How much does therapy cost?
$100 – $250 average cost per session (without insurance)
$20 – $60 average cost per session (with insurance)
Average cost of therapy
Therapy costs $100 to $250 per session on average without insurance or $20 to $60 per session for the copay with insurance. Therapy prices depend on the therapist's experience and specialty, the type of therapy, and your location, with prices falling at the highest end of the range in major cities.
|Average cost per session
|$100 – $250
|$20 – $60 (copay)
The terms psychotherapy, talk therapy, and mental health therapy are used interchangeably to refer to the same thing.
A therapist or psychologist can't prescribe medication in most states in the U.S. and will refer you to a psychiatrist or other medical doctor if your condition requires medication.
Does insurance cover therapy?
Under the Affordable Care Act, all insurance plans must cover mental health care, including therapy. The copay and deductible vary by insurance provider and plan, and rates are typically the lowest for in-network therapists. However, not all therapists, psychologists, or psychiatrists accept insurance.
Therapist prices by specialist
The cost of therapy depends on the type of professional you visit. Therapists, counselors, and psychologists treat mental health conditions using various therapy styles but can't prescribe medication in most U.S. states. In contrast, psychiatrists can prescribe medication but typically don't offer talk therapy.
|Average cost per session
|Therapist / mental health counselor
|$100 – $200
|$100 – $250
| $250 – $500 (initial session)
$80 – $250 (follow-up session)
|$90 – $250
|Child therapist / child psychologist
|$60 – $150
Therapist / Psychologist
Licensed therapists and psychologists charge $100 to $250 per session without insurance. Therapists and psychologists are not medical doctors but are trained in helping clients with mental health conditions. They can diagnose issues like anxiety, depression, or phobias and provide talk therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), or other treatments.
A psychiatrist costs $250 to $500 for an initial evaluation and $80 to $250 per session for follow-up visits without insurance. The total cost depends on the treatment type and testing needed.
A psychiatrist is a medical doctor (MD) who specializes in diagnosing and treating mental health conditions and behavioral disorders. A psychiatrist can order a wide range of psychological assessments and medical tests to help them make an accurate diagnosis and determine the best treatment approach.
Marriage & family therapist
Marriage counseling costs $90 to $250 per session on average or $400 to $1,200+ for a 4- to 12-week marriage counseling package. Insurance doesn’t cover marriage counseling unless your doctor prescribes it as part of a medical or mental health diagnosis of you or your spouse.
Child therapist / psychologist
The average cost of a child therapist is $60 to $150 per session. Most child therapy sessions last one hour, and prices depend on your child's age and needs, your location, and the therapist's experience. Some child psychologists offer packages of 10 to 12 therapy sessions at a slightly discounted price.
Therapy cost factors
In addition to the type of professional you visit, these other factors also impact the cost of therapy:
Therapist's experience: Therapists with additional training and education or an established clinical practice typically charge more than new psychiatrists due to the higher demand for their services.
Specialty: Therapists who specialize in treating specific conditions often charge more but are more familiar with the challenges and symptoms that come with those conditions.
Location: Therapy prices are highest in major metropolitan areas, with some therapists in large cities like New York and Los Angeles charging up to $500 per session.
In-person vs. online therapy: Most therapists charge the same fee for in-person and virtual sessions. However, affordable online therapy services are available for $50 to $110 per week through many providers via text messaging, phone, online chat, and live video sessions.
Individual vs. group therapy: Group therapy is much less expensive than one-on-one sessions, with prices as low as $40 to $50 per hour without insurance. However, group therapy does not offer the same confidentiality or allow your therapist to focus solely on your needs.
Affordable therapy without insurance
Many therapists do not accept insurance, requiring you to pay the full price out of pocket. If you are not insured or have insurance but want to visit a therapist who doesn't accept it, consider these options to make therapy more affordable:
Sliding-scale rates: Some therapists offer sliding-scale rates based on your income, allowing you to access treatment at a reduced cost. Ask your therapist about this option, as many providers offer it but don't publicize it on their website.
University training programs: Universities with psychology and counseling degree programs may offer mental health care at a reduced rate for clients willing to work with students enrolled in the program.
New therapists / interns: New therapists typically charge less while they establish their practice. In addition, many established practices have interns or new therapists on staff who provide low-cost therapy to help them gain experience in the field.
Public health centers: Many cities offer affordable mental health services for individuals and families. Enter your zip code in the U.S. Health Resources & Service Administration (HRSA) website to find the nearest health center.
