How much does talking therapy cost? And why?

How did therapy get so expensive?

When you invest in therapy you’re not just investing money, you’re putting in time and energy too. That’s why it’s really important to make sure you find the treatment that works for you. There’s currently no regulations in the UK around how much a therapist can charge. It’s down to the therapist themselves to decide how they set their prices. 

With the cost of living continuing to rise, people who’ve been looking at therapy as an option might be questioning whether it’s worth the expense.  Here, we explore some of the reasons why therapy can sometimes come with a hefty price tag.

How much does therapy cost?

We should probably start with how much therapy actually costs. The problem with this is there’s no definitive answer. The cost of therapy can vary massively and will depend on factors like where you live and the type of therapy you need. 
Across the UK you can pay anything from £30 to £200+ per session. Psychologists will often charge more than counsellors because a psychologist will usually hold different qualifications. But that doesn’t mean the most expensive option is the best for you.

Does training impact the cost?

There’s many different routes to a career in therapy. The five main paths are counselling, psychotherapy, cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), clinical or counselling psychology, and psychiatry. Qualifying as a counsellor is the quickest way into the industry – and even that takes three to five years from start to finish. 

To become qualified, therapists need to undergo intensive training that also requires an emotional and financial investment. As a result of this commitment to learning and the knowledge that comes with it, therapists are able to put more value on their time to reflect the level of qualifications they have received.

What about experience?

With most jobs, the more experience you have the more you’re likely to earn. Therapy is no exception. Therapists who have lots of client history and have been invested in ongoing training can charge higher fees.

Is NHS treatment available?

While treatment on the NHS is free of charge, a study found one in 10 people wait over a year for talking therapy with NHS England. The same research revealed that 58% say they weren’t offered a choice in the type of therapy they received. 

With long waiting times and limited resources, it’s clear to see why people seek out alternatives to public health options and look for help from the private sector.

Supply and demand

In 2021, NHS leaders expressed concern that strain on mental health care left 8 million people without help. There’s no doubt about the growing need for mental health issues to be addressed and the lack of resources within the NHS to deal with them. 

Mental health issues are no longer a taboo subject. As a society, we’re getting better about having open conversations about how we feel and seeking help to improve our wellbeing. 

That matched with the major impact the Covid-19 pandemic has had on mental health and it’s not hard to see why there’s an increased demand in mental health services. 

As harsh as it may sound, a private therapist is running a business and many will want to reap the financial rewards from the supply and demand issue for services. This inevitably means that prices will go up, taking private help out of reach for a large part of the population.

Overheads and expenses

Just like any other business, a private therapist will have various outgoings that are then part of the cost of the service they provide. Rent for premises, insurance, rates, advertising and membership fees to professional bodies are a handful of examples of what a therapist may have to foot the bill for. 

It’s no secret that inflation is taking its toll on households and businesses alike. With bills becoming more expensive, it’s likely that we’ll see the cost of private therapy continue to rise.

Location, location, location

Another factor that impacts the cost of private mental health services is where the therapist is based. A therapist working from a premises in central London is likely to be charging higher rates than a therapist based on the outskirts.

Will talking therapy work for me?

The short answer is: maybe. We’re all different, we all think and process our emotions in different ways. So, when it comes to talking therapy, there’s no guarantee that you’ll get the results you want from it.  While some people find talking therapy a really effective way to deal with their mental health difficulties, lots of people find it’s not right for them. 

If talking therapy isn’t right for you, it could be for a number of reasons. You’re opening up to a human being, so even though they’re qualified, they might simply not be the right person for you to go through the process of talking therapy with. There are also different types of talking therapy, and different professionals carry different opinions on the most effective therapies and their applications.

You may also find that talking therapy isn’t what you expected because it doesn’t resolve your problems, but it may instead give you coping strategies.

What about online therapy?

The good news is – there are other options available. As a result of the pandemic, we’ve had to adapt to doing a lot of things differently. We’ve talked before about how therapy has evolved since the pandemic. One of the biggest changes to take place was the move to online talking therapy. If this is right for you, then it could come with a lower fee than meeting a mental health professional in person.

Online therapy comes with the added bonus of not having to spend time or money to get to your appointment. Keeping services online (or at least having both options) will make therapy more accessible.

Are there alternatives to talking therapy?

There’s no doubt that talking therapy can be expensive. Often, it can be out of reach for people on low incomes. Simply put, if you can’t make your way to the top of the public health waiting lists and you can’t afford private care, it can be incredibly difficult to access the help you need.

And if talking therapy has been the only option offered, and it’s not right for you, you may be left wondering where to turn.

Mental health is just as important as (and strongly linked to) physical health, and therapy is something that should be easily accessible.

That’s why Ed can Help is on a mission to make therapy that works easy to access. We offer a monthly subscription that’s affordable and can be accessed from any location on our easy to use app.

Using our 20 minute sound-based therapy sessions whenever you need them, you can start your journey towards better mental health. 
You can get access to an Ed can Help free trial on iOS or Android. Begin your happier, healthier life with science-backed sound-based therapy today.