You and your partner have determined that couples therapy is best for you. Before you schedule that first appointment, you likely want to know, how much does couples therapy cost? The cost depends on a variety of factors. Some of those factors are whether the provider is independent (e.g., private practice), part of a group private practice, working for a telehealth company, an agency, or an Employee Assistance Program (EAP). What you’ll pay for each session will vary depending on whether you’re paying privately or submitting through insurance. Insurance may be another variable as some plans cover couples therapy, and some do not. As you can see, many factors must be considered when it comes to the cost of couples therapy.
In this article, I’ll Identify the array of variables to help you weigh the cost of couples therapy, including what it will cost you to go to therapy and the costs for not going. Please note: I will use therapist and clinician interchangeably throughout the article.
The Financial Costs of Couples Therapy
Many variables exist when it comes to calculating the cost of therapy. It’s not only the actual money you spend, but your time, energy, patience, and trusting the process – and when it comes to couples therapy, the variables are easily doubled because you have to factor not only what you bring to the session, but also your partner. In the following paragraphs we’ll outline some basic variables to keep in mind as you plan to engage in couples therapy.
Some private practices accept insurance. If you’re able to use insurance, you can defray your out-of-pocket costs. However, you should contact your insurance to understand your specific coverage as many plans do not cover couples therapy or require a diagnosis code to receive insurance reimbursement. We cover what to consider when paying out of pocket versus insurance in this resource.
How much is a couples therapy session?
Out-of-pocket rates for a couples therapy session can range from $100 to $320+. The reason for this significant variance is due to the amount of time the clinician spends with you (from a 50-minute session to 80+ minutes). Rates also depend on the therapist’s credentials. Did your therapist earn a terminal degree (i.e., doctorate)? Do they specialize in couples therapy (i.e., earned a certification in a research-based approach to couples therapy, like Gottman, Emotionally-Focused Therapy (EFT), Integrated Behavioral Couples Therapy (ICBT))? Or does your therapist specialize in another well-known couples therapy approach, like PACT, Imago, etc.? A few other questions you may want to consider are: How long has the clinician been practicing? What are the going rates for the area or state that the clinician is licensed to practice?
Why is a Certified Therapist more expensive?
If you select a specialist in couples therapy, keep in mind that your therapist’s certification is a lengthy and costly commitment. Imagine a timeline like the below…
- A student goes to graduate school and earns their Master’s degree in a mental health field.
- Upon graduation, the graduate must sit for their licensing exam and be approved by their licensing board.
- It then takes 2-3 years post-graduation to become a fully licensed therapist.
- Once fully licensed, the therapist can continue studying a specific therapeutic approach and enter into a certification process.
- The certification process requires training, which can easily span a year or more and thousands of dollars.
Part of the certification process requires the therapist to acquire additional clinical experience and supervision. Supervision requires the therapist to record sessions and show their video to their supervisor to ensure therapy adheres to the therapeutic modality. Once the supervisor approves of their video and mastery of the couples therapy modality, the therapist can apply for their materials to be reviewed by a certification board. This application process is costly and time-consuming. Once the therapist is certified, they have earned recognition that they have shown mastery of the skills required to practice that therapeutic approach.
The Costs of Not Going to Therapy
The costs of not going to couples therapy can be significant. Wounds of the past or hurtful things that have been said or done in a relationship (or in previous relationships) tend to have lasting effects if left untreated. For a period of time, it might be more convenient to avoid, distract, or distance oneself from some of those hurtful incidents; however, those incidents play themselves out and can possibly cause greater harm down the road if you don’t address them and work towards healing. Here are a few ways not going to therapy can cost you.
Many people tell me that the problems they are facing in their own relationships are mirror images of the problems they witnessed in their families of origin. There is an immense generational cost for not working on problems in real-time. Take the Disney hit movie Encanto – generational wounds are passed down from one generation to the next until….
Your physical health can be impacted by negative relationship dynamics and interactions left untreated. Take contempt as an example, Dr. John Gottman’s research shows that contempt is “sulfuric acid for love” and it impacts us at a molecular level – couples can suffer from infectious illness due to contempt.
If you compare the cost of the divorce process to couples therapy, some couples spend an average of $20,000 ($10,000 each) to complete the divorce process. In comparison to our highest fee for services, that would be approximately (63) 80-min couples therapy sessions; that’s one 80-minute session per week for over a year.
Clients at our practice report some change (e.g., gaining awareness of their relationship patterns) between 8-12 sessions. Granted, there is no guarantee that couples therapy will make your lives better and solve all of your problems; however, you can begin to see movement in your relationship in a relatively short amount of time. Couples therapy helps each partner clarify their goals, wants, desires, and provides ways to communicate and heal from incidents in the relationship that have been filled with hurt, anger, resentment, and guilt.
Can you afford couples therapy?
You have a lot to consider. There are a variety of options for you and your partner to get support. You must determine what fits within your budget, the non-monetary costs and benefits, and ultimately what works best for you and your partner.
The gains of investing and participating in couples therapy can be enormous. Research shows that couples who work on their relationship can improve their relationship satisfaction, communication skills, and have increased general well-being. Another benefit to working on your relationship is that couples in long-term relationships have passionate and wonderfully satisfying sex lives.
If you are ready to schedule an appointment and live in Arizona, North Carolina, South Carolina, or Texas, we can help. Contact us to get started. We do not accept insurance and are considered out of network providers. We offer in-person and virtual sessions including free, virtual 50-minute relationship skill-building workshops. You can join couples from all over the globe who also want to improve their relationship.