Student health services: Most colleges and universities offer free or low-cost therapy and other mental health services for students.
Local support groups: Many free support groups provide a place for people with the same issue to talk and share their experience with each other. However, not all support groups are led by trained therapists, and you may get better results with one-on-one therapy.
Medicaid: If you are uninsured and meet the income requirements, you may be eligible for coverage through your state's Medicaid program. Medicaid covers mental and behavioral health services, including therapy with a licensed therapist, mental health counselor, or psychologist. Specific coverage varies by state.
Free apps: Try free mindfulness apps like the Mindfulness Coach app created by the Veteran Administration's National Center for PTSD or the UCLA Mindful app developed by the Mindful Awareness Research Center at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA).
Take advantage of these free 24/7 mental health services and hotlines when you need help. Many of these organizations provide support via phone, text, and online chat.
|National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
|Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) National Helpline
|The Trevor Project LGBTQ+ crisis support
|Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network (RAINN)
|National Domestic Violence Hotline
|NAMI Helpline (National Alliance on Mental Illness)
When should I see a therapist?
Consider seeing a therapist if you're suffering from a mental health condition that negatively impacts your life, such as feeling sad all the time, having difficulty concentrating, feeling overwhelmed, or experiencing panic attacks.
A therapist can help you understand your emotions, cope with stressful situations, and strengthen your self-esteem. Therapists guide you in making the necessary changes in your thinking and behavior to improve your mental and emotional health.
Therapy can help with a variety of short-term and long-term problems, include these issues and more:
Anxiety and panic attacks
Marriage and relationship problems
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
Grief or loss
Gender or sexual identity concerns
Body image concerns
Types of therapy
There are a variety of therapy approaches, and the best type of therapy for you depends on your individual condition and personal preferences. Your therapist may combine different aspects from several styles to best meet your needs. Common therapy styles include:
Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT)
Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy
Person-centered or humanistic therapy
Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT)
Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) therapy
Can therapists prescribe medication?
Therapists can't prescribe medication in most U.S. states. Only Idaho, Illinois, Iowa, Louisiana, and New Mexico permit licensed therapists and psychologists to prescribe medication, and only with additional psychopharmacology training and certification.
Psychiatrists and other medical doctors are authorized to prescribe medication, though they typically focus on medication management rather than talk therapy.
Can a therapist diagnose autism, ADHD, depression, or other conditions?
A licensed therapist can diagnose mental health conditions in all states except Indiana and Maine. However, if the condition requires medication, therapists must refer clients to a psychiatrist or another medical doctor. Seek a therapist near you if you’re concerned about conditions such as ADHD, anxiety, depression, autism, or bipolar disorder.
Can I use my Health Savings Account (HSA) for therapy?
You can use your HSA or FSA for therapy if you have a billable diagnosis—such as bipolar disorder or depression—and your doctor deems the therapy medically necessary. You can't use your HSA or FSA to pay for grief counseling, marriage or family counseling, or therapy for stress management.
How often should I go to therapy?
Most therapists recommend one session per week when you first begin therapy. After your first session, you and your therapist will decide on a schedule that will benefit you the most. Some mental health issues require only a few therapy sessions, while others require longer treatment or more frequent sessions.
Can I see my therapist while I'm traveling?
You can see only your therapist while traveling if the therapist is licensed or legally allowed to practice in the state where you're physically located during the session. Some states do not allow interstate therapy services. Before traveling, check with your therapist to confirm they can provide services across state lines.
Where to find the best therapists near you
When seeking therapy, it's important to find a therapist who makes you feel safe, comfortable, and respected. Follow these tips to help you find the best therapist near you:
Choose a therapist who specializes in treating your condition or concern.
Consider the type of therapy you'd prefer and look for a therapist who practices that style.
Ask your doctor for recommendations.
Read reviews for local therapists on Thervo and Google.
Confirm the therapist is licensed to practice in your state.
Meet with the therapist for an initial session to make sure their treatment style and personality is a good fit for you.
Questions to ask therapists
Before establishing yourself as a client and committing to multiple sessions, ask these questions to help you find a therapist who is the best fit for you:
How long have you been practicing?
What is your philosophy as a therapist?
What therapy style and modalities do you use?
Is your approach more directive or guiding?
What is a typical therapy session like, and how long will each session last?
How often should I have therapy sessions, and how many sessions do you expect I'll need?
Do you give reading assignments or homework?
What is your success rate in treating past clients with this same issue?
How do you determine success in therapy?
Will you see me between sessions if I run into problems?
Do you offer online therapy sessions?