty certifications. After you decide that you would like to find a therapist, you can work together with him to draw up a plan for how long or how often you would like to meet with him or her. BetterHelp provides support by making expert therapists available to patients, helping people overcome challenges and difficult times. You can get a better idea of what therapy could cost by visiting an online therapist directory and searching for professionals in your area.
If you plan to pay for your sessions on your own, ask if your therapist works on a sliding scale. For clients who see a therapist who doesn't accept health insurance, asking if a therapist offers a sliding scale rate and requesting partial reimbursement from an insurance company for out-of-pocket costs are two ways to reduce the cost of therapy. It seems to be a career that only focuses on the therapist making a lot of money and not on the very important issues of helping people. So what is a licensed therapist supposed to do? Increase the cost of counseling to create a safe space for your customers.
Therapists spend a lot of time and effort preparing for their session and then write their clinical documentation after each session, complete paperwork for insurance companies, continuing education classes, reading the latest research, etc. It's a good temporary solution until you can find a long-term therapist online or in your area. Your therapist's office may create a ledger for you to submit to your insurance company for reimbursement. .