Preparing Yourself (and Your Budget) for Marriage Counseling Costs
While no one would suggest that you can put a cash value on your relationship, if your marriage is currently at risk and you’re in search of a marriage counselor, it’s essential that you understand and prepare for marriage counseling costs. After all, marriage counseling isn’t just a hobby, it’s a profession and professionals have to make money in order to keep their doors open and continue offering solutions to relationships that are on the rocks. If you know that you and your partner are desperately in need of an intervention to rescue your relationship, it’s not enough to know that you need marriage counseling, you also have to be ready and willing to pay the price.
Here are just a few of the questions couples in search of marriage counseling want answered:
- How much will it cost – not only by the hour, but also over the course of the counseling?
- How does the cost of marriage counseling compare to employing a psychiatrist or a psychologist?
- Will your health insurance cover or at least offset the cost of marriage counseling?
Average Marriage Counseling Fees
Marriage counseling fees and rates usually fall somewhere between $75 on the low side of the spectrum and $200 on the high side – and these fees are per hour. Factors such as where you live, how popular the counselors are and past success rates, will affect the price you and your spouse ultimately pay, but for the most part, fees average out around the $100 per hour mark. Of course, successful marriage counseling doesn’t just happen over the course of a single session. In fact, you should likely prepare yourself for weekly meetings over the course of the first three-month period. This equals 12 total sessions at an average of $100 per one-hour session for a grand total of $1,200.00 – give or take. While this may seem a bit steep, if it works, you know it was worth it.
Marriage Counseling Versus Psychiatrists and Psychologists
While you can visit with a psychiatrist or a psychologist when your relationship is on the rocks, the fees of a marriage counselor are statistically lower. As a general rule, marriage and family counseling is 30% cheaper than hiring a psychiatrist and 20% cheaper than taking on the services of a psychologist. Additionally, a study that was conducted by the AAMFT (American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy) found that marriage and family counseling services often require 30% fewer sessions than you would need under individual therapy sessions. Furthermore, when you rely upon private practice marriage counselors, 68% are willing to reduce their hourly rates and fees based upon your income and ability to pay.
Are Marriage Counseling Costs Covered by Health Insurance
Unfortunately, in the majority of cases, marriage counseling costs will have to come completely out of pocket. Generally, the only time that you can have marriage counseling fees covered by your health insurance plan is when you and/or your partner have been diagnosed with one or more mental disorders. While there are HMOs that offer free or low-cost marriage counseling, you should be warned that most of these are extremely overworked and will have long waiting lists and long stretches of time in between sessions.
If saving your relationship is really a priority, you want to be seen rapidly and regularly. While the costs may seem prohibitive, when your relationship is back on solid ground again, you can rest assured that the money invested was money well spent.