“The whole world’s in therapy!” my wife said the other evening as we were getting ready for bed. To be fair, she’d been reading a magazine about the number of celebrities who see a psychologist or psychiatrist on a regular basis, but she had a point. It sometimes seems as though therapy is the “trendy” way to handle one’s problems these days, but it can also be a healthy method of coping with trauma. If you’ve decided to seek therapy with a psychologist or psychiatrist, however, you might be looking for ways to save money on that exorbitant bill.
It’s supply and demand. Since a growing number of people are seeking therapy with psychologists and psychiatrists, these professionals know that they can charge more money and still keep their patients. The upshot is that this means a serious problem for those whose insurance coverage doesn’t pay for the entire cost of therapy, and it might seem almost impossible to save money.
1- Decrease Intervals
Although it is standard, you might not need therapy with your psychologist or psychiatrist once a week, or even once every two weeks. In fact, you might need therapy only on an as-needed basis, such as when feelings of depression begin to escalate, or during certain seasons of the year. You can save money on therapy by decreasing the intervals at which you attend sessions. For example, you might want to move down to once-a-month visits.
Of course, you don’t want to save money on therapy at the expense of your mental health. Some patients need weekly or twice-a-week visits in order to keep their mental stability in check, so you should discuss decreasing the intervals with your psychologist or psychiatrist. Weigh the benefits against the risks, then make your decision.
2- Negotiate the Price
In most cases, a psychologist or psychiatrist is operating as a one-man show, or in a private practice with two or three other professionals. In this case, he or she is free to set whatever rates seem appropriate, which means those per-session fees are totally negotiable. For example, if your therapist decides to raise the rates, you can save money on your therapy by negotiating a lower price. You could say, “I can’t pay this new amount, but how about we split the difference?”
To keep your business, a psychologist or psychiatrist may be willing to lower fees even without an across-the-board increase. If you have specific circumstances that require you to cut down on expenses, but you really need therapy on a regular basis, ask about a break on your bill. It doesn’t hurt to inquire, and you can always go with someone else.
3- Take Off-Hours
There are always times during the day that a psychologist or psychiatrist simply can’t get patients in their offices. Mid-mornings, for example, are notoriously difficult to fill because patients are at work or taking classes or otherwise occupied. If you are willing to take one of these off-hours slots, you might be able to save money on therapy.