If you’re here, you’re probably considering starting therapy. Congratulations, and welcome! You’re in the right place.
While therapy is all about your thoughts, feelings, and values, it’s also about logistics. Cost is one of those logistics, so it’s important to know what to expect as you venture into the world of mental health care.
At the same time, clear information about the cost of therapy can be hard to come by. In this post, I’ll share the average cost of therapy in Austin, Texas based on real data. Plus, we’ll cover your options for paying for therapy and discuss why the price tag is worth it.
Average cost of therapy in Austin
Like I said, finding information on how much therapy costs in Austin (and elsewhere) is difficult.
This is for a couple of different reasons.
First, therapists set their own rates based on a variety of different factors. Since each therapist has a different rate, it’s difficult to say for sure what you’ll end up paying for your mental health care.
The second–and more nefarious–reason is that insurance companies make this information inaccessible to the general public. This maximizes profits for them while you’re left confused about your financial investment. Plus, this gives therapists the short end of the stick.
I’ll break down both of these reasons more in-depth later in this article. But for now, let’s take a look at some data so you can get a better estimate of how much you might pay for therapy.
In Austin, Texas, we calculated average rates based on 25 local therapists within each specialty.
*Note that couples therapy is not typically covered by insurance.
The averages above reflect rates of Austin therapists who advertise that they accept insurance.
Since insurance reimbursement can be *dodgy* to say the least, many therapists choose not to work with insurance companies. Let’s see how rates for therapists who accept insurance (above) compare with private-pay therapists in Austin (below).
On average, therapists who work independently from insurance companies charge a bit more. This gets them a few steps closer to earning what they’re worth. And therapists who aren’t dealing with financial stress are more likely to have the emotional availability to give you better care.
Keep in mind that these averages may not be the exact fee you end up paying. Your therapist might charge more or less than this amount. Just make sure to have a clear, direct conversation with any prospective therapist about what you can expect to pay.
In fact, therapists are required to disclose this information under the No Surprises Act, which was passed in 2022. This act requires therapists (and medical providers) to provide a Good Faith Estimate to clients who don’t have or want to use insurance benefits.
How do session fees on Best Therapists compare?
Learning about the average cost of therapy in Austin is helpful to an extent, but do you really want average-quality therapy? I know I don’t.
At Best Therapists, our clinicians charge more because they’re held to higher standards than therapists on other directories.
- Average session fee on Best Therapists: $198*
*as of September 25, 2023
Seriously, though: our therapists have to pass a rigorous vetting process in order to get listed on our site. Active license? Check. Glowing peer and online reviews? Check. Commitment to trauma-informed care, small caseload to prevent burnout, and current openings? Check, check, and check!
Why is getting therapy so expensive?
Like I touched on before, there are tons of different factors that go into a therapist’s rate. Taking a deeper look into these factors can help you understand what you’re paying for and feel more comfortable making the investment into your mental health.
- Education and training. Therapists are highly educated professionals. They have at least a master’s degree (sometimes a doctoral degree) and thousands of hours of supervised practice. Plus, many pursue further training to provide specialized types of therapy.
- Experience. Therapists with more experience tend to charge more for their services. Graduate students or pre-licensed professionals who are just starting out may charge less.
- Overhead costs. Like any other type of business, running a therapy practice costs money. Therapists have business expenses like renting an office, paying for an electronic health record system, buying professional liability insurance, and more.
- Time spent outside of session. Even though you only see your therapist for an hour per week (give or take), that’s not the only time they spend working. They have plenty to do outside of the session as well, like writing case notes, consulting with colleagues, and pursuing further education just to name a few.
- Geographic location. In metropolitan areas like Austin, therapy tends to cost more than in rural areas of the state (or country). This isn’t always the case, especially with the rise of online therapy options. However, areas with a higher cost of living tend to have higher prices for most services, including therapy.
These are just a few of the components that can influence therapists’ rates.
Knowing your options for paying for therapy
There’s more than one way to pay for therapy. Here are your main options.
Find low- or no-cost therapy
Finances shouldn’t stand in the way of you getting the mental health care you need. If money is a significant barrier for you, consider looking for therapists who offer sliding scale rates. Your local mental health agency might be a great option. You can also partner with affinity organizations like DRK Beauty Healing (if applicable) for free therapy.
Use your health insurance plan
You can also use your insurance benefits to pay for therapy. While this is a valid option, you should be fully aware of the implications before choosing to pay this way.
In order to bill your insurance, therapists must diagnose you with a mental health disorder and share that with your insurance company. Your insurance company can also place limitations on the frequency and duration of your care based on whether it’s “medically necessary.” It’s also more than likely that your therapist won’t actually get paid their full rate.
Use out-of-network benefits
If you’d still like to use your insurance benefits but want more control over your care, consider your out-of-network benefits. All insurance plans have them, and this option allows you to choose a therapist you truly connect with, whether or not they’re in-network with your plan.
This way, your therapist gets their full rate and you get more control over your therapy–plus, you can get reimbursed up to 80% of the cost of therapy. That’s basically the same as the copay you’d have if you used in-network benefits.
Use our free out-of-network mental health benefits checker to see what your out-of-network benefits include.
Paying out-of-pocket (also called private pay) is the most expensive option, but it also gives you the most flexibility over your care. Plus, you don’t have to deal with the hassle of insurance companies at all. It’s not financially feasible for everyone, but I recommend it if you can swing it.
Is paying for therapy worth it?
Yes, paying for therapy is worth it. But more importantly, you’re worth the investment.
Here are a few examples of what therapy can do for you.
- Improve your relationships. In therapy, you’ll learn the patterns that keep you from having the healthy, fulfilling relationships you want. Plus, you’ll strengthen your connection with the one person who matters most in your life: you.
- Increase emotional intelligence. Feeling your feelings sounds simple, but it can feel difficult when you’re used to pushing your emotions away. Your therapist will teach you how to identify, express, and process your feelings.
- Identify harmful thought patterns. Our thoughts can keep us stuck feeling bad about ourselves, questioning our decisions, and feeling disconnected from those around us. By identifying these negative thought patterns in therapy, you can learn how to shift them in a more positive, helpful direction.
- Manage mental health symptoms. Therapy can help nearly all mental health issues. This study on CBT shows that it’s effective in treating depression, anxiety, eating disorders, and more.
- Contribute to personal growth. You don’t necessarily need a problem to benefit from therapy. Having the dedicated space to work on yourself might just be the boost you need to reach your goals.
There are so many more ways that therapy can help. Why not give it a try and see for yourself?
Connect with your soulmate therapist today!
Your dream therapist is waiting for you. Start your search on Best Therapists to find a top-rated therapist in Austin!