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February 16, 2022 Haeli Harris

The Cost of Therapy and How to Make it More Accessible to Employees

As the global pandemic relentlessly persists, the demand for mental health services is increasing at an alarming rate. In 2021, 47.1 million people reported struggling with a mental illness, a 1.5 million increase since 2020. This trend has been fueled by loneliness, isolation, and the unattainability of mental health services.

As more and more people are turning towards therapy to aid in their mental health, the availability of that help is decreasing.

What is therapy and why is it beneficial to your employees

Psychotherapy, commonly known as talk therapy, is the process of meeting with a licensed therapist to try and resolve problematic behaviors, beliefs, feelings, relationship issues, depression, and anxiety. 

Therapy has endless benefits. Not only can talk therapy help resolve a lot of life’s issues, including mild to moderate depression and anxiety, but it can also help diagnose more severe issues and direct people to additional resources they may need. Seeing a therapist regularly can also decrease the need for medications for anxiety and depression. 

The benefits of therapy also translate to the workplace. Not only is that individual healing personally, but it can also improve how they feel and interact on the job.

Seeing a therapist regularly can help with:

  • stress management
  • time management
  • workplace relationships
  • productivity
  • employee happiness
  • conflict management 

Now imagine if all your employees saw a therapist regularly how that would improve your organization’s culture!

How to find a therapist and make an appointment

Finding the right therapist can be a huge obstacle to tackle. It can feel overwhelming! Here are some tips for you or your employees as you embark on this journey.

1. See if your company offers an EAP or mental health program

First off, check with your employer to see if they offer a mental health program or EAP. Many companies provide free virtual therapy for the employees and other mental health resources like exercise classes and meditation sessions. Check your company intranet or reach out to HR to see if that program exists and get started.

2. Seek a referral from someone you trust

You can also talk with family and friends. See if they have a therapist or mental health platform they recommend and have found success in. If people don’t feel comfortable reaching out in this way, they can always check their insurance list of providers to find a therapist near them.

3. Learn more about the therapy options

If you are looking for virtual options, you can google various mental health platforms and read reviews. 

Finding a therapist can be made even easier if you know what kind of therapist would be most beneficial. Read this article to learn about the different therapy methods and which may work best for you. 

4. Make an appointment

After nailing down the kind of therapy preferred, platform, and therapist, the next step is to make the appointment. Sometimes this can be even more difficult than going to the first session. Luckily, arrangements can be made online and there isn’t much of a need to talk to anyone beforehand. Especially if using an online platform for therapy, this roadblock is easy to surpass. 

5. Attend your first session!

Next, all that needs to be done is to show up. This can be anxiety-inducing. Just know that therapists are there for their clients and hold no judgment. And most of the time, therapists have heard it all before. They are there to help you!

A crucial step that isn’t discussed as widely, is that after a session or two, assess your feelings. Do you feel comfortable with this therapist and their methodology? If yes, you are good to go! If something feels off, don’t hesitate to try someone new. Finding the right client-therapist fit can make all the difference in therapy, so don’t give up. 

The Cost of Therapy and How to Make it More Accessible to Employees—man smiling while on video call on laptop with woman

The cost of therapy

According to Psychology Today, the average cost of a therapy appointment can range between $100-$200. That cost is dependent on whether health insurance is involved. The other issue is that fewer and fewer therapists are accepting insurance because the insurance payout is too low to sustain a private practice. 

Not only is there the apparent cost of the actual appointment, but there are additional costs that go into seeing a therapist, such as the cost of transportation and the cost of time. Traditional therapists offer very few post-work hours appointments, so sometimes, seeing a therapist means leaving work in the middle of the day. This is a luxury very few employees have. 

The cost of therapy should not be a deterrent. The benefits from seeing a therapist regularly are too high to let these things get in the way. Company mental health programs can help employees get free therapy confidentially.

Why getting an appointment can be difficult

Not only does the cost of therapy make getting an appointment difficult, but also the lack of availability. As stated earlier, the COVID-19 pandemic and all of its unforeseen side effects have increased the demand for mental health professionals. 

However, it was difficult to see a mental health professional even before the pandemic. As the stigma of mental health decreases, the surge of people seeking care has increased. Now those in need of care are sitting on waitlists and making call after call only to be turned away. 

According to a poll conducted by the American Psychological Association, mental health professionals are currently seeing 30% more clients than they did before the pandemic. There is not enough help to go around. 

Virtual therapy can ease these burdens

There are now more options than just an in-person visit in response to demand. Therapy sessions can now be conducted online or over the phone. Having a therapy session from the comfort of one’s own home makes therapy so much more accessible. This makes all the pain points from booking and going to a traditional therapy appointment almost non-existent. 

The cost of virtual therapy is more affordable, time conscious, and less intimidating than traditional therapy. Using a virtual platform also matches you and gets you an appointment with a therapist much faster than traditional options. Therapy is becoming more mainstream and access to mental healthcare is becoming expected from employers.

Offering employees a wellness program that includes mental health benefits (especially virtual mental health offerings) is not only needed, but it is becoming demanded. Learn more about adding a robust wellness program into your benefits package.

Adding mental health services to your employees can be a seamless process that will lead to many benefits. With all the positives that can be found, it just makes sense. 

Learn About the Power of Self-Care

Download the Mental Health Tool Kit to learn about mental health in the workplace – what it is, why it matters, and how you can start supporting employee mental health!

Haeli Harris

Haeli Harris, LMFT is the Lead Counselor at Nivati. She has been practicing as a Marriage and Family Therapist since 2014. Haeli has experience working as a therapist in private practice settings, residential facilities, outpatient treatment care, schools, and telehealth.

Licenses, Certifications & Memberships
Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist, UT & HI
Registered Yoga Teacher 200
Trauma Conscious Yoga (2021)
Clinical Member of the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy

Education
Bachelor's of Science Degree in Human Development and Family Studies, University of Utah
Master's of Arts Degree in Marriage and Family Therapy, Northcentral University

MENTAL HEALTH FOR THE WHOLE EMPLOYEE