How Much Does Couples Counseling Cost?
Couple’s counseling is the process of asking a third party, a certified professional, to intervene in the relationship between two people. This counselor will help sort out problems and conflicts that happened between the couple and then discuss ways to rebuild that relationship. Couple’s counseling can offer the tools and skills to help improve the relationship. Couple’s counseling differs from marriage counseling only only because the two people who approach a professional for help may not necessarily be married. The basic goals and strategies for fixing the relationship are the same as in marriage counseling. Depending on the type and complexity of the couple’s problems, counseling may last as short as a month or as long as a year. Some couples even continue counseling throughout the relationship as a way to prevent major problems from occurring in the first place.
How much does it cost?
- Although there are many factors that can affect the cost of couples counseling (see below for a list of these factors), the average price ranges from as low as $25 to as much as $200 per hour.
- According to CounselorLink.com, rates in the San Francisco bay area also differ greatly from $25 to $100 per hour on average.
- AllAboutCounseling.com states that fees and rates usually fall between $75 at the lowest and $200 per hour on the high end. They claim that you should be prepared to pay up to $100 per hour on average. Therefore, if you meet with a counselor twice a week with each session lasting about an hour, your cost will be about $200 a week or $800 a month.
What is going to be included?
- Couple’s counseling involves assessment of the issues, discussing of the primary concerns, and working together to find solutions. Skills and coping mechanisms are also introduced to help in managing conflict.
- There are some counselors who offer exclusive online resources from their websites in addition to one on one personal sessions.
- Many counselors will assign homework exercises, whether it is reading, keeping records of different kinds, or role-playing with your spouse or significant other. This homework is vital to the success of the counseling.
What are the extra costs?
- First sessions usually take longer so the fees will also be higher.
- There may be different resources that you counselor asks you to use, such as certain books that can help you sort through your issues.
Factors that influence the price:
- Geographical location: Professional fees and services vary according to the state in which you live and even your location within that state.
- Expertise and degree level: The higher the level of educational expertise, the higher the fees: Marriage, Family and Child Counselor fees are 30% lower than that of psychiatrists and 20% lower than psychologists, all on an hourly basis. Of course, a Ph.D. or a Master’s level degree also makes a difference.
- Popularity and past success rates: Therapists who have more clients and who have a long success history to boast usually charge higher fees.
- Private, insurance, or community services: Higher fees are expected for private practice consultations while religious communities and some mental clinics offer counseling at a much lower rate. Generally, insurance firms do not cover couple’s therapy; in the case that yours does, only a small amount, called co-pay or deductible, will have to be handled by the client for each session.
- Numbers of sessions: Rates are usually based on a specific hourly rate to be multiplied by the number of sessions the counselor might require to finish therapy.
Tips to know:
- For those who find the charges quite steep, there are some counselors who are willing to arrange their fees on a sliding fee schedule, to fit client’s income level and ability to pay.
- Check with your health insurance if they have any therapist or counselor they can recommend so that you only have to pay your co-pay. This solves a big part of the cost; however, it also gives limitations on the choice of a therapist. Remember, it is rare for health insurance to pay, but feel free to check out services such as eHealthInsurance.com find a health insurance policy in your area.
- Some insurance companies who include couple’s counseling in their coverage place limitations on how many meetings they will pay for.
- Ask your insurance company if you can choose your own counselor and get reimbursement of the cost after.
- Therapies taken under marriage and family counselors often finish with 30% fewer sessions.
- Commonly, counseling fees are not covered by health insurance plans unless one of the couple is diagnosed with a mental disorder.
Questions to ask:
- Do you have licenses and certifications?
- How long and how often is each session?
- How much are your fees for each session?
- Do you accept my health insurance plan? What are terms of payment?
How can I save money?
- Counselors who don’t have that much training and expertise give options for lower cost.
- Try checking with a local church or non-profit organization. Here, you may be able to find counseling at a lower rate.
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