Cheap Online Therapy | Finding Something That Works for Your Budget
Mental self-care is a critical part of getting a proper balance in life. About 1 in every 5 adults in the US, or about 47 million adults, live with some kind of mental illness and need counseling. About half of that number is classified as serious. With our world in a crisis, it is safe to assume that these numbers have only escalated.
More people need mental health care, yet the cost of therapy and counseling isn’t cheap enough for most people. It is true to a certain degree that the people who need therapy the most can afford it the least. On the other hand, a majority of people who can afford therapy might not think that the investment would be worthwhile in the long term.
Cheap online therapy is a great option for these two groups of people. It is cheap and flexible enough for those who can’t afford conventional brick-and-mortar therapy. The price is also right for those who don’t want to make long-term commitments to counseling that they are unsure would yield any benefit for them.
Most people will need an average of about 7 online counseling sessions for them to complete a treatment plan. If at the lowest tier of cheap online therapy, each weekly counseling session is billed at $40-$45, the cost can still translate upwards significantly. This article provides tips on mental health counseling options that are either free or cheap.
Cheap Therapy | What to Do If You Can’t Afford Mental Health Counseling
One of the ways to pay lower costs on therapy is to have insurance copays instead of completely covering the full cost yourself. The counselor can then send a claim to the insurance company for the balance retained. An obvious drawback to this is that the therapist has to be in-network with the insurance company, making this option quite limited.
Even with copays, the client would still end up paying in the range of $30 in cash. The client’s insurance deductibles also have to be elected first before the copay can be applied. Check whether your employer’s insurance plan offers mental health counseling coverage.
While insurance copays are a good way to reduce the price of therapy, millions of people are not covered by any form of insurance. Cheap or zero-cost options are needed to improve their access to mental health counseling services. Here are several therapy options that can be accessed at little to no cost:
Community-Based Non-Profit Services
There are therapy services that are dedicated to marginalized and vulnerable groups, and those at the lowest tier of income. In the US and Canada, the 211 network is a community resource that curates multiple other crisis services. Calling the 211 hotline will help you get connected with a cheap professional in your area.
Mental Health America (MHA) is one of the largest non-profit community-based counseling resources for those suffering from mental issues. The MHA provides a huge array of online resources to treat, manage, and cope with mental health illnesses. The MHA provides online screens for different conditions such as anxiety, PTSD, addiction, depression, psychosis, and bipolarity.
While community-based organizations help provide cheap mental health counseling, especially for vulnerable groups in the community, they do have their shortcomings. They might not always be available when needed, and they also experience high employee turnover. This latter point implies that it might be quite difficult to keep a single therapist, especially where more than five counseling sessions are required.
Their staff is also often populated by students, trainees, and volunteer staff, meaning that one might not get a high level of counseling expertise from them.
Free Therapy Apps
There are downloadable apps from the Google Play and App stores which are useful for psychotherapy, meditation, stress relief, and coping functions. Some of these apps include:
- Moodfit is a CBT-based app that allows users to take control of their thoughts by journaling their feelings and actions;
- What’s Up app uses CBT and ACT techniques to help users battling depression, stress, anxiety, etc.;
- The Mindshift app is especially targeted at teens and young adults dealing with stress and anxiety;
- Happify provides engaging activities, games, and suggestions for uplifting one’s moods.
There are hundreds of other apps that are created with specific objectives in mind. These include journaling one’s thoughts, improving mindfulness, and improving breathing that alleviates stress.
Affordable Online Therapy | Remote Counseling Options at Low Cost
While community-based mental health counseling and online or mobile therapy apps might be cheap or free, they might not be ideal for people battling more serious mental issues. In such cases, it may be necessary for the patient to connect directly with a licensed professional psychologist or therapist for counseling.
Low-cost online therapy or telehealth consists of solutions in which a patient communicates directly with a professional through a combination of telephone, texting, emailing, or videoconferencing. Several top cheap online options are mentioned below. Let’s see how they work.
If you are searching for individuals, couples’ or teen’s therapy, Betterhelp is one of the best cheap solutions online. Betterhelp has a team of over 1200 licensed and board-accredited LMFTs, LCSWs, LPCs, and PsyDs that are highly qualified in different areas.
The cost of using Betterhelp averages $40-$70 weekly, and that is billed monthly. An unlimited weekly package at Betterhelp costs $65, which includes unlimited texting and a limited number of live sessions.
