Decoding Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Costs: Guide

By Jared Levenson - Reviewed on July 7, 2023
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The decision to pursue Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) can be significant, especially considering the costs involved. Plus, many factors influence the costs of CBT therapy, such as insurance or location, which can confuse things.

On average, CBT sessions can range from $50 to $250 per hour. The exact price often depends on several factors.

The Online Mental Health Reviews team is qualified to write about Cognitive Behavioral Therapy costs due to our extensive knowledge and experience in mental health. The team comprises professionals who have studied, practiced, and researched various therapeutic methods for mental illness, including Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. This gives us a deep understanding of its costs and the factors influencing them.

It’s important to have a clear picture of what you can expect financially, so let’s break down the various factors that can influence the cost of CBT.

The Importance of Affordable Therapy

Affordable therapy is crucial in ensuring everyone can access mental health services, regardless of their financial situation. High costs can deter individuals from seeking help, exacerbating mental health issues over time.

Therapy can provide numerous benefits, such as:

  • improved self-awareness
  • better stress management
  • increased confidence

It’s a vital resource for managing various mental health conditions, like depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder.

However, the cost of therapy can be a significant barrier. In the U.S., therapy sessions can range from $65 to $250 per hour. This makes it inaccessible for many people, particularly those with low income.

Fortunately, there are options to make therapy more affordable. These include sliding scale fees (where therapists adjust their rates based on a client’s income), online therapy platforms, community mental health clinics, and university training clinics.

Average Cost of Therapy

The average cost of therapy can vary significantly based on factors such as the type of therapy, location, therapist’s experience, and whether or not you have insurance.

  • In general, the average cost of psychotherapy in the U.S. ranges from $100 to $200 per session, according to a report by Forbes in 2023.
  • Without insurance, most individuals spend between $60 to $120 on average for an hour-long session, according to Talk to Mira.

However, options are available for those who cannot afford these rates. Many therapists offer a sliding scale fee based on income, and community health centers and online platforms provide affordable therapy services.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

Types of Therapy and Their Costs

There are numerous types of therapy available, each with its cost range. The type of therapy you choose depends largely on your needs and the issues you wish to address. Here’s a look at some common types of therapy and their average costs:

  1. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT): Helps individuals identify and change thought patterns that lead to harmful behaviors. The national average for CBT ranges from $100 – $200 per session. Meta-analysis research confirms the benefits of CBT.
  2. Couples Therapy: involves both partners and addresses communication issues, conflict, and other relational problems. The cost can range from $75 – $200 per hour.
  3. Marriage Counseling: Similar to couples therapy but focused specifically on married couples, marriage counseling costs an average of $100 – $200 per session.
  4. Group Therapy: In this setting, a small group meets regularly with a therapist. Group therapy typically costs less than individual therapy, with an average cost of $30 – $60 per session.
  5. Depression Therapy: This therapy is designed to treat depressive disorders and can include various therapy types like CBT and interpersonal therapy (IPT). The cost typically falls within the general therapy range of $100 – $200 per session.
  6. Psychotherapy: A broad term for any therapy that treats mental health problems by talking with a psychologist or other mental health provider. The average cost is between $100 – $200 per session.
  7. Anger Management Therapy: This therapy helps individuals healthily deal with anger. The average cost of anger management classes can range from $50 – $150 per session.
  8. Art Therapy: A therapeutic approach that uses the creative process of making art to improve a person’s physical, mental, and emotional well-being. Art therapy sessions can range from $70 – $100 per hour.
  9. Grief Counseling: Specialized therapy to help individuals dealing with loss. Grief counseling can cost anywhere from $70 – $150 per session.

It’s important to remember that many therapists offer a sliding scale fee based on income, and there are also community health centers and online platforms that provide affordable therapy services. It’s always recommended to contact the therapist or clinic directly for accurate pricing information.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Cost

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is a type of psychotherapy that helps individuals understand how their thoughts and feelings influence their behaviors. CBT is commonly used to treat various disorders, including depression, anxiety, PTSD, and eating disorders.

The cost of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy can vary depending on factors such as:

  • Therapist’s experience level
  • Location
  • Whether you’re going through insurance or paying out of pocket. CBT costs range from $100 to $200 per session. Each session typically lasts for about 50 minutes.

It’s important to note that the total cost of therapy also includes indirect expenses like transportation, childcare, and the time taken off work. Some therapists may offer a sliding scale fee based on the patient’s income, making therapy more affordable for those with lower incomes. If cost is a barrier, don’t hesitate to discuss this with potential counselors or seek low-cost alternatives like DBT.

Group Therapy Cost

Group therapy is a form of psychotherapy where one or more therapists treat a small group of clients together. It’s often recommended for individuals dealing with similar issues, as it allows them to support each other and gain different perspectives.

Group therapy typically costs $30 to $60 per session, making it less expensive than individual therapy. However, the cost can vary depending on factors such as the therapist’s experience, the length of the sessions, and the region in which you live.

