How Much Does Therapy Cost? Average Cost of Therapy In DC

The average cost of therapy ranges from $100 per therapy session to $350 or more. Various factors affect the cost of therapy, including the therapist’s degree, credentials, qualifications, specialization, whether you live in a large city or a rural area, and the insurance coverage for mental healthcare offered by your insurance provider.

In DC, a more expensive city in the United States, prospective clients can expect to pay around an average of $230 per session as of 2021. Some therapists in DC will be lower around $200 per session, with experienced doctoral-level therapists closer to $300 per session. 

Whether you’re seeking treatment for an anxiety disorder or just looking to improve your mental health, the price tag of psychotherapy is something to consider. Of the 30 million U.S. adults who don’t seek treatment for mental illnesses, 45 percent cite out-of-pocket costs as a major barrier.

If you’re weighing the pros and cons of mental health care, remember that it’s not only OK to spend on your mental health, but managing your mental health condition can also prevent issues from becoming more serious in the future. Before you seek treatment for your mental health issues, here’s what you need to know about the cost of therapy and how insurance works with therapists.

cost of therapy in DC

How much does therapy cost with insurance?

Under the Affordable Care Act, all insurance plans must cover mental health services. Moreover, insurance plans may not fund mental health services at lower rates. In other words, if you have a health insurance plan, you’ll typically have some insurance coverage for mental health care.

With that said, if you have an HMO type insurance plan, you’ll need to choose a licensed therapist within your insurance network to qualify for mental health coverage. When going in-network you’ll be responsible for paying the copay at the time of your therapy session. Some health insurance providers also have other requirements for mental health coverage.

For example, prospective clients may need a mental health diagnosis, may need to meet a deductible, or may require a referral from their health care provider for mental health treatment. As a result of these complexities, some people with health insurance choose to pay for mental health care out of pocket.


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How can you pay for therapy?

In most cases, going in-network with health insurance offers the most affordable option for funding mental health treatment. If you’re unsure about your mental health coverage, ask your insurance company about their coverage, deductibles, copay, and in-network therapists. Also, speak with them about your out-of-network benefits, as these are the most common route to paying for therapy in Washington, DC.

The way insurance companies dictate treatment and conduct business has led many mental health providers to decide not to work with them. For this reason, people seeking mental health care will likely find therapists who are out-of-network rather than part of their insurance plans. The drawback is that you pay the full fee upfront when you see your therapist and then seek reimbursement.  The upside is that you’ll have the maximal choice among the licensed mental healthcare providers in your community. 

If you don’t have insurance, it’s still possible to fund your mental health treatment. Prospective clients without health insurance may qualify for coverage with their state’s Medicaid program or through the health insurance marketplace. Alternatively, some employee assistance programs (EAPs) and universities offer affordable access to mental health services and low-cost therapy.

Some mental health counselors, social workers, psychologists, and psychiatrists also offer a limited number of mental health services on a sliding-scale basis. If you’ve not already been told before your first session, ask potential therapists about their therapy costs.

Mental health clinics also provide low-cost therapy services, especially compared to private-practice providers. Interns or apprentices at mental health clinics sometimes offer low-fee mental health care. In addition, the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) offers free educational resources and support groups for individuals with mental illnesses and their family members.

If you need immediate help, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or the NAMI Helpline at 1-800-950-6264. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) also offers a treatment locator to help individuals experiencing substance abuse find low-cost treatment services across the United States. 

How much does online therapy cost?

In some cases, online therapy offers a more affordable option than traditional in-person therapy sessions. Online counseling platforms like The Therapy Group of DC eliminate the overhead costs of commuting to and from the therapist’s office, especially for clients in rural areas. 

If you’re still unsure about online therapy, there’s good news: studies show that online therapy is as effective in treating many mental health conditions as in-person therapy.

Online counseling also offers access to a broader range of mental health professionals so that you can find the best option for your specific mental health concerns. For example, if you’re experiencing symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), working with an online counselor who specializes in PTSD treatment can help you establish the most effective treatment plan. Similarly, if you’re hoping to find an LGBTQIA+ mental health specialist but do not live in an urban area, online therapy can significantly enhance your search for a therapist.

Affordable Treatment Options in DC

For those new to therapy, the fee associated with therapy services can appear expensive, especially when you only consider the price tag and not the benefits to your mental health.

Therapy can come with financial benefits, such as improved career prospects, a more optimistic financial outlook, and healthier ways to cope with stress.

Ultimately, many people who experience productivity issues, substance abuse, and shopping addictions have more money due to therapy. But even if treatment doesn’t directly benefit your finances or spending behaviors, it’s still worth investing in your mental health.

When it comes to affordable therapy in DC, the Therapy Group of DC created a lower fee part of its practice to offer therapy at substantially lower rates. That affordable therapy in DC option is called the Capital Therapy Project and we invite you to learn more about it. 

To find the right therapist, reach out to a mental health professional through The Therapy Group of DC. We know that navigating the price of therapy can feel overwhelming—and we’ll work with you to provide personalized, data-driven treatment. Whether you’re interested in couples therapy, in-depth psychodynamic psychotherapy, or cognitive-behavioral therapy, one of our experienced mental health professionals will help you navigate your specific challenges and improve your quality of life.

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