Takeaway: Choosing to start therapy can be an incredibly empowering decision. Understandably, understanding the financial investment is an important component for many people beginning the process. Here, we’ll explain the average cost of therapy in Boulder, CO, and help you reflect on whether therapy is worth it for you.
It often takes months and even years for people to reach out for the support and help they need. Beyond the financial pieces, it's also a big emotional leap and often requires us to take risks and challenge old thinking patterns where we unconsciously resist support.
Ultimately, investing in therapy can make a HUGE difference in your life if you find a therapist that allows you to feel safe, supported, and empowered in your healing journey.
Learn more below about in-person and online counseling services, average session costs, mental health benefits, the difference between in-network and out-of-network insurance plans, and other related costs.
Everything you need to know about the cost of therapy in Boulder, CO
The idea of starting therapy can feel daunting emotionally, especially if you're brand new to reaching out for support. On top of that, the cost of therapy can vary greatly, especially whether or not you choose an in-network or out-of-network provider, to attend weekly sessions, or attend group therapy. Therapists are considered health care providers, but knowing what medical tests a therapist can offer versus a psychiatrist is also important when deciding whom to schedule with. Let's look at some of these points, as well as go over the average cost per session, factors that influence the cost of therapy, and how to know whether therapy might be worth it for you.
How much does therapy cost in Boulder?
The price of a therapy session can vary dramatically depending on where you live. In Boulder, Colorado, the average price for a 50-minute session is $140. That being said, some therapists offer a sliding fee scale or discounts for military, teachers, and other service workers. Typically, online therapy and in-person therapy are the same prices, but it's important to check in with a therapist to see if they take insurance as health plans vary greatly (see Is therapy usually covered by health insurance? below to learn more).
Typically averages $200 for 50-55 minute sessions
Typically averages $200-$225 for 50-55 minute sessions
According to Therapy Den, the average cost for a therapy session in Colorado is $130. There are dozens of therapeutic modalities within the realm of individual therapy, but most therapists charge the same price across the board. At Soul Essence Psychotherapy, there is no difference in cost between anxiety therapy, depression therapy, women's therapy, LGBTQIA therapy, spiritual therapy, and HSP therapy.
Typically averages $250 per hour (the length of the session varies dramatically depending on the provider and ketamin-assisted therapy often requires multiple sessions and integration meetings).
Is therapy usually covered by health insurance?
This is the trickiest part of therapy - it depends. Insurances plans vary greatly in regards to what they cover, and the best way to understand what's available to you is to either download your plan information online or talk to a customer service representative to understand the nuances within your medical care coverage. For instance, some insurance companies cover full or partial costs only for in-network therapists, while others might reimburse you for a percentage of your bill if you choose to go out of network. Some networks will pay your total therapist bill regardless of in-network or out-of-network, while others will only begin to pay once you reach your deductible. Additionally, some insurance companies will only reimburse for certain diagnoses or for a limited number of sessions but are not always transparent on what diagnoses are billable. Here are some questions to ask your insurance company if you are interested in working with either an in-network therapist or an out-of-network therapist:
What percentage am I reimbursed for behavioral health care out-of-network?
What is my deductible?
How much of my deductible have I already met?
Is there an “allowable amount” for behavioral healthcare? (I.E. some insurance companies have a maximum amount they will reimburse for therapy. If your allowable amount is $125 and the therapist you want to work with charges $150, you might still be responsible for $25). When interviewing different therapists during free consultation calls, the best thing to do is ask whether they accept insurance and then write down their NPI number. Then, check with your insurance company about whether or not that therapist is in the network, and whether coverage or reimbursement is possible.
Although receiving reimbursement for therapy can be helpful, there are also some benefits to working independently from insurance companies:
Insurance companies can limit the number of sessions you're allowed
Insurance companies require a therapist to provide detailed notes and documentation of your process, along with a diagnosis. Depending on the diagnosis or your plan, they can limit the number of times you are allowed to meet. This can be tricky as they decide how long you need to heal or to overcome something, which can feel insensitive or controlling.
You don't have a diagnosis or a counseling medical service on your record
The diagnosis required by insurance companies can be reviewed in certain circumstances. For instance, a court can order your insurance company to provide your treatment history, or a life insurance company can access these records and deny or change your policy amount.
You get to choose your health care providers and the type of therapy
When you pay for therapy out of pocket, you make all the decisions and decide who knows your personal information. There is no approval required, there is no medical service history and you don't have to change providers if you change jobs. There are also dozens of types of therapy, and holistic types of therapy can be less backed by insurance companies that favor traditional psychotherapy models. Therefore, you may end up having to work with someone within a
modality that you're not inspired by.