Groups usually meet once or twice a week for 1 to 2 hours. In many cases, the cost of group therapy may be covered by health insurance, at least partially. Some therapists also offer a sliding scale fee based on income, making therapy more affordable for those who need it.

Therapist Rates Per Hour

Therapist rates per hour can vary greatly depending on numerous factors, including the therapist’s experience and qualifications, location, and the type of therapy provided. Therapies can range from individual psychotherapy to specialized treatments like cognitive-behavioral therapy, art therapy, private practice, or couples counseling.

As of 2023, the average cost of therapy in the United States is generally between $50 to $250 per hour. Most people pay between $100 to $200 per session. Therapist jobs in the United States pay an average hourly wage of $30.30, according to ZipRecruiter, with some earning as high as $50.96 per hour.

Many therapists operate on a sliding scale, adjusting their rates based on the client’s income level. Some therapists also offer reduced rates for online sessions, making therapy more accessible for many people.

Does Insurance Cover Therapy?

Health insurance typically covers therapy, including mental health services, according to Healthline. This is largely due to the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act of 2008 in the United States, which requires insurers to provide similar levels of coverage for mental health services as they do for medical or surgical care.

However, the specifics can vary widely depending on your particular insurance plan. Some plans may cover only a few therapy sessions per year, while others require you to pay a co-pay or meet a deductible first. It’s also common for insurance companies to have a network of preferred providers, and seeing a therapist outside of this network can result in higher out-of-pocket costs.

It’s important to note that not all types of therapy are covered by insurance. For example, some specialized therapies, such as art or equine therapy, may not be covered.

Do All Therapists Accept Insurance?

Not all therapists accept insurance. Almost a third of therapists don’t accept insurance at all. There are several reasons for this.

  1. Firstly, dealing with insurance companies can be time-consuming and complicated for therapists. They often have to spend valuable time on paperwork, phone calls, and administrative tasks that could be spent on client care.
  2. Secondly, insurance reimbursement rates for therapy services are often lower than what therapists might charge in private practice to pay clients. This can make accepting insurance less financially viable for some therapists.
  3. Lastly, insurance companies often require diagnosis and treatment plans for reimbursement, which some therapists may feel interferes with the therapeutic process.

However, many therapists do accept insurance, but it’s essential to check with the specific therapist or their office to confirm whether they accept your insurance plan.

Making Mental Health Care More Accessible

Making mental health care more accessible is critical for ensuring our communities’ well-being. Several strategies are being implemented to achieve this:

  1. Teletherapy: With the rise of digital platforms, teletherapy or online counseling has become increasingly popular. It removes geographical barriers and provides access to those who might be unable to leave home due to physical disabilities, social anxiety, or lack of transportation.
  2. Integration with Primary Care: By integrating mental health services into primary care settings, individuals can receive mental health screening and treatment in a familiar environment. This can also help reduce the stigma associated with seeking mental health care.
  3. Educational Programs: Public awareness and education programs can help break down the stigma around mental health, making it easier for individuals to seek help when needed.
  4. Sliding Scale Fees: Many therapists offer sliding scale fees based on income, which can make therapy more affordable for individuals without insurance or with high deductibles.

How Can You Find Low-Cost Therapy Options?

Finding low-cost therapy options can be crucial for many individuals who need mental and behavioral health services but may be deterred by the cost. Here are some strategies to find affordable therapy:

  1. Sliding Scale Therapists: Many therapists offer sliding scale fees based on your income, making therapy more affordable.
  2. Online Therapy Platforms: Services like Talkspace, BetterHelp, and Amwell often provide less expensive therapy than traditional in-person sessions.
  3. Community Health Centers: Local community health centers often offer mental health services on a sliding fee scale.
  4. University Training Clinics: Many universities with psychology graduate programs have training clinics that offer therapy to graduate students at a reduced rate.
  5. Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs): Some employers offer EAPs that include short-term counseling.
  6. Nonprofit Organizations: Some nonprofits, like the Open Path Psychotherapy Collective, offer reduced-fee services.

Can I Find Free Therapy?

It is possible to find free therapy services, though they may be more limited than paid options. Here’s how:

  1. Crisis Hotlines: Services like the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline and Crisis Text Line offer immediate, free support.
  2. Community Health Centers: Some community health centers or clinics offer free mental health services, especially for those with low income, no insurance, or underinsured.
  3. Support Groups: These are often free to attend and can provide valuable peer support. They might be centered around issues like grief, addiction, or depression.
  4. Online Platforms: Some online platforms offer free services. For example, 7 Cups of Tea offers free, anonymous emotional support through volunteer listeners.
  5. University Training Clinics: Clinics associated with university psychology programs often offer free or low-cost services.
  6. Nonprofit Organizations: Some nonprofits offer free counseling services to certain groups, such as veterans or victims of domestic violence.

Is There a Way to Get Free Therapy?

