If you haven’t tried therapy before, you might have concerns about what lies ahead. You might suspect that therapy is costly — or that it’ll take time and effort — or that it might end up changing the way you live your life.
You’d be right.
Since therapy does require time, money, and significant effort, it’s important to ask a few questions before starting.
Is Therapy Worth the Time?
Therapy requires (at least) one weekly session with a therapist.
There are a few reasons for this:
- Once you’ve started therapy, scheduling your appointments no more than a week apart will become part of your routine and help keep you motivated.
- Therapy often involves confronting painful issues. We have a built-in tendency to avoid pain and seek out pleasure. With weekly sessions, you can build on insights and practice new strategies with consistent support. It’s hard to build good habits without consistent practice. Weekly therapy is there to help you assess how you are doing and get you back on track.
- If it’s going to make a difference, therapy requires vulnerability. Vulnerability requires a sense of safety. You’ll allow yourself to be open with your therapist only if you feel safe with them. Meeting with your therapist week after week will establish familiarity, rapport, and trust.
Is Therapy Worth the Cost?
Several factors influence how much you’ll pay for treatment:
- The education, experience, and qualifications of the therapist
- The reputation of the therapist
- Your therapist’s location
- How frequent your sessions will need to be
- How long your sessions will need to be
- The type of specialized therapy you require (for example, couples therapy may cost more).
If an average range would be helpful, know that one hour of therapy tends to cost upward of $250 per session, if you pay-out of pocket that is.
Fortunately, if you have health insurance, your insurance might cover all or most of the cost of psychotherapy. Aetna, Cigna and United Healthcare do cover therapy. Paying for therapy with health insurance is a good way to get an essential service at an affordable rate. Read more if you are curious about what to look for in a health plan that cover health insurance.
If there is a therapist you’d really like to work with, inquire with them whether they have a sliding scale.
Is Therapy Worth the Effort?
We saved this for last, because here’s the truth:
Your therapy sessions will likely be intense.
You may find yourself confronting uncomfortable truths from your past – sometimes ones you couldn’t imagine you’d be dealing with when you started. You may need to rewire your brain, get over negative self-talk, create new thought patterns, or habits, reconsider relationships, and more.
This can be hard work. And, sometimes, getting to a better place involves hitting rock bottom first. To see the process through, you will need to commit.
In other words, you must decide upfront that you are committed to your mental and emotional health.
This brings us to a final, critical question:
What do you hope to get out of therapy?
What You Stand to Gain from Therapy
The benefits of therapy can be profound. For example, therapy can:
- Help you realize what you want in your life – and, just as importantly, what you don’t!
- Help you set goals in line with what you really want
- Give you tools to achieve your goals more successfully
- Provide you with healthy coping mechanisms for setbacks
- Help you take care of yourself more effectively
- Help you improve your relationships with others
- Help you live a less reactive peaceful life
- Help you access the present moment, slow down and recenter
(And that’s just for starters.)
Everything in life that’s worth it comes at some cost. To get the most from therapy, you need to realize that the costs are real.
But so are the results.
No matter what you’re working towards in your life, your mental health plays a role. Therapy can help you become more resilient when success seems far away — and put you in a better place to enjoy your success when it arrives.