A sliding scale might be cheaper than your insurance
Sometimes therapists offer a "sliding fee scale." This means that they offer a limited number of appointments where you can choose the amount you can afford for therapy. For example, a sliding scale therapist might regularly charge $150 per session but allow you to pay anywhere between $90-$150 per session.
If your insurance company only reimburses for a small percentage of your therapy session, it can be beneficial to check with a therapist for this better option (please note that some therapists require you to share documents noting your financial situation).
Why is therapy so expensive?
In order for someone to become a licensed therapist, they spend on average, between 4-5 years obtaining a Bachelor's and Master's degree, completing 2+ years of post-master's clinical training, and then receiving their credentials to practice independently. During the 2+ years of training, therapists often receive very low wages and work difficult hours in order to gain experience for licensure. In a nutshell, it takes a lot of money, energy, and heart strength to become a therapist. Additionally, it can be very energetically draining to be a therapist. Most people have trouble listening to a friend talk for 20 minutes about their lives without trying to fix it or give advice (which ultimately shuts most of us down). Therapists not only listen deeply and attune completely to the client, but they have practiced the art of knowing the right time and place to ask questions, offer additional resources, or teach skills.
Therapists sit in people's darkest secrets and deepest fears, and they often help clients learn how to resource and find strength in overcoming difficult emotions. Most therapists are empaths by nature, which means they feel what the client feels, and are able to offer empathy while still staying positive and neutral. If a therapist sees more than six clients a day, it is common to experience compassion fatigue or burnout.
5 reasons why the cost of mental health care is worth it
If you think you might be able to afford therapy, but are still on the fence about whether it's worth it, consider what your fears might be in investing in therapy. Are you fearful that you won't be understood or that you'll feel awkward? Are you afraid you will feel weak or won't know what to say? Are you afraid of being rejected or abandoned?
If the idea of pursuing therapy feels scary or unnerving, that's completely normal. But if you answered yes to any of the questions above, then therapy is the perfect place to explore how your fear of being vulnerable or honest ALSO shows up in your family system, relationships, communication style, etc. If you are afraid of being open and vulnerable with a therapit, it's likely that you have a fear of this in your day-to-day life as well. And it might be stopping you from having more meaningful relationships. Therapy is the perfect place to practice sharing your fears and goals, and also let unhelpful belief patterns and awkward communication surface.
A therapist is dedicated to helping you uncover your best self and to help you connect with your wise mind. Here are some other potential benefits as well:
Higher Self-Awareness & Trust Through speaking your thoughts, feelings, and emotions out loud, you become more aware of what's happening inside your mind and body. The more aware you become of your thought patterns, the easier it is to decide which ones connect you with your best self, and which ones create more anxiety, depression, or negative self-talk. When you learn to catch and pause your thought process, you begin to build more trust in your ability to create a more positive, meaningful life. Xandra's background in Contemplative Psychotherapy at Naropa University primarily focused on this modality.
Emotional Regulation & Coping Skills Most people befriend certain emotions and try to resist or block out others. This causes us to feel dysregulated when experiencing certain emotional states. Working with a therapist can help build your tolerance and neutrality for your entire range of emotions. For example, this could mean you learn how to experience sadness for a few minutes, but it doesn't take over your entire day or develop into anxiety.
Stress Management & Anxiety Resources Learning how your thoughts impact your nervous system, and how spiraling thoughts lead to additional stress and anxiety is crucial to learning distress tolerance and addressing negative coping behaviors that leave us feeling disempowered and unfulfilled.
Better Relationships & Stronger Communication Therapy often involves looking at what relationships have shaped our body, mind, and spirit. Often, processing past relationships helps us find meaning, understanding, and integration while allowing us to develop healthier boundaries and communication.
Letting Go of Addictive Patterns Substance abuse is incredibly common in the United States, and good mental health care also addresses behavioral patterns that block our true resiliency. Overuse of alcohol, street drugs, and prescription drugs directly impacts our ability to grow in our emotional intelligence. Part of recovering from substance abuse is addressing past trauma, and working with a therapist to move through core wounds that are connected to substance abuse can result in a huge life transformation.
Connect with one of our holistic therapists in Boulder, CO.
If you're considering whether therapy is right for you, schedule a free 30-minute consultation call so we can look at your unique situation to see if pursuing therapy is the right fit for you. Choosing to start therapy can be an incredibly empowering decision and we would love to support your healing journey if you're ready to reach out for the support you deserve.