Yes, there are ways to access free therapy services, although they may be more limited than paid options. Here are a few methods:

  1. Crisis Lines: Services like the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline or Crisis Text Line provide immediate, free support for individuals experiencing a mental health crisis.
  2. Support Groups: Many communities and online platforms host support groups that are free to attend and can offer valuable peer support.
  3. Community Health Centers: Some community health clinics provide free or low-cost mental health services for those who qualify based on income.
  4. University Training Clinics: Graduate training programs often run clinics where students—supervised by licensed professionals—provide therapy for free or at a reduced cost.
  5. Nonprofit Organizations: Certain nonprofits offer free counseling services for specific groups, such as veterans, victims of domestic violence, or people experiencing homelessness.
  6. Online Platforms: Some online platforms offer free services, such as 7 Cups, which provides free emotional support from volunteer listeners.

Is there any free online counseling?

Several platforms offer free online counseling or support services, although licensed therapists may not always provide them. Here are a few:

  1. 7 Cups: This platform connects individuals to trained volunteer listeners for free. They also offer paid services with licensed professionals.
  2. Crisis Text Line: This is a free service for anyone in crisis. You can text a trained Crisis Counselor who will support and help you navigate your crisis.
  3. iPrevail: This platform offers free peer-to-peer support through online chat. They also have paid services with licensed professionals.
  4. Support Groups: Websites like offer free online communities centered around specific issues, from anxiety to eating disorders to grief.

Remember, while these services can offer valuable support, they may not replace professional therapy, especially when seeking treatment for severe or complex mental health issues.

Sliding Scale Therapy

Sliding scale therapy is a model that adjusts the cost of therapy based on an individual’s income. This model aims to make therapy more accessible and affordable for people who might not otherwise be able to afford it.

Here’s how it works: The therapist determines a range of fees for their services, with a maximum and minimum cost. They then adjust the fee based on your income level. For instance, if you’re in a higher income bracket, you’d pay towards the higher end of the scale, while those with lower income would pay less.

Therapists who offer sliding scale fees aim to balance their need to make a living with their commitment to providing affordable mental health care. While not all therapists offer this option, many do as part of their effort to make therapy accessible to as many people as possible.

It’s important to note that therapists may have different methods for determining sliding scale fees, and some may ask for proof of income.

How to Find Affordable Therapy

Finding affordable therapy can be a challenge, but there are several strategies that you can use to lower the cost:

  1. Insurance: Check with your insurance company to see what mental health services your plan covers.
  2. Sliding Scale Fees: Many therapists offer sliding scale fees, which adjust the cost based on your income.
  3. Community Health Clinics: These clinics often provide mental health services at reduced costs or even for free for those who qualify.
  4. University Training Clinics: If you live near a university that trains psychologists, they may offer low-cost therapy provided by graduate students under the supervision of licensed professionals.
  5. Online Therapy Platforms: Online platforms often provide cheaper therapy than traditional in-person therapy. Some even offer free peer support.
  6. Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs): Some employers offer EAPs, which include short-term counseling.
  7. Local Nonprofits: Some nonprofits offer free or low-cost therapy to individuals who have experienced specific traumas or hardships.

Frequently Asked Questions

Sure, here are some frequently asked questions (FAQs) about therapy:

1. Is online therapy as effective as in-person therapy? Online therapy is as effective as in-person therapy for many mental health conditions. However, it might not suit everyone, particularly those with severe mental health issues or crises.

2. How much does therapy cost on average? The cost of therapy can vary widely, but on average, it ranges from $65 to $250 per hour in the U.S. Factors such as the therapist’s experience, specialization, and location can influence the price.

3. What is sliding scale therapy? Sliding scale therapy is a model where the cost of therapy is adjusted based on the client’s income. It’s a way to make therapy more accessible for individuals who may not otherwise be able to afford it.

4. Are there free or low-cost therapy options available? Yes, there are several options for free or low-cost therapy. These include community and community mental health agencies and clinics, university training clinics, online therapy platforms, and local nonprofits offering specific services.

5. Does insurance cover therapy? Many insurance plans cover mental health services, but coverage varies by provider and plan. It’s important to check with your insurance company to understand what’s covered.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Costs Conclusion

While the cost of CBT can vary, numerous options are available to help make it more affordable. Remember, investing in your mental health is one of the most important steps you can take toward better well-being. Don’t hesitate to explore these options and find the one that suits you best.

We encourage you to leave a comment if you have any questions about the costs of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. If you have any questions about online CBT solutions, feel free to leave a comment below. Your mental health is essential, and we’re here to help guide you through your journey. Also, if there’s a particular mental health platform, app, or course you’d like our team at Online Mental Health Reviews to explore next, let us know — your suggestion could be our next review!

If You’re In An Emergency

If you’re experiencing a crisis, waiting for an online therapy session might not be the safest option. In case of immediate danger or contemplating self-harm or harm to others, please call 911. You can also contact the 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline by dialing 988 for assistance around the clock. For those struggling with mental health or substance abuse issues, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) National Helpline at 800-662-HELP (4357) offers free, confidential help with finding treatment and information 24/7, every day of the year.

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