Is there a fee to talk to a counselor or psychologist?

Judi Hollis
Health Education

It seems like nothing is for free these days, but time spent with a counselor may be worth every penny. In this video, Dr. Judi Hollis discusses what determines psychologists' fee structures.

Roy Huggins
Yes, there is generally a fee. Counselors and psychologists usually work in an agency, managed care or private practice setting.

Some agencies with a mission towards social service may charge a very small, or possibly no, fee. This often depends on your financial need and any social welfare benefits you may receive.

Consulting with a mental health professional in a managed care setting is usually associated with your insurance. For example, Kaiser is a managed care company. If you consult with someone through them, you will likely be charged a copay, which varies according to your policy.

Counselors and Psychologists in private practice may be able to bill your insurance for consultations, in which case you will likely be charged a copay. Many insurance plans don't cover mental health, however. Or some mental health professionals choose not to bill insurance. In those cases, you will need to negotiate a fee with the professional.

Some counselors or psychologists offer an initial consultation at no-cost. Be aware, however, that the course of any kind of mental health therapy lasts for more than one session. The purpose of a no-cost consultation is usually to help you determine if you and the professional are a good match without risking any money on it.
Although some individuals and agencies do have a sliding scale there is (generally) a fee associated with a counselor or psychologist.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.