It happens to the best of people. There may come a time in your life when you need personal counseling or when your child needs counseling, or when you and your spouse do. Counseling can be very expensive, however, often running upwards of $160 per hour or more.
For many families, even when it’s needed, counseling can be out of reach financially. However, it doesn’t have to be. With careful research, you should be able to find a way to get counseling when you need it.
Here are the best places to search:
Read Self-Help Books
Self-help books can be a good, low cost, starter option. You may read through a few books that address your specific concerns and try to implement the strategies suggested. Often, for those with minor issues, this is all that’s needed. If you find that you still need help, then pursue the options below.
Often the best place to start to find counseling is with your church. While some ministers may offer counseling, most do not.
The church secretary should be able to refer you to counselors that they recommend, however. These recommendations will often be for other congregates who are certified counselors. If you explain your financial situation, they may offer you a discounted rate.
Your employer’s Human Resources department is another good place to start. They will be able to tell you if counseling is covered under your insurance. If it is, they can tell you the specific counselors that accept your insurance.
Often times, your insurance will not cover counseling, but your employer may offer a wellness program that covers three to five therapy sessions. If you’re going for a minor problem, this may be all that you need. If not, you can continue to see the therapist as long as you can afford to go.
If you are lucky enough to have a university nearby with a graduate psychology program, check there.
Often you can get therapy there at a discounted rate. You’ll be seen by graduate students training to be counselors, but they’re supervised by counselors with degrees and many years of experience.
Another recommendation is to call a counseling center that you find online. Ask them what their rate is and if they offer discounts. Some counseling offices will offer you a discount if you pay cash at the appointment. That saves them time and money because they won’t have to file paperwork with the insurance companies. Other counseling offices offer discounts on a limited basis based on your financial standing.
If they don’t, ask them if they know of any counseling centers in the area that offer counseling on a sliding scale basis (the amount you pay is based on your income). If they can recommend one to you, call that one next on your list.
If counseling is outside your financial ability, consider finding a support group. Many support groups are led by a counselor, but obviously, you won’t get one-on-one attention since the group will likely range from 10 to 20 participants. You can find support groups for a variety of issues from grief, to drug and alcohol abuse to parenting support, just to name a few.
When you consider the market price of counseling out of pocket, without insurance, you may be discouraged and think that counseling is not available for you. However, with some research and perseverance, you can find affordable counseling and get the help you or your family members need.
Have you found low-cost counseling before? If so, what strategy worked for you? Do you have another suggestion for saving money when getting counseling?