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How Much Does Therapy Cost Without Health Insurance in 2021?

Madeline Hlobik08 Sep 2021

Therapy treats various mental health concerns and behavioral issues via communicating and skill-building with a qualified mental health professional. The cost of seeing a therapist depends on the number of sessions you book, your location, if your therapist charges per hour or session, and more. On average, a therapy session costs between $60 to $120 for an hour-long session for those who do not have health insurance. 

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The Cost of Therapy without Insurance

If you do not have health insurance, the cost of seeing a therapist can vary based on where you reside. For example, if you visit a therapist in New York or Los Angeles, the average rate for therapists can be about $250 per hour. Below is a table that shows the median therapy session rates for those without health insurance within different states.

The Cost of Therapy Based on Location 

LocationMedian Therapy Session Rates Without Insurance
Florida$90 or below
Michigan$90 or below
California$120
Alabama$120
Oregon$120
Alaska$150 or above
Iowa$150 or above 
New Jersey$150 or above
Hawaii$150 or above

Source: https://www.simplepractice.com/blog/average-therapy-session-rate-by-state/ 

The Cost of Therapy at Different Clinics

The table below summarizes costs for 50 minutes to hour-long individual therapy sessions in specific clinics throughout the United States.

LocationAverage Cost of Individual Therapy Session Without Insurance
Therapy Group of NYC in New York City, NY$350
Boston Evening Therapy Associates in Boston, MA$165
Westside Psychotherapy in Madison, WI$165
Good Therapy in San Francisco, CA$205
Springs Therapy LLC in Colorado Springs, CO$120

Factors that Influence the Cost of Therapy

Most individuals spend between $60 to $120 on average for an hour-long session. Given this range, most therapists charge an average rate of $90 per hour. However, various factors impact this cost, such as sliding scale therapy, the type of therapist you see, and the type of therapy session you are attending. 

Sliding Scale Therapy 

A unique factor that impacts therapy rates is whether or not an individual qualifies for sliding scale therapy. If a therapist’s standard rate is $100 per hour, yet you make less than a certain amount of income each year, you could obtain hour-long therapy sessions for a price as low as $50. Every practice and therapist has their own set of sliding scale fees that can help those with fewer resources who still seek some form of therapy.

To find out if you qualify for sliding scale therapy, try contacting the clinic you are interested in. Through this, they will be able to work one-on-one with you to concoct a payment plan based on your needs. Additionally, if you have health insurance, it can be cheaper for you to pay for your therapist out of pocket with a sliding scale fee than utilizing your health insurance. 

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Type of Specialist

There are a variety of specialists available with different niche backgrounds that offer therapy sessions. For example, a psychiatrist is a doctor qualified to treat psychological and physical symptoms related to mental health conditions. A psychologist is not a medical doctor; however, most psychologists have their Ph.D. and offer different evidence-based therapy options to their patients. 

Additionally, a counselor is an individual who can help treat and offer insight into various mental health conditions. Still, they are typically overseen by a registered psychologist and have a minimum of five years of experience. Lastly, a psychotherapist utilizes talk therapy to treat people with emotional and mental problems. Below is a list of average costs per type of specialist. 

Cost of Therapy Based on Specialist

Type of SpecialistAverage Cost Per Session Without Health Insurance
Psychiatrist$100 — $200
Psychologist$70 — $150
Counselor$20 — $80
Psychotherapist$100 — $300

Source: https://thervo.com/costs/how-much-does-therapy-cost 

Different Types of Therapy Sessions Costs

Take a look at this table below for the average costs of different forms of therapy. 

