When you start looking at therapy as an option, it’s not uncommon to have a little sticker shock. I know the first time I looked into therapy, I gave up almost immediately because the price was well beyond anything I could afford. As a therapist, I now understand why rates are what they are, but that doesn’t make it any easier if you can’t afford $100 or more an hour.
What’s a client or therapist to do when someone can’t afford the full fees? Many therapists choose to offer Sliding Scale slots on our caseloads to provide services to those who need them. That means we adjust our rates to something more affordable for you. In my case, I talk with my clients about what their goals are and how often they feel like they need to go to therapy, and then we talk about what’s affordable for them based on how often they think they will be coming. We set the rate together to make sure it works for us both. If at some point in the future their situation changes, we reevaluate their fee at that time.
It can feel uncomfortable to ask about Sliding Scale, but it’s important to think about whether it’s more uncomfortable to ask about that or to continue dealing with the feelings you’re having that lead you to consider therapy in the first place. Even if you’ve determined I’m not the right therapist for you, I encourage you to keep searching for another therapist who will be a better fit that offers Sliding Scale.
Open Path Collective is great place to start. This therapist directory only lists therapists who work with Sliding Scale clients, so you can be sure that everyone on there is welcoming of those who need to discuss reduced fees. They also require that therapists agree to a specific rate range ($30-60/hr for an individual session, $30-80 for a family session), so you know that you'll be looking at therapists who will have a Sliding Scale in that range. I maintain certain number of slots for clients who come through this referral source. I also maintain a certain number of slots for clients who can afford more than the Open Path rate, but who cannot afford my full fee. Psychology Today also lists Sliding Scale therapists, though it does not necessarily indicate what a therapist's sliding scale range is.
There are many more options available for therapy than most people realize, and it really can be accessible for just about everyone. If you think therapy would be helpful to you, I strongly encourage you to keep looking until you find someone who is a good fit for you. If you're struggling to find someone, feel free to reach out to me for some guidance. I'm happy to help!