How Much Does Therapy Cost?

And why it doesn't have to break the bank.

Tuesday, 17th July 2018

If you’re thinking of starting therapy, you’re probably wondering how much it’s going to cost. The simple answer is: it varies (not very helpful, right!)

In the name of clarity, we decided to do some investigating ourselves… We looked at the rates of our community of therapists across the UK. Here’s what we found:

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The cost of therapy can vary according to a number of different factors: where you live, what level of training your therapist has and what they specialise in (whether they’re a counsellor, psychotherapist or psychologist) and also how many years of working experience they have.

As you can see from our infographic, psychologists are usually the most expensive, costing an average of £91 a session in the UK. Psychologists tend to charge more because of their background, education and training. Both counselling psychologists and clinical psychologists will have completed a psychology degree, followed by a 3-year doctorate. A counsellor, on the other hand, will usually have completed a 3 year diploma in counselling and therefore generally less science-y in their approach - and less pricey. (It’s important to remember that training and cost doesn’t necessarily = better therapist. In fact, the science says the most important determining factor in the success of therapy is the relationship you have with your therapist).

It should be no surprise that London comes out on top, with the average counsellor charging £55, a psychotherapist £60 and a psychologist £99 a session. It’s also worth noting that - somewhat confusingly - psychotherapists sometimes refer to themselves as counsellors, and visa versa. That’s why getting to grips with the differences between a psychotherapist, a counsellor and psychologist can be helpful in guiding you towards finding the one that’s right for you.

Why is therapy so expensive?

Simply put, therapists are like mini-businesses all of their own. In other words, they have overheads to cover. Charging £50 an hour might sound like they’re making a killing but when you’ve deducted room rental (somewhere around 20% a pop) and insurance, it’s not as much as it sounds.

What’s more, due to the nature of therapy, therapists aren’t able to work full working weeks like the rest of us. Just imagine if your therapist got that 4pm sugar slump and started drifting off mid-session? You wouldn’t be best pleased - and rightly so. Therapy requires full focus and attention which is why therapists won’t generally work more than a 30 hr week.

When money’s tight, the thought of dishing out an extra £50 a week can feel like a luxury. But therapy’s not about having a nice chit-chat with a friend. You’re paying to see a qualified mental health professional who’s there to help you get better, feel more vibrant, healthier - more YOU. It’s about value not cost.

Investment vs return: turns out therapy’s not so expensive after all

Research carried out by Michael Lambert in the Handbook of Psychotherapy and Behaviour Change looked at how long it took for a client to start feeling better after beginning therapy. Amazingly, it showed that 30% of people enjoyed “lasting benefit after only 3 sessions” in therapy. 50% showed improvement after just 8 sessions, and 75% after 14 sessions.

Let’s say you’re part of the 75%. The average cost of a psychotherapist (according to our data) works out to £55 a session/weekly, adding up to a monthly spend of £220 (for 3 and a half months and a total of £770). That works out as £64 a month when spread out over the course of a year.

According to the latest research, us Brits don’t think twice about spending an average of £60 on a night out… So why is it that we stall when it comes to investing in our own wellbeing?

Therapy can be seen as short-term investment; but one with lifelong benefits. When the relationship with your therapist is right, therapy can bring about real, lasting change in each and every aspect of your life. Sacrificing the odd night out in the name of that is money well spent in our book.

How do I get high quality affordable therapy?

Good therapy doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg. Here’s are some tips to bring costs down:

  1. Don’t be afraid to be upfront about finances - even though they might not advertise it, most therapists offer a sliding scale of fees according to your income. Never let money issues prevent you from reaching out.

  2. Stagger / spread out your sessions - ask your therapist whether they would consider seeing you every other week, as opposed to once a week to make costs more manageable. Granted, this won’t suit every style of therapy but if you’re flexible it’s always worth an ask.

  3. Rejig your expenses - budgeting normally comes down to priorities rather than anything else. See if you can make cuts elsewhere in your spending or agree to go without a few things just for this short period of time. Remind yourself: it’s not forever.

  4. Video / Skype therapy - lots of therapists also offer online/Skype therapy and often at a cheaper rate than in-person therapy as it cuts out room costs. Trying asking your therapist if this is something they currently offer.

Finding affordable therapy near me

Are you looking to start affordable therapy? Don’t wait until crisis point.

We believe something as transformational as therapy should be accessible to everyone, regardless of their financial situation. Good therapy isn’t for a “select few” fortunate enough to afford it. Cost should never be a deterrent to finding the right care. We want to get as many people into therapy as possible by creating a price plan that accommodates everyone. Speak to one of our team to get help to find a therapist.


Looking for a therapist? Find a therapist in your area.