Talkspace also has individual, couples’ and teen counseling, with 1000+ board-accredited and licensed therapists. This online platform also has thousands of affiliates working with them, providing them with a wide outreach network. Once you create an account on this platform, the first counseling session is usually a free consultation. This allows Talkspace to develop your profile as they try to match you with the right therapist.
For unlimited texting, voice, and video messaging, you’ll part with $179 per month. For unlimited text, voice, and video messaging, and one live video session with your therapist, you’ll part with $236 per month. Unlimited text, voice, and video messaging, and four live video sessions with your therapist will set you back $326 per month.
Cheap Online Counseling | Sliding Scale Therapists
“I need cheap therapy near me, but I can’t find someone who is affordable enough.” It is a usual conundrum for many people whose conditions are too severe or prolonged to use online therapy. In this case, you might find an in-person therapist near your area who is willing to reduce their hourly counseling rates.
While some conditions such as depression, anxiety, and adjustment disorders may be mild enough to treat through remote therapy, some aren’t. Severe conditions such as PTSD and post-partum depression may require a visit to an actual therapist. If the cost is too high to pay out-of-pocket or through insurance copays, you may negotiate on a sliding scale with your therapist.
Some of the national mental health counseling directories which allow one to search for sliding scale therapists include Goodtherapy.org, Openpathcollective.org, and Psychologytoday.com.
Affordable Online Counseling | Frequently Asked Questions
Cheap counseling has yet to gain as much traction as it is capable of due to various reasons. For one, the cost of online therapy is still far from cheap to most people. An average of $40 weekly isn’t cheap, especially for someone who isn’t in stable employment, or one who isn’t covered by insurance.
If you are suffering symptoms of depression, prolonged stress, anxiety, or panic attacks, cheap online therapy may be exactly what you need. Just keep in mind that cheap online counseling isn’t meant to replace traditional in-person therapy. There is a lot more benefit to be derived where a psychologist or counselor can meet a client in person.
Here are some FAQs for cheap online therapy.
What Is the Cheapest Online Therapy?
Cheap online therapy is a combination of many things. There are completely free counseling options in community-based mental health services and non-profits. There are also free mental health apps. For actual online counseling services, cheap price depends on what services you are granted.
Some offer unlimited texting, video messaging, and live conferencing at a cheap rate. Others offer the same counseling services at a slightly lower price paid over a longer-term.
How Do I Find an Affordable Therapist Online?
You can find a cheap therapist online on the most popular health platforms, such as Talkspace. At the DrMental website, you can find an array of free resources on various therapy services and counseling options that exist online.
Where Can I Get a Cheap Therapist?
“What is the best way to find cheap therapy near me?” The first option is to google therapists in your vicinity and see if they offer a sliding scale on their counseling rates. The second option is to seek out community-based counseling non-profits near you. These may also offer affordable online counseling, emails, and hotlines.
Is Cheap Online Counseling Really Effective?
Low-cost online therapy isn’t meant as a replacement for traditional therapy. However, where the patient’s life isn’t threatened, cheap online counseling is just as good an alternative as brick-and-mortar therapy. For conditions such as severe ADHD, PTSD, and schizophrenia, visiting an actual therapist may be necessary.
How Much Does Cheap Online Counseling Cost?
There is no fixed cap on cheap counseling. Some services may claim to be cheap but offer very little in return for the price. Other services may be more expensive in the short term and cheaper in the long run. At the lowest tier of affordable online therapy, you should expect to pay in the range of $30-$40 weekly.
Cheap Therapy | What Are the Benefits?
Most people with mental illness may not even be aware of what ails them. In-person therapy was for a long period thought of as the preserve of those who are well-off or those heavily insured. Cheap online therapy has shifted the paradigms of counseling by making it more accessible and affordable.
People who ordinarily wouldn’t try out in-person therapy due to different reasons now have an outlet for connecting with a therapist in a safe and secure online environment. The downtime of connecting with an online therapist is significantly reduced due to the ability to connect whenever needed.
Repressed emotions such as anger and guilt that always ripple up into negative actions, if not immediately dealt with, are treated well through online therapy. The patient can find an immediate outlet to vent with a cheap online therapist.
These are just some of the benefits derived from cheap online therapy. DrMental is a trusted platform that provides users with a huge volume of information on psychology and therapy. Our platform is useful for both patients and professionals who are looking to get the most out of online therapy.