Type of TherapyAverage Cost Per Session Without Health Insurance
Individual Therapy$70 — $150
Group Therapy$30 — $80
Couples Therapy$70 — $250
Marriage Counseling$70 — $250
Depression Therapy$100 — $250
Sex Therapy$100 — $200
Art TherapyFree — $100
Grief Counseling$70 — $150
Anger Management $50 — $150
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy$100 — $200

Source: https://thervo.com/costs/how-much-does-therapy-cost 

The Importance of Visiting a Therapist

Around 450 million people, one in four individuals, suffer from mental health disorders that impact their daily lives. However, only about 40% of individuals with a mental health disorder seek treatment. In today’s world, especially given the social isolation that the pandemic has posed on us and the age of social media, these mental health problems have begun to impact more and more individuals of younger ages.

Therapy serves as an outlet to taking steps in bettering one’s mental health. In therapy, individuals are taught skills to address symptoms on their own. Because of this, research has shown that the benefits of therapy outlast the benefits of medication alone.

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When to Visit a Therapist

When considering visiting a therapist, it is important to remember that seeing a therapist can be the first step on the path of self-care. Some common signs may indicate seeing a therapist would be beneficial, such as:

  • It isn't easy to regulate your emotions. At times in life, you may feel hit with a flood of different emotions: anger, sadness, anxiety, and more. It is important to note how often you feel these bursts of emotions and how intensely you feel them. Through consulting with a therapist, you can learn to be vulnerable and identify deeper issues at the root of these feelings.
  • Your work or school performance is declining. With this metric, individuals experiencing a tough time performing well in school/work could also be fighting some emotional or mental challenges, as these issues can impair concentration, memory, and energy. Meeting with a therapist could help you learn how to manage stress better and learn more ways to solve it actively.
  • It is difficult for you to build and maintain relationships. Mental health can impact our relationships by prompting us to be more insecure or make us want to slowly back away from others around us. Additionally, it cannot be easy to cultivate or create new relationships. By visiting a therapist, you can enhance your social skills, which will enable you to feel more comfortable with building solid relationships around you.
  • You are grieving. Grieving can be a slow, drawn-out process, especially if you do not have anyone to share the grief with. Through visiting with a therapist, you will be provided with a comfortable space to openly discuss your emotions and learn how to better cope with the grief.
  • You hope to improve certain qualities within yourself but don’t know where to start. Therapy can allow you to see certain traits within yourself and identify tough points that you didn't even know were present. By better understanding yourself, you can learn how to better interact in certain situations and impact others.

After deciding that you would like to seek a therapist, you can work together with your therapist to devise a plan about how long or often you would like to meet with them. On average, individuals who visit a therapist will go once a week for 45 minutes. Therapy sessions are most effective if you go 12 to 16 times for 45 minutes per session. 

Therapy Cost Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

To better understand what a therapy session entails and what to expect to gain out of one, look at these commonly asked questions revolving around therapy below.

What should I look for in a therapist?

Finding a therapist you feel comfortable with is critical to ensuring that you benefit and get the most out of your therapy sessions. When deciding what therapist to look for, the first question is: what do you want to get out of therapy? Do you want to process grief? Or are you looking for tips to conquer stress? 

After evaluating these questions, consider gathering recommendations from close friends and family, as they are individuals who know you best. Additionally, some factors to consider when looking for a therapist are the amount of training a therapist has, whether or not the therapist is in-network with your insurance, and the level of specification you want to be covered in your therapy sessions. 

Can I see a therapist virtually?

Given the circumstances throughout this past year especially, individuals have been able to meet with therapists virtually. Because of this online nature, individuals can choose which therapist they would like to see. If they reside in Los Angeles but have a therapist elsewhere, they can meet online and have sessions virtually.

Why should I meet with a therapist?

Therapy can help with various outlets within your life. By meeting with a therapist, you will be able to destress and truly reflect on your life to see what you would like to be improved or what is causing you stress. A therapist can also offer guidance and advice on healing processes, everyday life situations, and they can help you keep your mental health in check. 

Bottom Line

Overall, therapy can be a significant and worthwhile expense. Your mental health impacts so many aspects of your everyday life, from your physical health to how you maintain your relationships. Thus, it is essential to maintain your mental health. Through meeting with a therapist, you can heal, process, reflect and receive guidance on how to live your healthiest life.