This post concludes my little impromptu therapy series this week. In my mind, there’s still a lot of work to do around the way we perceive mental healthcare in our culture and how affordable and accessible that care is after we’ve conquered the barriers of reaching out. So overall - lower the barriers, lower the costs, increase the accessibility. Too much to ask?
Since that’s a tall order, and one that’s not happening overnight, I talked to my brother, @jongaymondi, who’s a licensed social worker and my therapist, @therapywithkat, to put together a list of some alternative ways to pay for therapy outside of using insurance.
Before we pay for therapy though, we need to first find a therapist. Two great comprehensive search engines include www.psychologytoday.com and www.breakthrough.com if you’re more comfortable with video therapy. Another option (if you’re in the US) is SAMHSA.gov, which includes a provider locator plus a range of services and centers for mental health as well as substance abuse.
Alright, on to the payment part. Actually, let me rephrase that, on to the investment part. Because therapy really is an investment in yourself and your health, in my opinion, the best investment you can make.
Super-Bill Reimbursement: Out-of-network or private pay therapists can provide you Super-Bills for if you’re paying out of pocket. Depending on your insurance plan’s policy, you may be able to submit these bills for partial reimbursement.
Flexible Spending Dollars or HSA: You may be able to use these funds to cover session fees if your therapist accepts payment via credit card - just double check that therapy qualifies under the terms for use as per your flex spending/HSA policies.
Sliding Scale: Many private practice therapists are dedicated to making therapy accessible, and will reserve some appointment slots for clients who are not able to afford the full fee. No need to be shy about asking if this is an option.
Associate Clinicians: Associates are therapists who have a Master’s degree and are gaining hours toward their license. They are highly trained, practicing under the supervision of licensed clinicians, and usually charge a bit less.
Sliding Scale Counseling Centers: In most cities, you’ll find counseling centers staffed by associate therapists that offer services at a lower rate. This is a great way to work one-on-one with a private practice-style clinician, without the high fee.
Group Therapy: Groups are a powerful, effective option for working therapeutically in a safe, supportive space. The added benefit here is community and shared experience. Group therapy can also come in many forms; everything from working with a qualified clinician to less formal gatherings like a bi-weekly Women’s Moon Circle I attend with other women to talk about our struggles, triumphs, and intentions at each turn of the moon (it’s mystic not woo-woo ok?!).
Employee Assistance Program: As an added employee benefit, some employers offer a set number of therapy sessions with contracted therapists through an EAP. Full disclosure, since I’m proud to say advocating for accessible mental health support is a family affair (and yes, I realize it’s ironic how long I resisted that support), my father started an EAP business 30 years ago at www.eniweb.com. Your HR department can tell you if an EAP service is available for you.
Life by Design was born out of a need for my own self-healing after decades of unresolved illness. It wasn’t until finding the courage to look within that I discovered it was my own belief system holding me back from experiencing a truly thriving life. We all have access to that thriving life. We just need to rediscover our power and ignite the healing-self. Only then can we unapologetically live a life by our own design.