Experts’ 7 Solutions To Get Therapy Near You Without Overspending And Over Stressing
Seeing a doctor about your physical health is very simple and straightforward, which you most likely have done several times. Whether it’s setting up an appointment with your OB/GYN, or booking an appointment through apps like ZocDoc. Unfortunately, booking a mental healthcare appointment proves to be more difficult. Americans find it quite a struggle to have easy access to mental healthcare treatment, and most also avoid seeking treatment they need because of high expenses, denial by private insurance companies, issues finding a professional you can trust and access to psychiatric medications. These barriers not only affect the majority of people, but people of color even more.
According to a poll administered by the Kaiser Family Foundation, as the Covid-19 pandemic continue to wreak havoc on people’s livelihood like their jobs, family life, mental health and finances – Americans stress and mental issues nowadays are at an all-time high. So, accessing the therapy they need that is affordable is needed now more than ever. Although there are options readily available, experts say the key to success is continue searching on for the right therapist until you’ve found your perfect match.
Clinical psychologist in California, Forrest Talley, Ph.D., says, “selecting a therapist who is a good fit for you is one of the most cost-effective things you can do to keep expenses manageable. When working with someone who is a good fit, you will make more progress, and you will make that progress more rapidly. On the other hand, if your therapist is a bad fit, the counselling is likely to drag on longer as progress will be slow.” Talley adds that meeting more than one therapist, whether in person or virtually is the way to go, until you find that professional that truly understands you.
Here are the best strategies for a successful search:
1. Double check with your private insurance.
There are some insurance companies such as Preferred Provider Organization (PPO) plans, that cover all or a portion of your therapy sessions, says financial educator Berna Anat. “Others, like Health Maintenance Organization (HMO) plans, tend to be more limited in scope.”
She suggests calling your provider to ask about in-network or out-of-networks plans and inquire about co-pays. You may be able to get a good deal from that.
2. Book a one-on-one therapy session
If you don’t have any insurance, have no fear. Anat recommends booking a one-on-one session on portals that connect you to low-cost therapists such as Open Path Collective.
“You can book sessions for as low as $30 per hour, whereas therapy costs out of pocket are typically $150 or more. The great thing about Open Path is that you can search for a therapist based on your specific necessities. ”If you’re looking for a BIWOC who specializes in childhood trauma and does Skype sessions, for example, Open Path makes it easy to check out your options,” she added. Another portal worth trying is Inclusive Therapists which is a low-cost therapy option more accessible to BIPOC and the LGBTQ+ community, Anat says.
3. Online Therapy
Clinical psychologist Shelley Sommerfeldt, Psy.D., says that “one affordable way to receive therapy is through online and virtual services. Several online therapy options offer lower monthly rates,” like BetterHelp, which charges around $40-$70 per week. “These mental health services are often provided through tele therapy and many offer text or email add-ons,” she explains. Sommerfeldt adds that receiving online therapy has become even more popular recently, especially because of the Covid-19 pandemic.
4. Try group therapy
For those searching for a more affordable price, group therapy is a great alternative. Sommerfeldt explains that “many therapists offer support groups for different issues, such as alcohol or substance abuse, depression, trauma, anxiety, eating disorders, or even grief and loss support. A support group allows you to still have a dialogue with a trained mental health professional while also receiving support from others who are experiencing similar symptoms or situations.”
5. Inquire about a sliding fee scale.
What is a sliding fee scale? It is a payment model that providers offer their lower income clients.
“Many therapists set aside a limited number of hours during the week devoted to seeing clients on a sliding scale. This can greatly reduce the total expenses associated with a course of psychotherapy.,” says Talley. Feel free to ask the therapist about their sliding scale before booking a session.
6. Seek the help of a therapist-in-training
Forrest suggests that if you are strapped for cash, you could also work with a therapist intern. “Most large clinics provide training to therapists who have completed their graduate studies but have not yet been licensed. These therapists are referred to as ‘interns.’ Nearly all interns have already provided therapy to a wide variety of clients, as it is part of their graduate school training. Also, every intern regularly meets with a licensed supervisor who is responsible for overseeing the work they do with every client,” he explains.
7. Call your emergency hotline for help
For immediate help, call a crisis hotline available to you. “In a crisis, it is important to focus on developing practical solutions to immediate problems. This is a large part of what hotline counselors do in their jobs. By offering practical solutions, the sense of crisis deflates, panic and confusion abate, and taking a clear-headed look at what steps to follow next becomes much easier. Some hotlines, however, will also facilitate connecting their callers with other agencies who will then advocate for the person’s needs, such as drug rehabilitation, housing, or employment,” says Talley.