Balancing Your Mental Health Needs and Your Budget When Looking for a Therapist

Is it possible that paying for quality therapy out of pocket can actually save you money and improve your finances?

All too often we get calls from prospective clients whose first question is “Do you take my insurance?”. If we say no, sometimes the client on the other line hangs up before we even get a chance to discuss further. Budget is important and should be considered, however, if you’re guilty of calling around and asking about insurance hoping to schedule with someone who accepts your insurance without considering your specific needs, you’re likely to be wasting your time and money in the long run.

As a client and therapist myself who has tried many different therapists and therapy modalities, I am lucky enough to have both the client and therapist perspective. There was a time when I was like the client example above myself, focusing on finding a therapist who accepted my insurance because I was too inexperienced and overwhelmed, not to mention stuck in limiting beliefs, thinking as long as I had someone to talk to that’s all that matters. For some people, this is true. For many of us it’s not. 

Ask yourself this: When you go get a haircut or styling, do you go to the most inexpensive stylist? Probably not; you choose one that you feel confident will best meet whatever you’re looking for first, while considering your budgetary needs.

Each of us have unique needs, which requires us to look for a therapist that can match those needs. Not only do experience and skill matter but so do personality, values, and other factors specific to the felt sense you get when sitting with someone. All of this is important when it comes to selecting your therapist and choosing to invest in your mental health.

After I became a certified Brainspotting therapist, I became aware that there are therapeutic modalities that actually can change lives rather than attending weekly therapy sessions to vent and get a little relief. That’s when I realized how important it was to focus on my goals and needs when making decisions about my own care, goals, time and money.

When considering your own priorities, here are some questions to ask yourself:

  • Do I have any symptoms of mental illness such as depressed mood or anxiety that I am seeking relief from?
  • Do I have therapeutic goals I’d like to achieve?
  • Have I tried therapy before and felt like it helped when I was there, but not much changed?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, but you’re focusing on what insurance your provider takes first, it is likely that you aren’t prioritizing your needs and mental health in determining your care and/ or that you didn’t even know this was possible.

Surprisingly, choosing a provider that may not take your insurance, but is able to meet your needs, help you to create lasting change, and/ or experience a reduction in symptoms may save you resources including time and money! This is because your time in therapy will be more effective, meaning you might actually spend less in the long run and not experience the frustration of feeling like you’re spinning your wheels in therapy, working hard and getting nowhere. Oftentimes too, clients using insurance are still paying large portions of the fees out of pocket due to deductibles or copays. Even when using insurance, therapy is not free. 

As a brainspotting therapist, I often work with clients around money issues that stem from limiting beliefs and low self-worth and through therapy, not only do I often witness my client’s self confidence improve, but also their finances! Instead of being focused on spending the least amount of money, they are focused on commanding the wages they deserve confidently and spending on things that make them truly happy, including quality mental health care. 

What you can do differently:

  • Set your goal(s) for therapy before you make the calls.
    • Sit down and get real with yourself about what you want from the experience.
  • Look into different therapeutic modalities or areas of expertise that meet your needs and resonate with you such as brainspotting, EMDR, CBT, DBT, eating disorders, postpartum wellness, etc
    • Use google and ask others what has been helpful for them.
  • Take an honest look at your finances and set a monthly budget.
    • Do you really need to use your insurance?
    • Can you adjust spending in other areas temporarily to invest in your mental health?
  • Start calling therapists and focusing on your needs and goals rather than your insurance:
    • You may find a provider who checks all the boxes, but if you don’t, you have a plan and you’ll stick to investing in your mental health.
    • Ask if the therapist offers free consultations and schedule a couple with different therapists if you need to to make sure you’re choosing wisely for yourself.

At Mindful Springs Counseling, we offer high quality mental health care and some of our providers accept one or more insurance plans. Regardless if we accept your insurance, we will have a provider who is able to meet your mental health needs.

Scroll to Top